/Maltas tourism minister quits amid anti-corruption investigation

Maltas tourism minister quits amid anti-corruption investigation

Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Malta’s tourism minister Konrad Mizzi has resigned amid increasing speculation over an anti-corruption case that the country’s deputy prime minister has described as being ‘almost irreparable’ for the government.

He is one of two government officials to have stepped down. The other is chief of staff Keith Schembri.

A third, economy minister Chris Cardona, announced he would suspend himself. All three men have denied wrongdoing.

Mizzi announced his resignation on Tuesday afternoon after meeting with prime minister Joseph Muscat, as police investigating the allegations made a series of arrests.

He told reporters: “In light of the extraordinary circumstances and the general sentiment in the country, I personally feel that the right thing to do at this moment in time is for me to step down.” He added he had ‘not done anything wrong from a criminal point of view’.

The inquiry relates to allegations of corruption made by investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia four years ago, against members of the government, including Mizzi, who was energy minister at the time.

Her relevations triggered a snap general election in 2017. Five months later, she died after she was blown up as she left her home in October 2017.

Protesters demanded the resignation of the prime minister last week, after an arrest was made in connection with the journalist’s murder.

Malta’s handling of the case has drawn international criticism.

Mizzi, who has been tourism minister since June 2017, was in the UK earlier this month, when he revealed to a WTM London audience how Malta has managed to successfully reposition itself as a youth travel destination over the last few years.

Since partnering with MTV to host a week-long event, called I Love MTV Malta, holidays to the island amongst MTV viewers increased 70% over the last five years.

Under 25s now account for one-quarter of the island’s tourist arrivals and Malta has seen a 26% increase in the number of young people visiting the destination over the last 12 months.

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