Magisterial inquiries: Busuttil fears police cover-up to hide failures

Prime minister sees delaying tactic by Simon Busuttil

Video: Jonathan Borg

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil today raised concerns that the police might feel it is in their interest to cover up evidence rather than help the magistrates conducting inquiries into Keith Schembri’s financial dealings because such evidence would only expose their failure to act.

Speaking after presenting a court application asking magistrate Aaron Bugeja to consider fresh evidence on what he said were money laundering activities, Dr Busuttil said the police had known about this evidence for over a year.

Dr Busuttil revealed the evidence yesterday, saying that Mr Schembri, the prime minister's chief of staff, had made various payments totalling €650,000 to Allied Newspapers former managing director Adrian Hillman.

READ: Keith Schembri in new 'classic case of money laundering, bribery'  

Dr Busuttil expressed serious concerns about the police who would be assisting the courts in their investigations.

Dr Busuttil said the inquiring magistrates relied on the police to do their job.

“These are the same police who took no action for a whole year. How can we be sure that instead of helping the magistrates, they would be more interested in making sure the truth does not come out”, Dr Busuttil questioned.

He said if the truth was found, the logical conclusion would be a dereliction of duty by the police.

“Do you think it is in the police’s interests to help the magistrate, or not to? I do have that fear”, Dr Busuttil said.

Dr Buasuttil said he had filed the application before Magistrate  Bugeja as the terms of reference for his inquiry were very wide.

Prime Minister says Busuttil delaying Egrant inquiry

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, speaking in the afternoon, said Dr Busuttil’s application was a clear attempt to delay the conclusion of the Egrant inquiry, since the PN leader could have followed other procedures.

Asked if the Egrant inquiry had actually been concluded, Dr Muscat said he was not privy to what the magistrate was doing.

Asked about Dr Busuttil's fears of a police frame-up, Dr Muscat said he was the only one he knew of who had been framed.

He repeated his challenge for Dr Busuttil to resign if it was shown that he had believed a lie.


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