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MT 8 May 2016

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 8 MAY 2016 2 News Elderly man dies after being run over by a van A 97-year old man from Rabat died after he was run over by a van while crossing the road yesterday morn- ing. The accident occurred along Vjal il-Haddiem, Rabat at around 8:30am. Police said that the man behind the wheel of the van was a 48-year old, also from Rabat. The elderly man was rushed to the Accident and Emergency Depart- ment at Mater Dei Hospital for treatment, but he suc- cumbed to his injuries a few hours later. In another accident, on Saturday, a 35-year-old man from Marsaskala was hospitalised after crashing into a billboard and a tree in Marsa. The police said in a state- ment that the accident oc- curred in Triq Aldo Moro at around 7am, when the man lost control of his ve- hicle, crashed into a bill- board and swerved into a tree. He was rushed to Mater Dei, where he was certified as having suffered from grievous injuries. PN insists PM can't afford Dubai hols MIRIAM DALLI A family holiday taken by the Prime Minister during Easter with his family in the United Arab Emirates is still stoking suspicions from the Nationalist Party, which is insisting that Joseph Muscat publishes 'invoices' or receipts for his holiday. The seven-day holiday in Dubai was "not affordable" on the salary of a Maltese prime minister, the Nationalist Party said yesterday, which is why the PN is insisting Joseph Muscat should therefore publish receipts of his Easter holiday. It renewed its challenge in a statement yesterday, after in- sisting that the Muscat family had spent their holiday in "one of the most expensive hotels in Dubai". Muscat, who earns €52,000 as prime minster, was report- ed to have spent his Easter break at the Hotel Atlantis, The Palms. He has told reporters that he personally pays for his holidays. "The holiday lasted a week, raising questions on who paid for the holiday and how. It is well known that, on a Prime Minister's salary, such hotels are not affordable," the PN said. This week Muscat declared in his parliamentary statement to have €75,000 in bank deposits. In the ensuing party tit-for-tat, Labour dismissed the PN's calls as a sight that leader Simon Busuttil had "hit rock bot- tom". "Busuttil wants to poke his nose into Muscat's private vaca- tion, when we now know that he had told [PN deputy lead- er] Mario de Marco not to resign, even though construction works on his house that took place when he was minister re- sponsible for MEPA were in breach of the code of ethics." Requests for the publication of Muscat;s Dubai holiday re- ceipts follow weeks of similar requests to the deputy leaders of the Nationalist Party, Mario de Marco and Beppe Fenech Adami over construction works at their homes. Labour wants Fenech Adami to publish invoices for the construction of his Gharghur villa whilst De Marco should publish invoices for €34,000 in works carried out by Redmap Construction. The PL argues that the invoices would dispel allegations that the works were in fact gifts. Using the same argument, the PN insists that the holiday invoices should be published for transparency's sake. "It is in the public interest to know how much the holiday cost and whether it was a gift. You need to earn much more than a prime minister's salary to afford this hotel," the PN reiterated. PANAMA PAPERS Civil Society Network demands 'change to normal' in call for resignations Civil society protest calls for Mizzi's Briguglio: If Mizzi and Schembri stay, Muscat will score 'own-goal' JURGEN BALZAN A few hundred people answered civil society's call to gather in Val- letta to demand the resignation of minister without portfolio Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri following revelations of their offshore interests. The Valletta protest, led by civil society activists led by sociologist and Green party councillor Mi- chael Briguglio, was held outside the Parliament building and was attended by people from all walks of life, including activists, artists and politicians. Although no speeches were made, the organisers, Civil Society Network, encouraged people to take banners and flags to the non- partisan protest. MaltaToday spoke to a number of people present at the protest, with Briguglio saying that "so far, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has fingers in his ears and is only listening to Konrad Mizzi and Schembri." "Those attending have stood up to be counted in the call for the resignation of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri due to their in- volvement in Panama Papers. Per- sons in similar situations in other democracies resigned immediate- ly. Malta should be no exception," Briguglio said. Noting that the people who were protesting came from diverse backgrounds and could make a dif- ference come lection day, Brigug- lio said "Muscat will score a vital political own-goal if keeps Mizzi and Schembri on board. He'll also score an ethical and moral own- goal because in other democracies, from Spain to Iceland, politicians and politically exposed persons involved in such scandals stepped down immediately." Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has so far ignored calls for Mizzi's and Schembri's resignations after the Panama Papers leak confirmed that both hold offshore companies in Panama. Instead, he decided to strip Mizzi of his energy and health portfolios but maintain him as a minister under his wing, tasked with major projects, including the completion of the LNG power station project. Muscat's decision, announced as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, has been dismissed as a "farce" by PN leader Simon Busuttil. Busuttil was among a number of opposition MPs and exponents present in Valletta and in com- ments to MaltaToday, the PN leader said he shared civil society's cause against corruption. "It's unprecedented to have peo- ple in Castille involved in such a corruption scandal and the case is not closed," he said, adding that the issue will be an albatross around Muscat's neck unless he dismisses Mizzi and Schembri. Alternattiva Demokratika chair- person Arnold Cassola said the Green Party wants a "just soci- ety in which everyone pays his fair share in taxes." "The government's unethical behaviour was sending a wrong message… the powers that be have failed to take action because it is politically inconvenient for them and today we are here to stand to be counted," AD spokesperson Mario Mallia added. Moviment Graffitti spokesper- son Erica Schembri said "although we have a different government, the political situation has not im- proved when it comes to corrup- tion and lack of transparency." Calling for stricter laws against tax evasion schemes and laws that prevent tax avoidance, she said common citizens have no op- tion but to pay all their taxes with harsh fines if they fail to do so "but the rich elite, which Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri form part of, get away with evading or avoid- ing taxes with barely a slap on the wrist." Marlene Farrugia: 'We demand a better government' INDEPENDENT MP Marlene Farrugia urged Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to clean up his act and deliver the better government he promised three years ago. "Apart from protesting against something, I am here because I want a better government, be- cause we toiled for a better gov- ernment and we promised the people a better government," the former Labour MP said. Last week, Parliament discussed the motion of no confidence against Konrad Mizzi filed by Far- rugia. Speaking during yesterday's protest organised by Civil Soci- ety Network, the outspoken MP said the Cabinet reshuffle only strengthened the perception of corruption. "The people are asking 'what is motivating our leaders when they are negotiating on our behalf?' The people have these doubts and I do not want to have such doubts. All government needs to do is clean up its act." She added that with Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri at the heart of it, the government can- not aspire to be a clean and trans- parent government. The now independent MP said that when the government an- nounces new investments, people ask whether the money will go into anyone's pockets. "If he (Prime Minister Joseph Muscat) does not clean up, the people's doubts will linger up to the next election and what could have been a government which brings the much needed changes to this country will simply im- plode," she said. In recent weeks, Farrugia has said she was in the process of creating a new party. One of the people who has shown interest in a new political party is TV pre- senter Salvu Mallia who during yesterday's protest said that the Labour Party has been "hijacked" by a group of capitalists who as- pire to join the 1% who control 90% of global wealth. He said he was disappointed that critics within the Labour camp did not show up for the protest, adding that "if the honest people stay mum, evil will reign." The Graffitti placard that says it all was the one that irked party faithful MIRIAM DALLI A placard by the Moviment Graf- fitti irked a number of Nationalist supporters who yesterday followed Opposition leader Simon Busuttil to a protest organised by the Civil Society Network. The pressure group carried plac- ards reading "PN PL – same shit, different government", a message which Nationalist supporters pre- sent said offended them. "Shit are those who call us shit… they are shit, not us… you are of- fending us Nationalists," one man could be heard shouting angrily. Pointing to the Moviment Graffit- ti activists, he went on to insist that "these are all Labourites… rubbish". Another woman argued that the message was plainly offensive to both Labour and Nationalist sup- porters. A second woman insisted that the event was not a political one and those attending were rep- resenting themselves "as individu- als". But as Moviment Graffitti tried to explain the political message behind their placard, a third man intervened accusing the activists of "pushing people away". "Remove it… that is silly. We are not shit," the pensioner shouted as PN MP Francis Zammit Dimech tried to move him away. Moviment Graffitti said it took part in the protest because it be- lieved that Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri should shoulder respon- sibility for "their unethical actions and decisions".

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