Malta risks economic Covid-21, Bartolo warns

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo warned that Malta risks “economic Covid-21” next year unless it takes concrete action against money laundering and corruption.

Writing on his personal Facebook page, Bartolo reacted to revelations by Times of Malta and Reuters that an Enemalta wind farm deal in Montenegro allowed Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech to pocket millions through his Dubai-based company, 17 Black, which was named as “target client” of the Panama companies set up for Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.

Bartolo underlined that those who are involved should shoulder political responsibility. He referred to the upcoming assessments which Malta is due to face, and stressed that Malta had to show that it is serious in its fight against corruption and money-laundering.

Bartolo warned that if Malta does not tackle corruption seriously, next year the country would experience an economic Covid-21. Malta risks grey-listing by Moneyval and the Financial Action Task Force.

On Friday, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that if disgraced Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and disgraced Minister Konrad Mizzi, would have to go if they were involved, saying that they would have to either resign or otherwise he would take the decision himself.

“We are in a political eclipse,” Bartolo said. He added that the light started shining through since Robert Abela was appointed head of government, however, this was being masked by ugly political and business affairs that took place between 2013 and 2019. Bartolo who has been a Member of Parliament since 1992, served as an Education Minister during the same period.

The Foreign Affairs Minister endorsed the call made by Prime Minister for a full investigation and the demand that anyone involved should be made to resign.

Bartolo stressed that the case should be investigated without fear or favour.

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation said that the revelations, made by Reuters and the Times of Malta, provided further evidence that the assassination was motivated by Caruana Galizia’s investigation of a kickback scheme involving senior Maltese government officials, state-owned enterprises and private businesses.

The Foundation emphasised the need for a Europol Joint Investigation Team.