Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said on Wednesday that he will continue to battle for the truth, however uncomfortable that might be for members of the government.
Speaking during parliament’s adjournment during which he was interrupted every few minutes, Dr Busuttil said the prime minister was using select parts of the Egrant inquiry report for his own ends.
Just 50 pages of the 1,500-page report had been published. But even those 50 pages presented a picture which was not the same as portrayed by the prime minister in his press conference in July when the inquiry was concluded.
“The report’s conclusions do not say that Egrant does not belong to the prime minister... what one finds is that ‘it does not result’ that Egrant is his, which is very different,” Dr Busuttil said.
The magistrate could not find who Egrant belonged to. Had he been able to do so, then it would obviously not have belonged to the prime minister. But the prime minister had asked the magistrate to hold his inquiry about Egrant only after he was sure that the evidence had been spirited away.
Dr Busuttil said he had believed and continued to believe that Egrant belonged to the prime minister or his wife, a view shared with thousands of other people, and he had nothing to apologise for.
His belief was based on the two credible reports by Daphne Caruana Galizia, since then confirmed, regarding the companies set up at the same time for Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.
He also based his belief on the fact that the prime minister had not acted against the minister and the chief of staff when it was found that they had committed to deposit 150,000euro per month in their secret companies.
Such was the surreal state that this country had been reduced to, that instead of sacking those found to have secret companies, the prime minister was demanding his own resignation, Dr Busuttil said.
But he would stand firm because he was proud to be fighting corruption, and truth would ultimately prevail.
Earlier in his address Dr Busuttil referred to Tuesday's uproar in the chamber. The prime minister, he said, had "lost it" and had accused him of being a fraudster and a forger. He even told him that he would not even be able to set foot on the island. This was a clear threat that was unbecoming of a prime minister in a democracy.
He insisted he was not a fraudster and could not even imagine that the magistrate could have said that in the Egrant report, or that he should be investigated as such. He had also not falsified anybody’s signature.
Dr Muscat was playing the victim, yet it was key people in Mossack Fonseca, which had registered the secret companies in Panama, who had landed in jail on charges of money laundering and corruption, including Ramon Fonseca and Jurgen Mossack, as well as Jacqueline Alexander, picked up from the street to become the signatory for some 8,000 companies set up in her name.
And yet Dr Muscat was accusing him of being a fraudster.
Dr Muscat had also said on Tuesday that he would blame him (ser nitfaħħa fuqek) Dr Busuttil said. This, for him was a clear admission that a frame-up was coming.
In this country, the people who fought corruption were becoming the accused while others who closed an eye to corruption played the victim, Dr Busuttil said.
"The prime minister’s crocodile tears never impressed me and will not impress me now," Dr Busuttil said.
The prime minister’s crocodile tears never impressed me and will not impress me now.- Busuttil
During his address, Dr Busuttil was repeatedly interrupted on points of order raised by Economic Affairs Minister Chris Cardona and Labour whip Byron Camilleri, arguing that the former Opposition leader was making reference to matters which had been subjected to a ruling earlier and could not be repeated.
Acting Speaker Claudette Buttigieg warned both Dr Cardona and Dr Busuttil to use prudent language. Dr Busuttil at one point retorted that Dr Cardona should act decently because parliament was not a brothel or a bachelor's party.
Amid various angry exchanges, the Acting Speaker also ordered Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield out of the chamber after saying she had heard him using a swear word.
Mr Bedingfield apologised but said he had lost his temper because of Dr Busuttil’s comments. He was then ordered to leave the Chamber as he continued to shout that Dr Busuttil was lying.
The Acting Speaker also stopped Dr Busuttil speaking when he was concluding, saying he had run out of time.
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