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MALTATODAY 4 April 2021

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TRUTH IS OF NO COLOUR WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT/COVID19 SUNDAY • 4 APRIL 2021 • ISSUE 1118 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY maltatoday Dingli says no! President Emeritus's appeal to party PGS 8-9 PAGE 5 €1.95 RECKONING WITH MUSCAT Should Abela disassociate himself from Muscat and go for a snap election to boost his authority? PAGES 8-9 JAMES DEBONO THE former President and popu- lar Labour minister Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is calling on her own party to apologise to those who bought into in its purported moral credentials. Coleiro Preca, who became social policy minister after Labour's his- toric 2013 election, called on those who have the party's interest at heart to embark on a soul-search- ing exercise to establish what it stands for. "Labour owes the country and its supporters an apology," Coleiro Preca said in a hard-hitting com- mentary for MaltaToday. She writes that in the wake of the latest allegations on the La- bour government's links to secret offshore companies and its major projects, the PL has to apologise "to all those who genuinely be- lieved in its moral credentials and supported it, and to all the people of these islands". She says Labour has to carry out a soul-search- ing exercise to establish what it stands for and whether it is a party that is "simply power-hungry and merely directed by surveys rather than by political, social and moral values". The commentary was penned ex- clusively for MaltaToday after the newspaper approached her for her views on the current political cri- sis facing the country, following recent court arraignments of Jo- seph Muscat's chief of staff Keith Schembri and other revelations casting a shadow on energy deals undertaken after 2013. Coleiro Preca says Labour must ask itself whether it is still faithful to its founding principles to sup- port workers, the poor and the vul- nerable, or if it is "simply mesmer- ised by any business that comes along?" She praised the current gov- ernment for making significant changes to strengthen institutions, but said more work was needed to ensure they are guided "by the principles of good gov- ernance, transparency, ac- countability and effective checks and balances". Coleiro Preca: Labour must apologise Macbridge owner had Malta visa deal in the bag Cheng Chen and associate Haibin Mao spent 2015 firing off instructions to Konrad Mizzi staff on visa programme rules and fees MATTHEW VELLA THE Chinese negotiator in multi-million euro deals by Enemalta, Cheng Chen, di- rectly influenced Malta's residence visa programme (MRVP) in the months pri- or to an open market call for concessionaires, which his company Shanghai OC se- cured. Chen was last week revealed by a Times-Reuters investiga- tion to be behind the secret company Macbridge, sus- pected of being set up to pay kickbacks to Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. MaltaToday has learnt that Cheng Chen was aware im- mediately of government plans to launch the MRVP, a visa residency scheme for high net-worth individuals who were unable to apply for the Individual Investor Programme due to dual citi- zenship prohibition in their country of origin. From March 2015 right un- til the MRVP's tendering pro- cess later on in September that year, Cheng Chen and his associate 'Kevin' Haibin Mao were in constant contact with staff in Konrad Mizzi's ministry for energy. Despite the MRVP having been passed off as a pro- gramme under Chris Cardo- na's ministry of the economy, the programme's entire de- sign was hammered out un- der Mizzi's aegis. Communications and doc- uments seen by MaltaToday show that Cheng Chen – an Accenture employee who in 2014 negotiated on behalf of Shanghai Electric Power for its acquisition of a stake in Malta's power company Ene- malta – took an active role in trying to influence the MRVP and how it would be shaped. Equality czar Online harassment of women still being ignored PAGE 13 Karen Tanti, at the site of Graffitti's sit-in against Infra- structure Malta PG 16

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