UPDATED: “I was not a part of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ of former PM Muscat“ – Edward Scicluna
The Public Inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continued today and the main witness was Minister Edward Scicluna. Professor Scicluna said that although he was the Minister for Finance he did not form part of the inner circle of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. He stated in Court that in 2016 he had given Dr Muscat advice to stay clear of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri when the scandal of the Panama Papers and that they had secret companies in Panama was revealed and he had advised the former PM to remove Konrad Mizzi from the Cabinet.
Minister Scicluna maintained he was not involved in the drawing up and signing of the Electrogas and VGH contracts.
Professur Scicluna said he did not form part of Dr Muscat’s ‘kitchen cabinet’ that gave him advice on important decisions such as that of Electrogas and the three hospitals and VGH.
Asked by lawyers Therese Comodini Cachia and Jason Azzopardi who are appearing as representatives of the Caruana Galizia family about how he allocated funds for projects such as Electrogas, Professor Scicluna replied there were weaknesses in the system of financial allocations. He said these weaknesses led to his having to approve a number of projects without his approval of the projects. He added that Projects Malta administered these projects and had they been left under his charge he would certainly have produced better results.
Regarding the Electrogas contract for the building and management of the new power station, he said the sole role of his Ministry was to draw up the guarantee for the banks to provide the loans and this happened at a late stage when the contract had already been finalised. Professor Scicluna said he did not know Yorgen Fenech personally, one of the owners of Electrogas and the secret 17 Black company and the man who is alleged of having ordered the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The Inquiry Board formed of the Chief Judge Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino, the former Judge Michael Mallia and Judge Abigail Lofaro, accepted the request by Dr Comodini Cachia that the Finance Ministry documents related to the Electrogas contract be exhibited in Court during the next session. Professor Scicluna said he had no difficulty to submit the documents while maintaining the Electrogas contract had been managed by Projects Malta and not under his responsibility.