PM seeking to protect Konrad Mizzi, Azzopardi charges

Jason Azzopardi in Parliament

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi accused Prime Minister Robert Abela of seeking a guarantee that the new police commissioner – whoever it may be – would not investigate or arrest former minister Konrad Mizzi.

In an adjournment speech in Parliament, Azzopardi noted that Mizzi has been absent from Malta – “a fugitive,” he added – for the past two months.

“Instead of an investigation, instead of his arrest for money laundering and corruption, we are seeing him scheme with Robert Abela to receive a guarantee that the new police commissioner will not act against him,” the MP said.

“This is why he has remained abroad. He had every opportunity to return in the past two months,” Azzopardi said, before insisting that Mizzi carried out acts of corruption in Malta as well as in Montenegro.

Mizzi’s trips to Montenegro questioned

In recent weeks, Azzopardi had asked a series of parliamentary questions on Mizzi’s various trips to Montenegro: the former minister visited the country twice in 2014, five times in 2015, and another time in 2016, this time accompanying then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

He noted that on three occasions, Mizzi was accompanied by his personal lawyer Aron Mifsud Bonnici, questioning why he would do so on a visit to the “most corrupt country in Europe.”

The MP added that it was during one of these visits that Mizzi signed the source of funds declaration “his corrupt auditor” Karl Cini sent to Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca, which set up the minister’s secret company in Panama.

Azzopardi also quoted Mizzi’s credit card expenditures in Montenegro, and noted that on various occasions, the former minister had booked rooms in two hotels for short trips to the small country, despite distances of no more than an hour’s drive.

He highlighted that on his November 2015 trip, Mizzi did not use his ministerial credit card, but only his personal card. And he only used his personal card once, to check his account, as only a €0.01 transaction had been registered.

It was after this visit, Azzopardi added, that Cini sent an email to Mossack Fonseca telling them to “go ahead to start the opening of the accounts for those 2 Panama companies,” in the name of Mizzi and Muscat’s right-hand man Keith Schembri.

Explanation sought from PM

“Now Robert Abela must answer why he is covering for Konrad,” Azzopardi said, adding that he must explain the plan for Mizzi to remain overseas until the desired guarantee was made.

The MP also suggested that the government already had a candidate in mind.

“I know what is being said, who should be appointed, and why a year’s probation was put in place,” he said. “The Commissioner must please the government, and if they arraign who they shouldn’t, they will get fired.”

Azzopardi also challenged the government to publish the agreement reached by Enemalta to build a wind farm in Montenegro.

“Then we will be in a better position to speak of other things, of why Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi are so interested in Europe’s most corrupt country,” he said.