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