Watch: ‘Not privy to the communication between Muscat and Schembri’ – Abela

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that he was not privy to the communication between disgraced-then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his then-Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.

Newsbook.com.mt asked Abela whether he was informed that Muscat had called up his chief of staff requesting him to call murder suspect Yorgen Fenech and urge him not to leave the islands.

Prime Minister Abela said that he would not know what the pair would have discussed then. He added that Muscat took the wrong decisions at the time, explaining that both disgraced then-minister Konrad Mizzi and Schembri should have been removed the moment their names surfaced in the Panama Papers.

Mizzi was also the only serving EU Minister to emerge as having an off-shore company in Panama when documents were leaked from a Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca.

Abela stressed that he would have asked both to resign then. He said that Muscat’s position was distinct from Mizzi’s, when asked whether the former’s position was still tenable in the government’s parliamentary group.

“Muscat’s mistake was not having taken a decision on Schembri and Mizzi in 2016. He paid the highest political price,” Abela told this newsroom.

The Prime Minister was also asked about whether he knew of a possible snap election back in 2016. Abela who at the time was not a Member of Parliament remarked that he had no idea about an early election and had not even informed Partit Laburista about his intention to contest.

During the public inquiry sitting held on Wednesday morning, Police Inspector Kurt Zahra told the board of inquiry that murder suspect Yorgen Fenech had told them that he knew about the early election. Further, Zahra testified that from the intelligence the police had, the three suspected hitmen had activated the SIM cards used on their burner phones around the same time.

Disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat made his first remarks in Parliament since his resignation to deny claims – made by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi – that he may have known about a plot to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia ahead of the 2017 election.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi had said that there were two possible reasons behind Joseph Muscat’s decision to call an early election in 2017.

Speaking during the adjournment speech in Parliament, Azzopardi said that the best-case scenario was that he was aware that Daphne Caruana Galizia was set to expose corrupt dealings in Montenegro.

But the worst-case scenario, he argued, was that Muscat had advance knowledge of the assassination plot. And earlier in his speech, he outright declared that Muscat wanted the election out of the way before the assassination took place.

Muscat filed a breach of privilege complaint against Azzopardi, stating that he had never seen parliamentary privilege abused in such a manner.