Joseph Muscat has hit out at PN MP Jason Azzopardi for claiming that he was involved in the Montenegro wind farm scandal.
“Speaking for myself, it hasn’t resulted from anywhere that I was involved [in the Montenegro affair],” Muscat said in Parliament this evening. “I’m the only person in this House who passed through a multimillionaire affair, an inquiry that cost the public over a million euro, which searched the world for personal things and which found absolutely nothing.”
Muscat’s statement, a reference to the Egrant magisterial inquiry, was met with applause from the government benches.
Last week, Azzopardi alleged that journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed because of what she was going to reveal about issues related to Montenegro.
Times of Malta and Reuters recently reported that murder suspect Yorgen Fenech secretly pocketed €4.6 million from Enemalta’s acquisition of a wind farm in Možura, Montenegro. Fenech reportedly received this money through his infamous Dubai company 17 Black, which was listed as a target client of former minister Konrad Mizzi and former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri’s Panama companies.
Azzopardi, who is also the Caruana Galizia family’s lawyer, hinted that more information related to Montenegro will be revealed eventually.
He also stunningly claimed that Muscat called a snap election in 2017 because he was informed of the plot to assassinate the journalist or, at the very least, knew that she was going to expose the Montenegro scandal.
Following a request by Muscat, Speaker Anġlu Farrugia ruled that Azzopardi’s assertion was in breach of his parliamentary privilege.
Azzopardi has now filed a motion to appeal this ruling, warning that it has serious implications on MPs’ rights to political expression.
In his motion, he said that Caruana Galizia was killed “because she was going to expose a colossal multi-million scandal of corruption in capital projects, including in Montenegro, related to energy in which it has resulted that Muscat, Mizzi and Schembri were involved.”
“It is the duty of every MP, particularly those on the Opposition benches, to scrutinise the government and its members, and this duty means nothing if the fundamental right to political expression isn’t safeguarded,” he said.
Azzopardi said his assertion was based on two facts that recently emerged in court – namely that Fenech had told police he had been informed of the government’s plan to call a snap election in December 2016 and that the SIM cards used in the burner phones used to kill Caruana Galizia were purchased in that same month.
“I referred to two serious facts of grave importance that will lead anyone with an ordinary level of intelligence to the two scenarios mentioned [that Muscat had called a snap election because he knew Caruana Galizia was going to expose the Montenegro scandal or because he knew of the plot to kill her].”
In a brief speech today, Muscat said he had requested a Speaker’s ruling for no other reason than Azzopardi’s assertion that he had called a snap election because he was informed of the plot to kill Caruana Galizia.
“Conveniently, this part isn’t mentioned in Jason Azzopardi’s motion and, to quote him, anyone with an ordinary level of intelligence, can realise that he is now playing with words.”