Busuttil vows to keep ‘knocking on justice’s door’, Labour says he is threat to rule of law

Labour insists Simon Busuttil’s attempt to revive a request for an investigation into 17 Black claims shows he has no respect for the rule of law • Busuttil: Nowhere to turn for justice to be served

Labour MPs Edward Zammit Lewis (right) and Robert Abela (left) said they would be ashamed if they were Simon Busuttil. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Labour MPs Edward Zammit Lewis (right) and Robert Abela (left) said they would be ashamed if they were Simon Busuttil. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Former PN leader Simon Busuttil has vowed to keep knocking on the doors of justice until they open, following a decision by the courts to reject his appeal for an investigation into revelations about 17 Black by the Daphne Project.

In a lengthy Facebook post uploaded shortly after Magistrate Francesco Depasquale’s decree was published, Busuttil said that for the second time in a matter of weeks, the Maltese courts had denied a request for a magisterial inquiry to be opened to probe the involvement of Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri’s involvement in “a corruption scandal exposed by the Panama Papers”.

He stressed that all around the world, the Panama Papers had resulted in investigations, arrests, criminal procedures, resignations and even prison sentences, adding that Malta was the only country in which “justice was not served”.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party said during a press conference that the decree dealt a third legal blow to the former PN leader.

Addressing the press conference PL MP Robert Abela said that Busuttil’s attempt to revive a call for an investigation into claims made by the Daphne Project regarding 17 Black and possible money laundering by Schembri and Mizzi showed “an enormous degree of disrespect for the rule of law and for our law courts”.

Busuttil and his supporters on a crusade against Malta’s institutions – Labour

“Busuttil and his ‘bella compania’ who are supporting him – such as Jason Azzopardi and David Casa – are on a crusade against Malta’s institutions,” Abela said, “My appeal is for them to stop this.”

“If I were Busuttil, I would be ashamed,” he added.

Giving his take on the consequences of today’s judgement, Labour MP Edward Zammit Lewis said Busuttil was putting the Nationalist Party and Adrian Delia into “a political limbo”.

“The people should take note of today’s judgment, which is the third legal knockout sustained by Busuttil in the last six months, following the Egrant inquiry’s conclusions, and the decision by Judge Giovanni Grixti on 8 January that there was no basis for an investigation into the Panama Papers,” the former tourism minister said.

“If Delia decides to again remain silent after today’s decision, this will be another confirmation that he has no moral authority to lead Nationalist Party and no moral authority over his MPs.”

No institution left to investigate - Busuttil

In his post, Busuttil said that while he accepted the court’s decision, he was disappointed at what he claimed was a situation in where the country had no institutions that were prepared to investigate corruption involving people in power.

He said the courts’ decision came despite the fact that it had a number of “clear documented facts” before it, including the fact that the two men had opened Panama companies and “documented evidence that these companies planned to earn €5,000 everyday from the companies 17 Black and Macbridge”.

Moreover, Busuttil said the court was also presented with the fact that the FIAU had “prepared a report in which it found a reasonable suspicion that Konrad Mizzi is involved in money laundering” and the “undisputed fact that Jorgen Fenech owns 17 Black”.

“These documented facts are more than enough for, at the least, an investigation to be opened,” Busuttil said.

“The fact that the court chose not to open an investigation means that in Malta there is no remedy for justice to be served and for the EU’s money laundering laws to be effectively applied.”

Busuttil underlined that this showed the Venice Commission was right when it expressed concerns about the rule of law in Malta.

“The latest developments leave us with a choice,” Bususttil continued. “We can either give up on justice in Malta or we can never give up and keep knocking on the doors of justice until it opens.”

The PN MP added that he would continue insisting for justice, both in Malta and the EU.