Deputy Prime Minister of Malta Chris Fearne has urged Cabinet colleague Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, to wait for the outcome of ongoing inquiries before claiming to be “cleared”.
When it was announced that the Egrant inquiry found no link between the Prime Minister’s wife and the Panama company, as had been alleged, Dr Mizzi took to Facebook to claim that the inquiring magistrate had “cleared” him and Mr Schembri of wrongdoing.
The 49 or so pages containing the main conclusions of the 1,500-page Egrant inquiry report make no reference to other claims of wrongdoing involving Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri, which are the subject of three inquiries.
Asked about the matter on Thursday, Mr Fearne told the Times of Malta that while the inquiry into the Egrant allegations showed that both Mr Schembri and Dr Mizzi were not involved with the company and that they did not receive money from Azerbaijan, one should always wait for the outcomes of the inquiries in progress.
“Naturally, there are other inquiries on other aspects that are still ongoing and, therefore, one should be cautious as we were before and wait for the outcome.
“Obviously, I continue to support my colleagues, but I think that, since a judicial process is still ongoing, one should wait for the outcome of that process,” Mr Fearne said when pressed to say if he agreed with Dr Mizzi’s evaluation of the situation.
Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri are the subject of a criminal inquiry into allegations that they broke money-laundering laws when opening Panama companies.
Two other inquiries are looking into allegations that Mr Schembri effected payments to former Allied Newspapers Limited managing director Adrian Hillman and that he received kickbacks from the controversial cash-for-passports scheme with the help of the Prime Minister’s financial consultant, Brian Tonna.
On whether he agreed with the Attorney General’s decision not to publish the entire Egrant inquiry report, Mr Fearne echoed Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s views that it should be released in full.