PN in­sists Keith Schem­bri will get com­mis­sion from Crane Cur­rency deal, calls for in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Malta Independent - - NEWS - ■ Neil Camil­leri

The Na­tion­al­ist Party yes­ter­day ac­cused the Prime Min­is­ter’s Chief of Staff, Keith Schem­bri, of play­ing with words and in­sisted that he will still get a com­mis­sion from the €100 mil­lion Crane Cur­rency deal.

Mr Schem­bri has de­nied claims that the US com­pany, which will be set­ting up shop in Malta, will be pur­chas­ing the print­ing ma­chines from one of Mr Schem­bri’s com­pa­nies, Kasco Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices - the Malta rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Ko­mori cur­rency print­ing ma­chines.

Mr Schem­bri ad­mit­ted, how­ever, that his com­pany could carry out ser­vic­ing on the ma­chin­ery. Kasco Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices is co-owned by Mr Schem­bri and his busi­ness as­so­ciate Mal­colm Scerri.

PN Deputy Leader Beppe Fenech Adami in­sisted yes­ter­day that Mr Schem­bri would still re­ceive a com­mis­sion.

“It is ob­vi­ous that Kasco will not sup­ply (Ko­mori) print­ing ma­chines to Crane di­rectly from its ware­houses. But peo­ple in the le­gal field know that the Ko­mori rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Malta would get a com­mis­sion for any sales in this coun­try. This is how things work in this busi­ness.”

Dr Fenech Adami said Keith Schem­bri was play­ing with words and try­ing to de­ceive the pub­lic in the “most dis­re­spect­ful way”.

Mean­while the PN Deputy Leader also called on the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the deal.

“It is very ob­vi­ous that Mr Schem­bri fa­cil­i­tated a deal from which he stands to gain. The po­lice have a duty to in­ves­ti­gate any al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion or bribery, just as they had a duty to in­ves­ti­gate Schem­bri over the Panama Papers reve­la­tions.”

Dr Fenech Adami said Mr Schem­bri’s busi­ness deal­ings were “com­pletely un­ac­cept­able,” just like the Prime Min­is­ter’s hope­less de­fence of his Chief of Staff.

He also ac­cused the PM of ly­ing when he said that Keith Schem­bri’s com­pa­nies did not com­pete for gov­ern­ment ten­ders. “Keith Schem­bri said in an in­ter­view two years ago that he was re­sign­ing all his di­rec­tor­ships and that his com­pa­nies would not bid for pub­lic ten­ders. But it has since been re­vealed that Kasco com­pa­nies won gov­ern­ment and Ene­malta pa­per sup­ply ten­ders.”

Jus­tice Shadow Min­is­ter Ja­son Az­zopardi said that Mr Schem­bri had an un­fair ad­van­tage over other com­pa­nies and said the PN wanted to re­store a level play­ing field in the busi­ness sec­tor.

Dr Az­zopardi said peo­ple were now re­al­is­ing why the gov­ern­ment “had not helped” De La Rue – an­other cur­rency print­ing com­pany that had de­clared it would dis­miss 300 work­ers. “It has now been re­vealed that the gov­ern­ment was ne­go­ti­at­ing with Crane at the same time De La Rue was in trou­ble. A se­ri­ous PM would have done all he could to safe­guard jobs.”

He also added that if it was true that Dr Mus­cat had no idea what Keith Schem­bri was do­ing, this was be­cause “the PM had lost con­trol and Keith Schem­bri was call­ing all the shots.”

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