Once again Nexia BT, the firm of the prime minister’s accountant at the heart of the Panama scandal, will not be answering questions of a second European Parliament motion to Malta.
Brian Tonna is citing professional secrecy. Let us be clear. Technically he is correct. An accountant is not even allowed by law to confirm or deny whether someone is their client, let alone answer questions to anyone outside a courtroom about what their client did wrong.
But let us also be clear. There is someone with the power to let Nexia BT answer any questions about them: its clients.
Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri are revealed by the Panama Papers to have, through Nexia BT, set up secret accounts in Panama. If they feel they have done nothing wrong, as they have argued to date, they should this minute free Nexia BT of any secrecy obligations and instruct them to answer any questions about the activities Nexia BT conducted on their behalf. It should, one expects, confirm that nothing illegal has occurred.
There is one other client of Nexia BT who has been outed by Brian Tonna as being the owner of a company the Panama Papers show Nexia BT set up in Panama: Brian Tonna himself. He claims Egrant was his. Whether we believe him or not is beside the point here.
From his point of view surely he was saying the truth. And he most definitely can authorise himself to speak about his own affairs. There is no obligation to keep your own affairs secret.
So between them Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri and Brian Tonna can tonight instruct Brian Tonna (excuse the illogical replication of names there … try to think of Edward de Bono’s coloured hats without getting confused) to visit the Europarliamentarians tomorrow and freely answer all their questions.
They didn’t need me to know this. They know this. But they have something to hide. The professional secrecy excuse is a sham. Once again the perpetrators hide behind the law that is supposed to be used to protect us law-abiding citizens from those who would use the power we entrust to them to rob us.