Nothing more to add and anyone wishing to testify against me may do so. This was the gist of comment which Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi gave to Newsbook.com.mt in the wake of the European Parliament debate on financial crimes in Malta.
Mizzi was asked about comments made by MEP Sven Giegold earlier this week while Justice Minister Owen Bonnici met with the European Parliament’s Financial Crimes Committee (TAX3). Giegold said that he could not understand how Mizzi kept his position despite being caught lying about his Panama company, Hearnville Inc. Giegold said that this company was touted as a family trust fund, but is now “…more clearly than ever there for business purposes with money coming in from Dubai companies 17 Black and Macbridge”.
The beleaguered Minister stuck to his guns, reiterating, “the structure was set up as a family trust, I explained what it was, it was audited, I went through a number of scrutiny.” He said that his focus at the moment is on a number of projects and “to drive the economy forward and to drive social projects forward.”
When it was pointed out that The Daphne Project, including journalists from Reuters and The Times of Malta have found more links between 17 Black and Mizzi’s, erstwhile secret, Panamanian company, he answered that the Government and the Courts were ‘clear’ on the issues already.
This newsroom also asked whether the libel cases recently withdrawn by the Minister were withdrawn due to upcoming testimonies, namely Accountant Karl Cini from Nexia BT, as was alleged by the Opposition following Mizzi’s recent surprise decision. The Minister answered that he “even testified under oath”, stating that he never had any problem doing so. He then reiterated what he had already said about his focus being on “adding value to the Maltese economy”. The Minister also made sure to clarify that he “never had any problem with anyone testifying” after the recording had stopped.
Specifically asked again whether he had any problem with anyone testifying against him, Mizzi replied succinctly, “Not at all, not at all. Whoever wants to testify can do so.”
MCC 40th Anniversary Renovations
The Tourism Minister also addressed a press conference in which €10 million worth of investment was injected into a number of infrastructural projects. The works mentioned include the renovation of the roof and the tank room to turn them into potential additional venues for events. Mizzi said that work is currently underway to ensure that more “world-class acts” can come to Malta, with the added ambition of making the MCC one of the best venues in the Mediterranean.
Other works, as detailed by MCC CEO Pierre Fenech, are new air-conditioning units reducing both noise pollution, and a visual improvement on the out of date units in plain sight of residents and visitors alike. There will also be air-conditioning in every part of the building now, including on stage. Other improvements mentioned were more accessibility, Virtual and Augmented Reality systems, a museum, and artist changing rooms.