Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Wednesday that it was in the national interest for the conclusions of the magisterial inquiry into alleged money laundering by former chief of staff Keith Schembri to become known.

Interviewed on L-Erbagha fost il-Ġimgħa on TVM, Muscat also gave his views on abortion, saying that while he is not in favour, he believes that ultimately it should be the mother, alone - not even mother and father - who should take a decision.

The magisterial inquiry on money laundering was concluded last month and the Attorney General turned down calls for the conclusions to be published. Schembri was subsequently arrested for almost 24 hours and released on police bail.  

In his remarks, two days after he ended his parliamentary career, Muscat said he could have done better and opened his eyes wider on some matters, admitting, without going into specifics, that he was getting to know about certain things now. 

He said he could not but resign last January, given the seriousness of the allegations connected to the Daphne Caruana Galizia case and how they involved his chief of staff, his own person of trust. He had to assume political responsibility.

But he stressed that Keith Schembri’s name was never mentioned to him by the police.

He said he would not be the one to judge whether Schembri had betrayed him and he was confident that justice would be done and the courts would decide whether the person who had been accused (in the Caruana Galizia case) or others, were guilty. 

'I never received money'

Questioned about corruption, Muscat said he was the prime minister whose government moved legislation so that crimes of corruption would not be time-barred.  

He said he based himself on the facts, and he never saw corruption.

He insisted he based his decision on the findings on inquiries. That was why he wanted to know the findings of the Schembri inquiry. Had the magistrate found corruption, or not?  It was in the national interest to know. Personally, he said, he never received money from anyone. 

The former prime minister also pointed out that while he was often accused of abuse and political interference, following the conclusion of the Egrant inquiry which found that allegations against him and his family were false, the police had not proceeded against a particular person indicated by the then magistrate himself. And he, as prime minister, had not interfered to press for action.   

Muscat reiterated he had "absolutely nothing to do" with the Caruana Galizia murder or claims that he protected anyone.

He admitted to having had chats with Yorgen Fenech, but said they were on light matters, such as food or football. He wasn’t worried about what could be revealed, he said.  

Abortion: decisions should be taken by the mother, alone

Questioned about abortion, Muscat said this was an issue he gave a lot of thought to and there should be a discussion. He could not say he was in favour of abortion, but he believed it should be the mother's right to choose.

“This is not a black and white issue for me. This is an evolution of thought which could change and is not cast in stone,” he said.  If one of his daughters, after turning 18, told him she was pregnant and did not want to keep the baby, he would want to respect her wishes. But to do so now would mean breaking the law.

Told that the rights of the baby were also involved, Muscat said this was why this was a conflicting issue. For him it should be the mother alone who should decide, not even involving the father.  

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