Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Prime Minister Robert Abela said that newly-elected Partit Nazzjonalista leader Bernard Grech and outgoing Opposition leader Adrian Delia are partly to blame for Malta’s shortcomings ahead of Moneyval.
Abela claimed that Moneyval had set a list of prerequisites back in 2012, adding that the government is doing its utmost to satisfy them.
According to the Prime Minister, Moneyval complained that the tax authorities did not criminally charge people who failed to pay their taxes instead they allowed them to settle administratively with the Tax Commissioner.
Speaking to the press outside parliament, Abela remarked that the Tax Commissioner had adopted a similar approach with regards to the new Opposition leader. He then claimed that if Malta has a problem with Moneyval, then Grech as well as Delia, both contributed to it.
Abela tells Grech that he can go to Castille when he wins a general election
Abela did not seem amused with Grech’s “self-invitation” to Castille.
Earlier during the day, Grech announced that he will ask for an official appointment at Castille after he is sworn in as Opposition leader to discuss a number of issues including the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a motion for an independent inquiry on the Electrogas contract and a proposal to hold a national conference on population and migration.
Fielding questions from journalists outside Parliament on Monday afternoon Abela said Grech could only enter Castille when he wins an election against him and not against Delia.
On the topic of migration, Abela insisted that the conference is not needed.
“The position is clear. Bernard Grech has to decide whether he believed that Malta is full up,” Abela insisted.
The Prime Minister argued that Grech already declared that he did not believe that Malta was not full up, adding that until the conference is held, more boats would make their way here. He was referring to asylum seekers and refugees who escape from war torn Libya in search of a better life.
Abela maintained that the government’s position was clear – Malta is full up and cannot take any more asylum seekers.
“This is the argument Malta is making at a European level,” he said.
Abela insisted that if Grech knows of corruption on the Electrogas deal he can go to an inquiring magistrate and ask for an investigation. The Prime Minister argued that if Grech fails to do so, he would turn down an invitation he himself made.
The prime minister explained that for a person to request a magisterial inquiry, the alleged offence should be punishable by more than three years imprisonment. The inquest would then preserve the evidence gathered. He maintained that Grech had a duty to request an inquiry if he had any “proof” of wrongdoing.
Prime Minister not interested in discussing issues – PN
Partit Nazzjonalista has hit out at Abela saying that the prime minister did not want to discuss issues which were of concern for the population.
In a statement, PN leader Bernard Grech noted that finally the government has decided to take action and investigate the outbreak of coronavirus in nursing homes. He remarked that the investigation should have taken place earlier and solutions should have been discussed at this stage.
Grech reiterated his call for Parliamentary Secretary for active ageing Silvio Parnis to shoulder responsibility.
The newly elected PN leader remarked that the prime minister even dismissed a discussion on the Electrogas deal saying that like his predecessor, Abela was postponing investigations and swept them under the carpet.
Grech lambasted Abela on Moneyval reminding that the prime minister as a backbencher served as a legal advisor to Muscat and the cabinet of ministers for several years. “At the same time, Muscat was tarnishing the country’s reputation,” he added.
On the migration national conference, Grech once again explained that the PN’s idea was to hold a conference aimed at bringing all stakeholders to the table and analyze the current situation. He stressed that migration should be dealt with in an informed and objective manner.