Owen Bonnici confirms specific inquiry into 17 Black

In Parliament on Monday, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici replied to a question posited by Adrian Delia by saying that, yes, a specific inquiry into 17 Black is launched and is being led by Magistrate Charmaine Galea

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici confirmed that a specific inquiry into 17 Black was being led by Magistrate Charmaine Galea. This is a separate inquiry from that requested by members of the opposition.

He was responding to Opposition Leader Adrian Delia's question in Parliament on Monday evening.

The Times of Malta leaked information on Sunday that 17 Black allegations are subject to a criminal investigation and Adrian Delia led the Sunday political activity in Sliema with the story. This came after recent investigations by The Times of Malta and Reuters named Yorgen Fenech, CEO of Tumas Group, as the sole owner of secret Dubai company 17 Black. The company, the investigations reveal, was to funnel money to Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi's and OPM's Chief Staff Keith Schembri's Panama companies.

Fenech was also an Electrogas investor, a project designed by Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi.

Owen Bonnici said that the specific inquiry was launched before these revelations, a few weeks ago. "Since Malta has a functioning rule of law and an effective separation of powers, I was not informed that an inquiry has been launched," he said, citing this as the reason why it was not made public.

He was able to answer Delia's question because he confirmed as much with the Attorney General, he said, after the revelations. 

The inquiry is being conducted by Magistrate Charmaine Galea and requested by the police.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, when probed, said that it was not his place to speculate and comment on matters that were under investigation.

At an event in Luqa, after Parliament proceedings, Delia said that the government would have kept mum on the issue had the question not been asked in parliament.

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