Opposition MP Hermann Schiavone has come out against former leader Simon Busuttil’s declaration last night that he still believes the Panama company Egrant belongs to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
“The Nationalist Party has clearly said it accepts the conclusions of the magisterial inquiry which found no proof that it belongs to him,” Schiavone told Lovin Malta. “The Maltese electorate showed in last year’s election that they didn’t believe the story, more so now that the inquiry’s conclusions have been published. The PN has nothing to gain from the Egrant story, and for the good of the party we need to move on and start focusing on bread and butter issues, such as the problems of housing, poverty and homelessness.”
In a fiery parliamentary adjournment last night, Busuttil said he finds it “impossible” that Muscat did not find out who owns Egrant from Nexia BT boss Brian Tonna, who had ordered the company from now-defunct Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca along with two other companies intended for Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.
“It’s obvious that the Prime Minister knows who Egrant belongs to because he could have easily asked Tonna. One must be stupid not to believe that the Prime Minister knows who owns Egrant.”
Opposition MP Hermann Schiavone with PN leader Adrian Delia
Schiavone refused to weigh into this argument, stating that the PN already made its position clear last July when Opposition leader Adrian Delia stripped Busuttil off his good governance portfolio and called on him to suspend himself from the parliamentary group, a request Busuttil refused to adhere to.
“Simon is my colleague, not an enemy, and I have no intention to wage war with him,” Schiavone said. “All MPs have their own individual positions, but once the party takes a position, everyone should toe the line for the good of the party. I too have positions that aren’t in sync with the party line and that have been dismissed by Adrian Delia, but I don’t use parliamentary adjournments to voice these opinions.”
Meanwhile, the Labour Party issued a statement this morning to dismiss Busuttil’s declaration as “surreal” and as “a sign of his political desperation and lack of respect in the rule of law”.
“Never has there been a MP who ignored the basic concept of the rule of law so blatantly,” the PL said. “Busuttil himself had declared full faith in magistrate [Aaron Bugeja] but he is not trying to undermine his inquiry with provocative behaviour simply because he doesn’t like its conclusions.”