Malta parliament debates no-confidence vote over #PanamaPapers

Malta Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat
Malta Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat

Malta’s parliament on Monday debated a motion of no-confidence in the government over Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s failure to sack a minister and his chief of staff, who were implicated in the #PanamaPapers’ leak.

Opposition deputy leader, Beppe Adami, told parliament in the opening speech in Valletta that the government’s reputation and credibility have been dented by the corruption allegation.

“Today we have a government trapped in the vice of corruption; a government that is impotent in the face of corruption and a prime minister who is doing nothing about it,” Mr. Adami said.

However, the government is expected to survive the vote on the back of a nine-seat majority, with many parliamentarians already saying they would back Muscat’s Labour government.

Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi and the PM’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, were named among those who set up two offshore trusts in New Zealand in 2015.

Mr. Adami said they were allegedly linked to a secret Dubai bank account and to two Panama companies the pair set up through the legal firm Mossack Fonseca.

Report says having an offshore account is not illegal as long as it is declared to tax authorities.

The EU’s smallest state has witnessed street protests, with Mr. Muscat saying he would only take a decision once an internal investigation is concluded.

Mr. Mizzi, the only sitting member of an EU government named in the Panama Papers, has admitted that the choice of Panama was an error of judgement and has offered to close his Panama company in the interest of transparency.

(dpa/NAN)


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