Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia has harshly criticised the Nationalist Party for its response to the recent prosecution of former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, arguing that political responsibility was shouldered when Joseph Muscat resigned as Prime Minister.
“It seems that the Opposition has forgotten that Joseph Muscat resigned, despite two historic election victories, because he felt he had to shoulder responsibility for the decisions the government had taken with regards to these cases,” Farrugia said in Parliament yesterday.
“He shouldered all the responsibility himself despite two huge victories so that Robert Abela and the rest of us could start a new page. I’m amazed at how the Opposition is talking about impunity.”
“Isn’t the resignation of Joseph Muscat a clear sign of political responsibility being shouldered? Aren’t the recent prosecutions a sign of trust in the institutions?”
Schembri, along with 10 other people and several companies, were charged last weekend in connection to two magisterial inquires into suspicious payments involving Keith Schembri.
These payments were first flagged in 2016 by now-assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, but Muscat refused to take action against his chief of staff.
However, Farrugia argued that the arraignments shouldn’t reflect badly on the Labour Party on a whole, arguing that corruption “is linked to individuals, not political parties”.
To back up his argument, he noted how a number of German MPs from Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party recently resigned over corruption allegations but that the German Chancellor herself remained in charge.
“No one told Merkel that there’s impunity and that the country should grind to a halt,” he said. “The Opposition isn’t after justice; it just wants to come to Parliament and say there’s impunity. Everyone knows what happens the moment this narrative is broken.”
“The people learn and observe; the PN’s only narrative is to make people believe that we don’t want to speak about these things. They want power for themselves and their offshoots,” he said in a reference to unnamed NGOs.