Finance Minister Edward Scicluna has been accused of flouting the law by an Opposition MP who alleged that former deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta was handpicked as government’s representative on the FIAU, without submitting two other names.
The FIAU is the State agency which fights money laundering.
Karol Aquilina made this claim in parliament during the debate on the Budget Measures Implementation Bill on Monday.
Mr Valletta, the husband of former Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana, recently made headlines after Times of Malta revealed he had a close relationship with businessman Yorgen Fenech. The latter is accused of being one of the masterminds behind the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination.
Among other things, Mr Valletta had travelled to London to watch a football match featuring Chelsea in an expensive executive box at Stamford Bridge. This revelation led to the resignation of Dr Caruana from Cabinet, days after she had been sworn in as part of the Robert Abela government.
On Monday, the MP pointed out that despite several requests, the finance minister had never submitted the pool of three names from which the government representative on the FIAU board had been chosen. Such procedure was established by a provision within the law, he said.
In his address, the Opposition MP claimed that in 2017 the finance minister had only submitted one name - that of Mr Valletta.
“If this is not true I challenge you to publish the two other names,” he said.
“This was either your own decision or else you were following orders,” Dr Aquilina added.
The Opposition MP said that Mr Valletta’s appointment was a blatant conflict of interest in view of the fact his wife was a minister, and more so because the FIAU was investigating the then Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri.
While accusing the finance minister of being “an accomplice” to cover up corruption and other serious crimes, he called on Prof. Scicluna to come forward and say the truth.
“If the minister will not reply here in parliament, there will be a time when he will have to divulge such information before a court,” Dr Aquilina said.
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