Konrad Mizzi to be called before EU Parliamentary committee investigating Panama Papers
Malta’s Minister without a portfolio Konrad Mizzi will be among the first to be called before the Pana committee, dealing with the Panama Papers scandal, chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee Werner Langen said in a press conference.
“I’m assuming we will be inviting active members of governments, with the energy minister from Malta is one possible minister, with other EU ministers as well.”
The Chairman also confirmed that the list of those to be interviewed has not yet been finalised.
The European Parliament’s Panama Committee of Inquiry met yesterday in Brussels. MEPs heard a presentation from the investigative journalists that form part of the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism.
Together with the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, Dr Mizzi was found to have opened a secret company in the tax haven of Panama associated with another financial vehicle in New Zealand.
The financial arrangements were handled by Nexia BT, which has also acted as the auditing firm of Kasco Group – Mr Schembri’s personal business operations. Nexia BT and other subsidiaries have also been given lucrative consultancy contracts by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Energy Ministry in the last three years.
Earlier this year, the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism discovered that Minister Konrad Mizzi has a company in the secretive jurisdiction of Panama, an issue which embroiled the minister into the heart of a controversy.
He had his energy and health portfolios removed by the Prime Minister, however he still deals with many energy-related matters.
The Head of the PN Delegation in European Parliament David Casa MEP who is a full member of the committee and present for the exchanges stated: “Today we heard from the journalists themselves about the way they conducted their work and the relevance of the information that was released. This was followed by a discussion of Committee members concerning how we would like to focus our work. It is clear that the Committee will address two main issues – that regarding taxation – but also and in my view more crucially the issue of corruption and money laundering.”
MEP Roberta Metsola who is also a full member of the committee said: “We saw today that the Committee would look at how to improve the protection of whistleblowers and will emerge with proposals how to facilitate transparency and fight tax evasion and corruption. Over the next year, the Committee will continue to meet to discuss how the EU can move forward on this issue. It is clear that this scandal will not go away and I hope that member states and any witnesses who may be called cooperate fully with the Committee’s line of inquiry.”
The committee has a one-year mandate which expires on 8 June, 2017. The mandate can be prolonged twice by three months.