2008 photo: Guido de Marco (left) and Eddie Fenech Adami.
Richard Cachia Caruana suspected that former deputy prime minister Guido de Marco may have fomented resentment against him by the family of Brigadier Maurice Calleja, when the army chief was made to resign his post over his son's drug conviction.
In a new segment from the secret recording of the former permanent representative to the EU being broadcast by Labour party media, Cachia Caruana is heard inferring that former prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami's lack of forthrightness in demanding the brigadier's resignation, may have been the cause of the flak he took for the fall-out.
The undated recording appears to be a conversation in which Cachia Caruana discusses the circumstances that led to the attempt on his life in 1994 outside his Mdina residence by Joseph Fenech 'il-Hafi', Ian Farrugia, and Charles Attard 'iz-Zambi'.
In the recording, published today as the PN's executive committee is to hear accusations of "collusion" brought by Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando against Cachia Caruana, the latter is heard saying that Guido de Marco may have blamed him for the way Brigadier Calleja was made to resign in 1993.
"The fact that we wanted to save his [Calleja's] ego or whatever and try a roundabout way of getting the message through to Brigadier Calleja that he should go, led us in part to what happened... plus there was Guido of course," Cachia Caruana is heard saying.
"I have no doubt, whatever he says, even though I talk to him and I smile at him and we sort of get on - I have no doubt li hu lil Maurice Calleja qallu 'din mhux xi cucata ta' Richard Cachia Caruana' [this must be some ruse by Richard Cachia Caruana] - I have no doubt right because of the way things developed."
After the assassination attempt on Cachia Caruana, where one of his aggressors, Joseph Fenech, turned State evidence, Meinrad Calleja was indicted as having commissioned the hit. Police investigators in fact claimed that resentment at Calleja's resignation led to Meinrad ordering the hit on Cachia Caruana. Calleja, a convicted drug trafficker, was acquitted of the conspiracy charges in a trial by jury in 2004.
But as Cachia Caruana infers, Maurice Calleja's resignation was the subject of an internal tug-of-war between then prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami and Guido de Marco.
While De Marco had told Calleja he would not be made to resign, on the other hand Cachia Caruana fed the former Sunday Times columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia with the government's position that the brigadier would be made to resign - ostensibly the "roundabout manner" to which Cachia Caruana alludes to. An unsigned article on the Sunday Times on this matter in fact preceded what was Calleja's voluntary resignation by two days, after having delayed his resignation until after Republic Day - 13 December 1993 - on request of Fenech Adami.
Cachia Caruana is also heard saying in the recording that he had taken umbrage at the fact that De Marco's daughter, Gianella Caruana Curran, was Meinrad Calleja's defence lawyer in the charges brought against him:
"Let us not forget what I have been through, with Guido's children defending the person who tried to kill me... I think frankly at that stage I should have left the party and I should have left the government and I should have left everything okay."
Meinrad Calleja (left) with his father Brigadier Maurice Calleja.
Lawrence Gatt connection
On Monday, before the secret recording was aired on One News, Richard Cachia Caruana denied ever saying that he implicated Nationalist ministers in the 1994 attempt on his life. Cachia Caruana also said there were "no Nationalist ministers implicated in the attempt" on his life. "Nor did I ever think or say that there were. To suggest that I believed this and continued to work with them is shocking and betrays poor understanding of human nature."
Yesterday, One News broadcast part of the recording in which Cachia Caruana claims one of the circumstances leading up to his attempted murder was the resignation of former Nationalist minister Lawrence Gatt.
In the recording, whose date is unknown, Cachia Caruana is heard inferring that his 1994 assassination attempt would have never happened "if it wasn't for Lawrence Gatt and his escaped son" - a clear reference to the former agriculture minister who was made to resign after it was revealed his Mosta constituency office was the site of meetings between his son Etienne Gatt and other suspected drug traffickers, like double-murderer Charles 'Pips' Muscat.
"I am not paranoid and I try not to be paranoid but I've been blamed in a particular way that nobody in this party has been blamed, with people jiffissaw [being fixated] behind the problems of Eddie.
"Għax remember, when talking about Meinrad and the father and Lawrence Gatt - frankly, fucking hell okay because at the end of the day if it wasn't for Lawrence Gatt and his escaped son, right, nothing would have happened to me, because it was a combination of reasons."
On his part, Lawrence Gatt said that this allegation is a "heinous lie" and said that it was news to him as much as it was to anybody else. Gatt categorically denied any involvement in the Cachia Caruana stabbing. "I swear that I never had anything to do with the case."
The former PN minister added that he will be seeking legal advice over the matter.