Joseph Muscat defends Keith Schembri as Adrian Delia accuses PM of unequal treatment

Adrian Delia says Prime Minister must remove Keith Schembri after his refusal to answer questions on 17 Black

Adrian Delia expected Joseph Muscat to make a ministerial statement on Keith Schembri's decision to withdraw libel proceedings after refusing to testify on 17 Black
Adrian Delia expected Joseph Muscat to make a ministerial statement on Keith Schembri's decision to withdraw libel proceedings after refusing to testify on 17 Black

Joseph Muscat has defended his chief of staff’s actions in court this morning, reiterating that Keith Schembri had legal advice not to answer questions on 17 Black.

The Prime Minister said the questions Schembri was going to be asked in a libel case he himself filed against Simon Busuttil were the subject of an ongoing magisterial inquiry.

On Monday, Schembri withdrew a libel case he had filed against Busuttil after the court ordered him to answer questions on Dubai company 17 Black.

READ ALSO: Keith Schembri withdraws 17 Black defamation suit to avoid being questioned

Schembri refused to answer, insisting he had legal advice not to speak about the matter, which was already the subject of a magisterial inquiry.

Subsequently, the PM’s chief of staff withdrew the libel case and insisted he is giving all his answers to the inquiring magistrate.

Muscat refused Opposition leader Adrian Delia’s call for a ministerial statement on the developments but in a short explanation reiterated Schembri’s reasons for not answering.

The Prime Minister tried to overturn the tables on Delia, accusing him of failing to ask for a magisterial inquiry when faced with allegations of money laundering involving funds from a prostitution racket.

Muscat also remarked that the magistrate handling this morning’s case had been criticised as being a Labour Party lackey by the Opposition but was rightfully afforded full trust by Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi, acting as defence counsel for Busuttil.

Delia then used his time during the Second Reading of the equality Bill, to call for Schembri’s resignation.

The Opposition leader said Schembri had to shoulder political responsibility for his decision not to answer and resign, or be removed from his post in government.

He criticised the Prime Minister for sticking by Schembri, accusing Muscat of unequal treatment. “It is as if there is a law for gods and a law for animals,” Delia hit back, insisting that the Prime Minister continued to “defend silence over truth”.

Delia rebutted the PM's argument on the magistrate, insisting the government was appointing its people to later claim conflicts and choose who to be judged by.

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