Adrian Delia: FIAU knows who owns 17 Black but doesn't reveal it, as Malta’s reputation is destroyed

Opposition leader Adrian Delia rebuked the FIAU for knowing who Maltese owners of 17 Black are, but trying to use political arguments to minimise importance of the matter

The FIAU knows who owns the Dubai-based company 17 Black, but chooses to, instead of provide information, make political argument to minimise the importance of the matter, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said
The FIAU knows who owns the Dubai-based company 17 Black, but chooses to, instead of provide information, make political argument to minimise the importance of the matter, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said

Adrian Delia has rebuked the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit for knowing who the owners of 17 Black are, but instead of providing information on this, trying to make the matter seem less important.

Addressing an activity at the Sannat PN club in Gozo themed a “Society Which Cares”, Delia said that it had emerged this week that MEP Ana Gomes had information that the FIAU has, since February, known who the Maltese owners of the Dubai-based company 17 Black are.

Delia said the Prime Minister had spent more than €1 million on the Egrant inquiry, and that he is at the same time aware that there exist two other Panama companies - Tilgate and Hearneville - belonging to the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi.

“But we also know that there is another company, 17 Black, from which [according to leaked e-mails obtained by German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung as part of the Daphne Project revelations], Schembri and Mizzi should receive $150,000 a month,” he said.

When the Maltese press asked the FIAU about the information Gomes had revealed, instead of returning with facts, the financial services watchdog had instead come back with various political arguments in an attempt to minimise the matter, Delia said.

“Let us not forget that 17 Black was a company which had to pay substantial amounts of money to two of the highest government officials. The FIAU knows who the company belongs to, but the government is choosing to not take any steps, and the reputation of Malta keeps being damaged,” he emphasised.

"The government has completely destroyed the reputation Malta had created over the years."

Moreover, when it came to the issue of the full Egrant inquiry report, the government was breaking the Constitution by not publishing it, he said.

“The Maltese people have the right to know all the facts contained in the full report. The Prime Minister said he had no objection to this, but the Attorney General maintains it is his prerogative whether to publish the report or not,” he said, “Does the Attorney General not know that there is a law higher than criminal law in the country - the Constitution - which makes it obligatory that the leader of the Opposition has the right to know the information which the Prime Minister has in his possession?”

“The government is not just breaking the law, but is breaking the country’s Constitution,” he said, noting that he would be continuing his fight for the publication of the full report in court on Monday.

Government betrayed Gozitans when it sold hospital

Turning to the state of health care in Gozo, he said the government had betrayed the Maltese, "but much more the Gozitans", when it sold Gozo Hospital.

“The government sold the hospital in Gozo to someone who had never had even a single day of experience in the health sector,” he said, referring to the controversial sale to Vitals Global Healthcare.

“The Vitals contract is much worse than just corruption. Nothing was created through the contract. Instead, the only hospital in Gozo was sold to someone who we do not even know. This is a scandal and a huge obscenity. This is why I went to court to get this contract cancelled, and to give the hospital back to the Gozitans,” he highlighted.

Regarding the news announced by Gozo Bishop Mario Grech that the Church has set up two youth hostels in Malta to host Gozitan students, Delia said that while such initiatives were to be praised, it was the government which was obliged to ensure that all citizens are treated equally.

“In the moment that a Maltese student is treated differently from a Gozitan one, the government is going against the rights of Gozitan students,” he said, "The government is transmitting a clear message to Gozitan students that they consider them second-class citizens. The Nationalist Party will guarantee that there is no difference between the treatment of people who live in Malta or in Gozo.”

“Best of Times”, but people are homeless

Delia then focused on what he called a “major housing problem” in Malta and Gozo. In the so-called “Best of Times”, we are seeing people living outside in the streets in public spaces, he said.

“The Opposition really wants a better society for all, and believes that this government has lost its social conscience. Malta now belongs to the few, and 70,000 people remain living in poverty,” he underscored.

And now the government was going to continue making fun of people by sending them a cheque for tax refunds, he claimed, insisting that “it is businesses which are creating wealth in Malta, while the government is creating great poverty”.

Before closing his address, he touched on the upcoming Independence activities. “Malta had obtained its independence from the British government,” he said, “But now we are at a point when we have to go through the same process. We need to take Malta back into our hands. I don’t mean into the hands of the Nationalist Party, but in the hands of the people.”

“Malta is now even losing its own identity. We need to once again become a society which cares, which doesn’t hate, and which takes care of those who need it,” he added, “The PN is in Opposition, and it won’t waste the next four years. We will persist in our fight against corruption, but we will start creating, factually, real alternatives in all sectors for this country.”

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