Malta-24 – News Briefing – Wednesday 24th June 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Updated 1252 – No new coronavirus cases for third day running

There were no new cases of coronavirus for the third day running. A total of 923 swab tests were carried out, taking the country’s tally to beyond 90,000.

With six people recovering, the number of active cases has gone down to 32. 11 of these are still receiving care in hospitals.

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Updated 1233 – Yorgen Fenech knew about early general election in December 2016

New morning, new revelations during the public inquiry on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The Court was today informed by Police Inspector Kurt Zahra that Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind, knew that the general election would happen earlier back in December 2016.

He also testified that the SIM cards used by the three suspected hitmen on their burner phones were activated in December 2016.

Zahra also revealed that the murder probe has been widened but testified that he never attended briefings about the murder held at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Updated 1124 – Unemployment on the increase

Unemployment in Malta has practically doubled from pre-Covid days, with the NSO today announcing that 4,409 people are now without a job, up by 2,740 when compared to May 2019.

This increase in unemployment excludes the hundreds of EU citizens and third country nationals who lost their jobs and left the country, thereby not contributing to further increases to the unemployment register.

Updated 0915 – Newspaper Review

The Times reports that the Labour Party executive voted to expel former minister Konrad Mizzi from the PL parliamentary group. Mizzi said that he was ‘side lined’ and not given the opportunity to defend himself.

L-Orizzont says that Prime Minister Robert Abela presented a motion in the PL executive for the ejection of Konrad Mizzi from the party’s parliamentary group. In a secret vote, 71 voted in favour, one against and there was one abstention.

Malta Today quotes Prime Minister Robert Abela after the removal of Konrad Mizzi from the party’s parliamentary group. Abela said that his predecessor paid a political price for not acting against Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.

The Independent picks up a Facebook message by Konrad Mizzi published before the PL executive meeting in which he expressed his disagreement with the Prime Minister’s request to resign from the parliamentary group.

In-Nazzjon says that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat did not attend the PL executive meeting which voted to oust Konrad Mizzi, but Prime Minister Robert Abela held a meeting with his predecessor just before it.

Malta Today quotes a statement by Enemalta which rejects allegations that the company had any prior knowledge of 17 Black’s involvement in the Montenegro wind farm deal. The energy company said that an internal probe has been initiated.

The Times reports that assistant Police Commissioner Alessandra Mamo will head the Economic Crimes Unit, replacing Ian Abdilla. New police chief Angelo Gafà said the decision is not motivated by lack of confidence in Abdilla.

L-Orizzont quotes Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà who pledged that he will not look at faces and that he will not take direction from anyone. Gafa’ warned that whoever acts criminally must be prepared to carry the responsibilities.

The Independent follows a press conference by newly-appointed Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà who gave assurances that all corruption allegations will be investigated by the police.

Malta Today reveals that a magisterial inquiry has been launched into claims made by state witness Melvin Fenech that businessman Yorgen Fenech made payments to Opposition Leader Adrian Delia to prevent David Casa’s re-election in 2019.

Former Minister Konrad Mizzi has been expelled from the Labour Party yesterday evening in a dramatic series of events.

Following recent revelations that Mizzi was involved in another shady deal, this time allegedly in connection wit the purchase of a windfarm by Enemalta in Montenegro, Prime Minister Robert Abela yesterday afternoon asked him to tender his resignation. In a lengthy Facebook post, Mizzi explained his refusal, leading the Party leader to call an urgent parliamentary group to take a vote on the matter.

71 of 73 persons eligible for a vote asked for Mizzi’s expulsion.

This was the second major resignation from Labour ranks in a few days, after former Minister Chris Cardona was made to resign from his Deputy Leadership position.

In another development, Enemalta confirmed to the Times of Malta that had “commissioned an internal investigation and also asked the police to investigate the matter” and its directors are “fully committed to provide the fullest support possible to the investigative authorities”. Earlier, a spokesperson for the company defended the company from such allegations, saying that it was “completely unaware of the bank transfer transactions and possible criminal acts by third parties”.

 

Covd-19 updates

There were no new cases of coronavirus in Malta over the previous 24 hours, the Health Department said. 927 swab tests were carried out during this period. As one person has recovered, this means there are now 38 active cases.

This was the first time since 7th March 2020 during which Malta registered two consecutive days with zero cases.

CDE News

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