Konrad Mizzi refuses to name audit company in court
● PM avoids journalists for the second day
Minister Konrad Mizzi yesterday refused to name the international company that is carrying out an audit into his Panamanian company and New Zealand trust, insisting that questions should be put to the Prime Minister.
Mr Mizzi was testifying in a libel case he has instituted against PN Deputy Leader Beppe Fenech Adami.
Dr Fenech Adami’s lawyer, Dr Joe Zammit Maempel, asked Dr Mizzi who the company carrying out the independent audit was. Dr Mizzi refused to name the company, telling the lawyer that he should ask the Prime Minister.
But the Prime Minister who was taking part in an event just a few blocks away from the Law Courts slipped out of the Aula Magna before he could be questioned by journalists. This was the second day running that Dr Muscat had avoided replying to questions.
Dr Mizzi told the Court he did not wish to name the company because he did not want to put it under any undue pressure.
Dr Zammit Maempel said he would not put any pressure on the company and said he wanted to know the name simply to ascertain that an audit was truly taking place.
Replying to questions, Dr Mizzi said his company and trust had now been registered in Malta.
He pointed out that he had listed his Panama company and New Zealand trust in his declaration of assets.
Asked if he had been fined for not registering the trust with the Maltese tax authorities, Dr Mizzi said he was informed “much later” that the trust had to be registered.
He had not gone into such details with his financial advisers – Nexia BT – and there was not even an online form to register a trust.
Dr Mizzi, along with OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, has filed several libel proceedings after their names were revealed in the Panama Papers leak.
The former PL Deputy Leader had appointed an independent inquiry more than six months ago. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said when asked last week that such audits took time to be completed. He added that the fact that the process was taking a long time showed that things were being taken seriously. Dr Muscat said the audit should be completed before long and he was sure it would be published once completed.
Meanwhile at the Aula Magna in the Old University, a group of journalists from all media outlets waited in vain for the Prime Minister to finish his commitment at an award ceremony to ask him about Konrad Mizzi’s earlier testimony in court.
The Prime Minister chose not to use the main entrance to leave the building, preferring to use a secondary exit, avoiding the media.
Journalists lined up prepared to ask the Prime Minister for the name of the company which is carrying out an audit into Konrad Mizzi’s accounts since the No Portfolio Minister refused to name the international company in court, insisting that questions should be put to the Prime Minister.
The waiting was over when one of his media officers informed the journalists that the Prime Minister had left the building.