Opposition demands Mizzi’s resignation, Minister calls it a ‘coordinated attack’

Konrad Mizzi, Minister of Tourism, Malta

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has found himself embroiled in yet another controversy after an investigation by the Times of Malta and international news agency Reuters found that a company that was awarded power station projects while Mizzi served as the Minister of Energy and Health had contacts with a company called 17 Black.

17 Black is accused of being a mystery company used to transfer money to other companies set up in Panama. The joint investigation has discovered that one of the directors of the company in question secretly owns 17 Black. However, Konrad Mizzi was quick to shun all the allegations and termed the investigation as a ‘coordinated attack’ against him.

The Maltese Opposition has, however, taken note of the serious allegations and has demanded the resignation of Toursim Minister and another top aide of the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. According to reports, Opposition leader Adrian Delia attacked the Prime Minister during a debate in the Parliament on Monday and proclaimed that in any other democratic country, the minister would have resigned if “half as serious allegations were made.”

Neither the Prime Minister, nor Tourism Minister attended the debate on Monday. Murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had also made a reference to 17 Black in the infamous blog she wrote in which she had also accused PM Muscat and his wife were linked to another secret Panama company. Galizia was killed in a car bombing in October 2017.

However, a magisterial inquiry had concluded that no link could be established between the PM and the Panama company. Joseph Muscat and his ministers have been facing continuous attacks ever since the blog surfaced and the protests against the government intensified after the death of Galizia. This new investigation is expected to increase the problems for the ruling dispensation as the Opposition demands inquiry to check the veracity of the claims made.