Scicluna contradicted by ministry’s permanent secretary, PN insists

Edward Scicluna
Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna’s attempts to distance himself from the numerous “scandalous decisions” made by the Labour government were dashed by the ministry’s own permanent secretary, according to the Nationalist Party.

The party’s finance spokesman Mario de Marco was reacting to testimony made in the public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Earlier this month, Scicluna had sought to distance himself from former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his closest allies, stating that he was not part of a “kitchen cabinet” which included Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri. This kitchen cabinet, he said, bypassed the system and allowed controversial decisions to go ahead.

But on Friday, it was the turn of the ministry’s long-serving permanent secretary Alfred Camilleri to testify, and de Marco highlighted his claim that financial decisions were the responsibility of the entire cabinet. Camilleri also highlighted that Scicluna would regularly discuss particular projects with the ministers responsible.

Camilleri, de Marco observed, also testified that Scicluna had himself held a number of meetings to discuss related matters, including the loan guarantees the government had provided to the Electrogas consortium.

“All this shows the weak defence presented by Edward Scicluna – who sought to give the impression that he played no role in the decisions made by a Labour administration – does not hold,” the MP said. “One should recall that Scicluna had no problem describing himself uncomfortable voting against such decisions because he had already lost an MEP’s salary to contest a national election with the Labour Party.

“If Minister Scicluna truly felt uncomfortable with the decisions he took part in, he should assume political responsibility for his actions and not point his fingers elsewhere,” he concluded.