Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has asked for more time to refer to documents and give a breakdown of his trips abroad since 2013.
Replying to a request made by Times of Malta at the beginning of April under the Freedom of Information Act, a spokesman said more time was needed. “Your request has been extended by 20 days, to June 5, due to the fact that the request is for a large number of documents or necessitates a search through a large number of documents,” the spokesman said, invoking provisions of the law.
Information related to his journeys abroad has also been sought through parliamentary questions, dating back to 2014. Whenever he was asked for a breakdown of his missions abroad, Dr Mizzi usually gives a stock reply: “the information is still being compiled”.
Other Cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, regularly publish information on their visits overseas.
Times of Malta last month sent requests seeking similar information from the ministries for which Dr Mizzi was politically responsibility since he was first appointed in 2013.
The request was also channelled through the Office of the Prime Minster but Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar said the information had to come from Dr Mizzi’s ministry.
“Documents pertaining to the relative sector have been transferred from the Office of the Prime Minister to the pertinent ministry following the formation of Cabinet and the new portfolios in 2017,” the head of the civil service said.
The Health Ministry, now headed by Chris Fearne, however did say that during the short stint there, Dr Mizzi had travelled once to Algiers.
Dr Mizzi had been appointed minister for energy and water conservation in 2013 and was also assigned the health portfolio a year later, following the resignation of Godfrey Farrugia.
However, he was stripped of both portfolios in the wake of the Panama Papers, which indicated he had a trust in New Zealand and a company in Panama. It had also emerged that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, had made similar arrangements.
Responding to public dissent over the issue, including internally, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat accepted Konrad Mizzi’s resignation from his newly-elected role as deputy leader of the Labour Party, but still kept him in his cabinet, although without a portfolio.
Dr Mizzi was appointed minister within the office of the Prime Minister and then named Tourism Minister in 2017.
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