Senior gov't officials resign as Malta journalist murder investigation widens

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 27, 2019
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VALLETTA, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced on Tuesday the resignation of his chief of staff, Keith Schembri.

Sources close to the ongoing investigation into the 2017 murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia said that Schembri was called in for questioning by the police on Tuesday after having been mentioned by businessman Yorgen Fenech, the main suspect in the journalist's murder who is currently under arrest. Fenech is the former chief executive officer of one of the largest family-owned energy and tourism firms on the island.

Later on Tuesday, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said that after a lot of reflection, he thought it was his "duty" to resign from his government post.

"I felt it was my duty to step down from minister for the government of Joseph Muscat, which we worked so hard to elect, to be able to do its full term in office," he told journalist after a meeting of the Labour Party's parliamentary group.

Minutes later, Economy Minister Chris Cardona announced through a statement released by his ministry that he was "suspending himself with immediate effect from his position as minister pending the investigations and proceedings going on right now."

Schembri and Mizzi had been mentioned in leaked documents as allegedly owning offshore companies which were due to receive 5,000 euros (5,500 U.S. dollars) a day from 17 Black, an offshore company owned by Fenech.

Cardona was questioned by police in connection with his potential involvement in the murder of the investigative journalist.

Caruana Galizia's family urged the police to "immediately prosecute Schembri for his wide-ranging and long-running criminal activity."

"As the authorities finally turn to Schembri, we urge them to uncover why Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has protected him and Konrad Mizzi for three years. The failure to prosecute Schembri, Mizzi and their protectors had fatal consequences for our wife and mother. If that failure continues, it will have fatal consequences for Malta's democracy," the family said.

Meanwhile, investigations continued on Tuesday, with the police calling in a number of people who were mentioned during previous interrogations. Enditem

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