The Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri could face parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to answer questions on 17 Black after the Democratic Party submitted a petition demanding he faces scrutiny over the infamous company.
“We would have preferred had the Prime Minister taken action, as guardian of our democratic principles, but instead the Prime Minister is choosing Schembri over the people,” PD said in a statement.
Schembri finds himself under significant pressure once again, after he withdrew a libel suit he instigated himself rather than be cross-examined on 17 Black.
The company, owned by Yorgen Fenech, was set up transfer millions to and from Schembri and Konrad Mizzi’s offshore Panamanian companies.
Schembri confirmed last year that 17 Black, as well as the second Dubai company Macbridge, had been included in draft business plans for his business group as potential clients. The identity of the owner of Macbridge remains a mystery.
The full petition reads as follows:
“17 Black raises a fundamental question for our democracy that needs to be answered urgently: Did so-called business connections and alleged business dealings influence the decision making process at the highest level of our government?”
“When answering this question, our politicians must determine whether there are two categories of people in our Republic: People with access to power who can strike so-called business deals as they please and influence decisions in their favour and powerless people who simply foot the bill.”
“Mr Schembri is under investigation in respect of 17 Black. The legal process must take its course. So must the democratic process. One does not substitute the other. This is why we must reflect now, through our Parliament, on the impact that so-called business of the kind of 17 Black is having on our democracy and ultimately our Republic.”
The petition is subject to approval by the Speaker of the House, following which it will be considered by the Standing Committee on Petitions which is chaired by Hon Evarist Bartolo.