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Human Rights experts call for resignations related to 17 Black

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Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi (left) and the Prime Minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri.

Corrupt politicians foster a corrupt nation and it is in the national interest for Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri resign, the leading human rights organisation Aditus said.

“It is in the national interest for Mizzi and Schembri to be immediately set aside,” the NGO said.The human rights organisation was responding to reactions by the Malta government following revelations on the once-mysterious owner of 17 Black.

A probe by The Times of Malta and Reuters revealed on Friday that 17 Black is 100% owned by the chief executive of the Tumas Group Yorgen Fenech. The Tumas Group is a partner in the gas power station pushed by Muscat and Mizzi in the 2013 election.

Leaked emails had shown that 17 Black was set to pay Mizzi and Schembri’s companies €150,000 a month. They showed that 17 Black was one of two sources of income for the Panama companies Hearnville and Tillgate, set up by Muscat’s consultants Nexia BT for Mizzi and Schembri a few days after they assumed office in March 201

Reacting to the revelations, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he would not take action until the magisterial inquiries were finished. Yet Muscat is one out of at least seven, including Mizzi and Schembri, who are blocking the opening of the only inquiry covering 17 Black.

There are another two pending inquiries but these do not relate to Mizzi or 17 Black.

These inquiries were called by former Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil precisely because there was no police action on evidence of money laundering and bribery involving Mizzi, Schembri, Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, Schembri’s associate Malcolm Scerri, and Adrian Hillman, former Managing Director of Allied Newspapers.

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