Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s reason for not removing his chief of staff Keith Schembri in light of police and magisterial investigations into 17 Black is that these investigations are not about Schembri, but about the Dubai company.
With that in mind, Lovin Malta asked Muscat, tongue in cheek, whether he thinks police intend to interrogate, prosecute and jail 17 Black.
The Prime Minister first laughed off the question and said the journalist was not taking the matter seriously. He then insisted “the investigation is into the company and not into a specific individual”.
“Let’s allow the authorities to do their job,” he said. “If the investigations implicate people involved in politics, then I’ll take the necessary decisions as I have done in the past. As the Justice Minister said in Parliament, we weren’t informed that an investigation was ongoing, as should be the case. However, when The Times of Malta reported that a magisterial inquiry had been launched into 17 Black, we asked the Attorney General to confirm whether this was indeed the case. The Attorney General confirmed this, but only told us investigations are ongoing into the company. Full stop.”
Muscat said in an interview last year that Schembri would resign on the spot if he is ever subjected to some type of criminal investigation.
However, he has now shifted the onus onto the Nationalist Party, arguing that, by that logic, MP Beppe Fenech Adami and MEP David Casa should also resign as they are being investigated by the FIAU and the EU’s anti-fraud agency OLAF respectively.
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” he said.