Malta, protesters shouted “mafia, mafia” at government MPs as they left parliament

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/NNA) – A large crowd of protesters carrying Maltese and EU flags, and holding placards lambasting the “theft” of the public hospitals gathered outside the Parliament in Valletta. The protest was called by the Leader of the Opposition Bernard Grech over the damning public hospitals’ inquiry and the subsequent filing of criminal charges against several top officials, including former prime minister Joseph Muscat, former Health Minister Konrad Mizzi, former Finance Minister and Malta’s Central Bank Governor Edward Scicluna and former Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne. As soon as government’s MPs exited parliament behind police barriers and made their way up a side street away from the crowd, PN supporters loudly jeered and chanted “mafia, mafia” at Labour MPs. Nationalist Leader Bernard Grech told protesters that Prime Minister Robert Abela is attacking the “bastions” of democracy. “He has been attacking three institutions at once – journalists, the parliamentary process and the judiciary. What do these institutions have in common? They are the three democratic institutions which cannot be controlled by him,” he said. He added “for the prime minister and the speaker, parliament is not the country’s highest institution but a bunker from where they cannot hear the democratic cries”. The protest was called after Grech declared that the Opposition would resort to ‘parliamentary disobedience’ after two rulings by the speaker denying the Opposition’s request for the immediate publication of the criminal inquiry and an urgent debate on the accusations facing the deputy prime minister Chris Fearne, who then resigned last Friday. Yesterday the Parliament’s Speaker rejected for the third time a request by Opposition leader Bernard Grech for an urgent debate on the prime minister’s failure to sack Central Bank Governor Edward Scicluna who faces criminal charges concerning the hospitals deal and the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, who is also facing serious criminal charges in what it’s being described an unprecedented situation for the country. While former PM Muscat will be charged over fraud and corruption on 28 May, former ministers Chris Fearne and Edward Scicluna will be criminally charged in court the following day. While addressing the crowd, the Leader of the Opposition declared, “on June 8 it is not Abela who will tell you what to do. Rather, you can tell him what he should do,” with reference to the scheduled MEP and local councils elections. He added if it were up to the Labour government, the hospitals deal would have never been annulled. “It was thanks to the Nationalist Party that the government was forced to pull out of the deal and it was thanks to NGO Repubblika that a magisterial inquiry was carried out.” The Vitals case has dominated headlines since the magistrate concluded her four-year inquiry into the government’s grant of a concession for the management of three state hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare in 2015. Vitals later transferred the concession to Steward Healthcare and the concession was declared null by Malta’s highest court in February after finding fraud. Yesterday, it was revealed that Steward Healthcare is planning to sell off all its hospitals after announcing this week that it filed for bankruptcy protection hoping to finalize transactions by the end of the summer to address its $9 billion in total liabilities.


Foto: Net News

Source: medNews