Adrian Delia: AG’s refusal to hand over full Egrant inquiry creates issue of constitutional significance

Opposition leader Adrian Delia said the Attorney General was breaking his constitutional duty to the Maltese by not providing full copy of Egrant inquiry

Opposition leader Adrian Delia said the Attorney General was breaking his constitutional duty to the Maltese by not handing over a full copy of the Egrant inquiry
Opposition leader Adrian Delia said the Attorney General was breaking his constitutional duty to the Maltese by not handing over a full copy of the Egrant inquiry

The Attorney General’s refusal to hand over a copy of the full Egrant inquiry to the Opposition leader has created an issue of constitutional significance, which made it necessary to file a constitutional application in court over it, Adrian Delia has said.

Interviewed on NET FM Sunday, the Opposition leader said that, despite Magistrate Aaron Bugeja’s findings uncovering no decisive evidence regarding Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s ownership of the Egrant company, the affair remained a matter of great significance for the Nationalist Party due to the AG’s actions.

Following the inquiry’s conclusion, AG Peter Grech passed a copy of the report to Muscat, with the Prime Minister publicly publishing the conclusions of the enquiry. The Nationalist Party, however, have insisted that the full report should be passed on to them, a request which was denied by the AG. This lead Delia to file a constitutional complaint on Thursday.

Delia emphasised that the Opposition require equal access to the report.

“The AG, in his decision to deny PN any access to the inquiry report, is breaking his own constitutional duty to the people of Malta,” Delia said, underlining that although it is the AG’s prerogative to make decisions on the report’s publication under the relevant law, all such laws are subject to the authority of the Constitution, which the highest document in the land and which prevails above all others.

Delia said that there cannot allowably be a situation where political imbalance is this vast, and labelled the current state of affairs “a threat to democracy.”

Delia also spoke about the issue of the number of tenders that he states have been governed by motivations other than the people’s best interest. Mentioning the extension of the elderly home of St Vincent de Paul, the sale of the hospitals to Vitals, and the Paola health centre, he said that public procurement projects are important because they involve the usage of taxpayers’ hard earned money.

The key factor in such undertakings is the government’s choice of persons for the tenders. In an endeavour such as the sale of the hospitals, where deal struck was worth 2 billion Euro, the Government has no other option but to be transparent for the sake of its integrity and the right of the people to know how their money is being used, he highlighted..

“The government is acting… against national and EU law… [and] is systematically abusing the tendering system in order to control who takes what, how much, and when.” Delia claimed.

He said that the people were suffering due to their taxes being sapped by this “mess”, that businesses are suffering due to incorrect business decisions by the government, and that Malta’s reputation is suffering on an international level, in particular in the world of business.

Delia also discussed a number of other issues, including the free transport system for students that he said there has been little word on notwithstanding the fact that it is August and that the new school term is fast approaching. He also delved into the issue of transport, and how what he considers “temporary solutions” by the PL will not provide any meaningful improvement in the long run.

In view of mounting electricity, fuel, and housing prices Delia believes that “the government is creating poverty” and “has completely failed in this aspect.”

When asked who should bare political responsibility for these debacles, Delia replied that where it is obvious that a person within the government should be responsible, they should own up and face the consequences.

Muscat should apply the same yardstick by which he has used to claim his own innocence – the fact that he has not been found to own any Panama companies, he said.

This same standard, Delia said, should apply therefore to others within government. Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, by their own admission own company structures within Panama. Political responsibility, therefore, Delia added, should be reinforced.

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