PM refuses to say if he knew of Joseph Muscat search plans / Malta News Briefing – Thursday 20 January 2022

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PM refuses to say if he knew of Joseph Muscat search plans: Prime Minister Robert Abela on Thursday refused to say if he was forewarned about plans by police to search his predecessor Joseph Muscat’s home. Speaking to journalists outside Castille, Abela instead repeated Muscat’s talking point about how PN MP Jason Azzopardi appeared to know about the planned search as early as Sunday. Abela denied having received any threats from Muscat, saying the former prime minister has every right to defend his position.

Naxxar PL councillors propose motion to defend PN mayor: The Naxxar local council has backed a resolution proposed by a Labour councillor supporting the position taken by the Nationalist mayor on the Planning Authority board in December when she voted in favour of a massive high-rise development. The residential and commercial complex is being built on the parking lot of the former Naxxar trade fair. In a motion approved during a council meeting on Wednesday evening, the council said that mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami’s PA vote reflected the council’s “opinion” and the stand it had taken during various meetings.

Covid-19 update: Six people have died as 286 new COVID-19 cases were detected in the past 24 hours. It is the highest death toll in one day since the pandemic reached Malta. The victims included three men aged 47, 75 and 79, and three women aged 75, 79 and 97. There were 286 new cases and 552 new recoveries.

Morning Briefing

Full confidence in country’s institutions – PM

PM Robert Abela said he had full confidence in the country’s institutions but insisted that these had to exercise that confidence solely for the administration of justice “and nothing else”. He was reacting to news of a search at former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s home early in the morning, related to the Vitals deal. Muscat said he was upset with the “needless theatrics” that he said were possibly designed to “humiliate” him. PN leader Bernard Grech referred to Muscat’s comments, adding that the former PM “is implying that Abela intervened with the police to humiliate him”. (Times of Malta)

Konrad Mizzi defends Electrogas deal

Former Minister Konrad Mizzi put up another staunch defence of the Electrogas project in another stormy session of the Public Accounts Committee. Mizzi said he had no knowledge of 17 Black or MAcbridge, the companies listed as target clients to his Panama company, adding that he received no money illegal. Mizzi sought to turn the tables accusing PAC chair Beppe Fenech Adami of being untouchable. “There was no corruption or intention to do so. I never received any money. I have nothing to do with 17 Black and Macbridge and only got to know about them when they were outed by newspapers. I only got to know Yorgen Fenech owned 17 Black when his name was in the media. I cannot answer anything about them,” Mizzi said. (Maltatoday)

Covid-19 Update: Five persons died while Covid-19 positive over the past 24 hours, health authorities said. These were four females, aged 70, 77, 82 and 92 and a male aged 77. There were 342 new cases and 548 recoveries. 102 persons are currently in hospital, eight of whom in ITU.

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