Three former judges appointed to investigate allegations involving PN Deputy Leader
Joseph Camilleri, Lawrence Quintano and Philip Sciberras are the three former members of the judiciary that have been tasked with investigating serious allegations against Nationalist Party deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami.
This was announced via a press conference addressed by Justice Minister Owen Bonnici.
The allegations are that as Malta geared itself for the 2013 general elections, in January of that year investigations were made by the local police into a company which was thought to be handling transactions for a company that could have been used by suspected drug traffickers. The company, which Dr Fenech Adami was director of at the same time as being Parliamentary Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs, is a Maltese fiduciary company.
At the outset of the press conference, Dr Bonnici said that he does not wish to pass comments related to partisan politics. He also said that the former members of the judiciary chosen have the confidence and trust needed to carry out the task properly. Judge Emeritus Philip Sciberras is a former Labour Party candidate.
The investigative committee has until 15 January to conclude its work. Dr Bonnici said the terms of reference of the task at hand are to review the article which announced the news and investigate the allegations levelled against the authorities.
The charges which need to be investigated are as follows: that the authorities did not cooperate with the Dutch authorities who were carrying out the broader investigation, that the authorities held back from an investigation which came to light through Dutch authorities, that a number of companies – some of which registered in Malta – employed suspicious activities in connection with transactions that are against the law and lastly that public institutions did not investigate.
Dr Bonnici said the investigation does not focus on a politically exposed person, but on the authorities and public institutions that may have failed to carry out their duties.
Asked by journalists why no such investigative committee was launched when the Panama Papers scandal broke, Dr Bonnici simply replied that he would not be commenting on anything related to partisan politics.
When asked by The Malta Independent under what criteria an official investigation is launched, that is, what kind of allegations merit an official inquiry, Dr Bonnici said that serious allegations merit the attention of the government. He also went on to remind journalists that this government has launched official inquiries on serious allegations related to sitting ministers, such as the case with the later reinstated Minister Manuel Mallia who was sacked following an investigation.
Asked by journalists why no such investigative committee was launched when the Panama Papers scandal broke, Dr Bonnici simply replied that he would not be commenting on anything related to partisan politics