Finance Minister mum on dismissal of Jonathan Ferris

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna is refusing to clarify whether he had any involvement, even if indirect, in the decision taken soon after the general election to dismiss Jonathan Ferris and Charles Cronin, former officials at the anti-money laundering agency FIAU.

Replying to questions from The Shift, the Finance Minister said he had nothing further to add to what he said in Parliament in reply to questions by Opposition MPs.

Scicluna did not answer questions in Parliament (PQs 2702,2703) on 4 December on whether he was ever involved in communication with the Governance Board, officials or employees of the FIAU or the police force in which the two former FIAU officials were mentioned.

Instead, the Finance Minister referred to answers he had previously given on a separate issue. Scicluna referred to an answer he had given to Opposition MP Ryan Callus’ supplementary question on 29 November (PQ 347) on whether there was any interference – a different question.

Scicluna’s reply to Callus was that there was “no” interference. But whether he was privy to the communication and informed of the dismissal, while doing nothing about it, is an entirely different matter.

“The Minister has nothing more to add,” was the reply received, despite repeated attempts over emails and phone calls to understand the Finance Minister’s involvement in the action taken to dismiss former officials of the FIAU.

Three days before the dismissal of Ferris and Cronin on 16 June – just after the general election – Scicluna had said the FIAU Board must explain how the reports it had drafted, which involved the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and ‘star’ minister Minister Konrad Mizzi, were leaked.

The reports by the FIAU were never investigated by the police.

Allegations that followed on Pilatus Bank and the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat, in relation to the third controversial company revealed in the Panama Papers – Egrant – have joined the others in being the focus of criminal magisterial inquiries after former Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil delivered the leaked reports to court.

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