Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil on Tuesday challenged the prime minister to say when he last met Yorgen Fenech, one of the main shareholders of the Delimara power station and the owner of secret company 17 Black.

Speaking in parliament, Dr Busuttil queried why the prime minister looked so confused when, on Monday, he was asked when he last met Mr Fenech, and then said it was one or two years ago.

Dr Muscat had also looked confused when he was asked who was the owner of the secret company Macbridge, which, along with 17 Black, was mentioned in e-mails as being the vessels for the payment of €5,000 a day to Keith Schembri, the prime minister's chief of staff, and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi.

Why was the prime minister so confused, appearing to not even know we are in November, Dr Busuttil asked?

"Will he refresh his memory and tell us when he last met Mr Fenech? Perhaps he can also tell us where they were," Dr Busuttil said in an adjournment speech.

In his remarks Dr Busuttil recounted what went on in court on Monday when Mr Schembri came up with five manoeuvres to avoid giving evidence in a libel case he had instituted, eventually ending up dropping the case.

Mr Schembri had felt aggrieved, Dr Busuttil recalled, by remarks about involvement in corruption he (Dr Busuttil) had made in a public protest after the Panama Papers revelations.

The fact that Mr Schembri refused to testify and then dropped the case proved his remarks were true, Dr Busuttil said. 

“Had such thing happened in any other country, the prime minister would have resigned, the government collapsed, and Mr Schembri would have been arrested. But why not in Malta?” Dr Busuttil asked.

The manner in which the prime minister handled the corruption allegations against Mr Schembri and Dr Mizzi spoke volumes.

“They are being bribed and nothing is happening. There is only one consequence. They should be sacked including the prime minister himself for his refusal to get rid of them, as this is even raising questions that Dr Muscat could be an accomplice,”  he said.

Looking back at the libel case, Dr Busuttil said this had just been a stunt by Mr Schembri. It took 18 months after he filed the case for him to testify, on October 16, 2017 the same day Daphne Caruana Galizia, the journalist who had revealed his secret Panama company, was murdered. But since then, he had been avoiding cross-examination at all costs.

He recounted that her last blog, the one which she uploaded after that court sitting, had ended with her famous quote “there are crooks everywhere, the situation is desperate”.

While thanking the media for its role in the fight against corruption, Dr Busuttil said honest people were expecting the judiciary to take action in the wake of three pending inquiries on corruption claims. 

He backed plans by the NGO Repubblika for a public protest on Saturday, saying he would attend. Honest people were turning on MPs from both sides of the House, urging them to act, and the Opposition should be protesting and demanding resignations, Dr Busuttil said.

“Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered but truth has prevailed.

“We will keep fighting for the truth. Justice will prevail," Dr Busuttil concluded.  

 

 

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