Minister Konrad Mizzi stood defiant yet visibly nervous when telling the press he would not resign following the news that Yorgen Fenech had been confirmed as the main suspect behind the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“Today shows that our institutions work,” Mizzi told Lovin Malta when he was explicitly asked whether he believed it was time to step down.
Mizzi, in his role as Energy Minister, helped negotiate the deal with the new operators of Malta’s power station, Electrogas, of which Fenech is a shareholder and director.
“Brokered a deal? What are you talking about?” Mizzi said when asked whether he now regrets getting the country into business with Fenech.
Rather than answer the question, Mizzi insisted that the Electrogas deal had gone through the proper processes and scrutiny. However, with Fenech’s 17 Black allegedly set up to transfer millions to both Mizzi and Keith Schembri’s offshore Panamanian accounts, questions surrounding the project have been rife.
“I don’t have any association with 17 Black, I released a consistent statement, my replies were consistent, and I have said this under oath,” Mizzi said.
Mizzi, yet again, simply brushed off leaked documents which showed that his offshore company Hearneville had listed 17 Black as a target client.
“My accounts shared the explanation in the magisterial inquiry,” he continued.
Asked by Lovin Malta whether he thought Schembri should step down, he was non-committal. Pressed to give an answer as to whether he would tolerate such behaviour from his own chief of staff, Schembri backed the Prime Minister’s embattled chief of staff.
“Schembri worked really hard for two momentous wins for the country and the party,” he said before descending into an attack on the PN.
“It is clear that this is political pure and simple from a group of people who before 2013 destroyed the country, these same people are trying to break it again,” Mizzi continued.
Visibly annoyed by the questions from the press, Schembri used a robust yet nervy approach.
“I am addressing 20 journalists today, and I can do so all day,” he said.
Mizzi insisted that he had already shoulder political responsibility for the Panama Papers scandal, gloating that he was reaffirmed by the electorate in the following question.
Asked one more time if he could now at least say he regrets working with Fenech, Mizzi declined, instead saying:
“I don’t know what you know, but it is a professional relationship, the same as the one with both sides of parliament.”
Mizzi did seem uncertain as to when he last saw Fenech, telling the press it had “been a while.”