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Police Have A Duty To Open Criminal Investigation Into Joseph Muscat, Bernard Grech Says

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Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa has a duty to open up an investigation into former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat following revealing that he was paid €60,000 in consultancy fees from a company linked to Steward Health Care, which runs three state hospitals.

This comes soon after Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa said that he would not say whether Muscat was under investigation. 

In a radio interview with Net, Grech insisted that Gafa has the duty to also inform the public, given the serious reputational damage Malta has suffered following Muscat’s tenure as Prime Minister. 

Sunday Times of Malta recently revealed that Muscat was paid €60,000 from Accutor AG and Spring X Media, two Swiss companies owned by Pakistani lawyer Wasay Bhatti, in the early months of 2020, shortly after his resignation as Prime Minister.

Accutor AG had received €3.6 million from Steward Healthcare during the company’s takeover of the hospital contract from Vitals Global Healthcare.

Muscat said he had first met Bhatti as an investor with an office in Malta and that the lawyer had approached him for consultancy work shortly after his resignation as Prime Minister.

He has denied wrongdoing, stating that his consultancy work was documented, duly invoiced, declared, and paid in Malta. Bhatti has also denied wrongdoing.

Repubblika has reported Muscat to Gafa via notitia criminis filed by lawyer and PN MP Jason Azzopardi, which warns the Sunday Times report is evidence of “prima facie criminal behaviour”.

In the interview, Grech also made reference to the PN’s recent position on the proposed cannabis reform.

In a bizarre statement yesterday, the PN’s parliamentary group claimed the bill will “normalise drug abuse and give rise to an increase in drug abuse”, essentially endorsing the status quo whereby cannabis users must resort to the black market and risk getting arrested and interrogated by the police.

Although this is the PN’s first official stance on the bill, Grech had repeatedly come out in favour of some kind of reform.

Today, Grech said that PN only took its official position now because the law is “different” from what was first proposed. He said the current law makes it seem that taking drugs is normal.

He said the party is in favour of decriminalisation.

The cannabis reform bill proposes that people will be able to carry up to seven grams of cannabis on their person and grow up to four plants at home.

It also proposes the formation of “cannabis associations”, NGOs which will be licensed to grow cannabis on behalf of its signed-up members.

A new Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis will be set up and people convicted of cannabis-related crimes that are no longer criminal will be able to get these details expunged from their criminal record.

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Julian is the Editor at Lovin Malta with a particular interest in politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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