Nationalist Party (PN) MP Stephen Spiteri has insisted that his relationship with former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri is nothing more than that between a doctor and his patient.
Last year, Spiteri admitted to Lovin Malta that he had a relationship with Schembri but denied that he had acted as one of his informants within the PN. Despite Lovin Malta being informed that the two were in regular contact, he had insisted that there was nothing malignant in them having a relationship and denied having any nefarious communication.
Schembri is expected to be arraigned in court along with a number of others in the coming hours on charges relating to corruption, money laundering and fraud, which stem from a magisterial inquiry into the allegation that he had transferred €650,000 to former Allied Newspapers managing director Adrian Hillman.
Asked during a press conference today whether he now felt uncomfortable, or even vulnerable, as a result of this relationship, a visibly uncomfortable Spiteri said he had known Schembri and his family for a long time and was their doctor.
“I have, on many occasions, naturally carried out my duty as a doctor, but I do not feel that these are questions of a national importance that require an answer as you are requesting,” Spiteri said, at the end of a press conference about the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spiteri is still under investigation by the Medical Council after his clinic was caught by Lovin Malta handing out medical certificates to patients who had not been examined.
Lovin Malta’s story was published in 2017 and a formal inquiry was launched by the Medical Council in 2018.
Last year, Schembri filed a Constitutional Case arguing that the investigation breached his rights, as a result of which, the Medical Council’s inquiry had to be suspended.
Asked whether he had any update on the Constitutional Case, given that the inquiry risked becoming time-barred before a decision was handed down, Spiteri refused, saying that he didn’t feel that he needed to reply to the question.
“You know as well as I do what progress has been made in that case and I don’t need to give any replies when we’re talking about something as important as the COVID pandemic,” Spiteri said.
What do you make of Spiteri’s reaction?