Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Malta's tourism minister resigns amid police investigation

Malta's tourism minister Konrad Mizzi has resigned as investigations deepen into the death of an anti-corruption journalist who had made allegations about some members of the government. 

He is one of two government officials to have stepped down on the same day. 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.

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  journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia four years ago against members of the government, including Mizzi, who was energy minister at the time.

Her revelations triggered a snap general election in 2017. Five months later, in October 2017, she died in a car explosion as she left her home.

Malta's handling of the case has drawn international criticism and protesters have demanded the resignation of the prime minister.

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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