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Update 2 | Pullicino Orlando presents witnesses for Cachia Caruana expulsion case

Witnesses are Karmenu Vella and Joe Mizzi, John Dalli, Commissioner of Police John Rizzo, and PM's head of communications Gordon Pisani.

Matthew Vella
11 July 2012, 12:00am
Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has presented his witness list to the PN executive.
Adds Karmenu Vella's statement at 7:46pm
Adds comments by Marthese Portelli at 8:02pm

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has presented his witnesses in the accusations of "collusion" he has made against Richard Cachia Caruana in a bid to seek the Nationalist Party's very own chief strategist.

The witnesses are Labour MPs Karmenu Vella and Joe Mizzi, formerly also Labour ministers; former Nationalist minister now EU Commissioner for health John Dalli; the Prime Minister's head of communications Gordon Pisani, and Commissioner of Police John Rizzo.

Pullicino Orlando has demanded that the PN expels the former permanent representative to the EU and erstwhile right-hand man to party grandee Eddie Fenech Adami - Richard Cachia Caruana - on claims that he "colluded" with members of the Labour administration of 1996-1998.

In his letter to PN executive committee president Marthese Portelli, Pullicino Orlando is accusing Cachia Caruana of having colluded with high-ranking members of the Labour administration led by Alfred Sant between 1996 and 1998 "in an attempt at furthering his personal interests whilst putting his colleagues in the Nationalist administration led by Dr Eddie Fenech Adami between 1987 and 1996 in a bad light."

Although Pullicino Orlando claimed that he has sent the list of witnesses to Portelli, president of the Nationalist Party Executive Committee has told MaltaToday that she has not yet received the letter.

Marthese Portelli said "I have been constantly checking my email throughout the day and I still have not received the list of witnesses from Dr Pullicino Orlando."

She added that she has been checkeing the email address through which she normally communicates with Pullicino Orlando.

"I have also checked whether Dr Pullicino Orlando sent a formal letter to the party headquarters but I have not received anything there neither," Portelli said.

In the letter Pullicino Orlando also accused Cachia Caruana of colluding with high ranking officials representing foreign states "in a clear attempt at bypassing the Nationalist Party parliamentary group and the Maltese parliament" and "fommenting the unrest which has led to the difficulties faced by Lawrence Gonzi, both within our party and in parliament."

In his letter to Portelli, the MP said that although he was informed this morning that he had to present his witness list today Wednesday following a meeting held at the PN headquarters on Tuesday meeting.

"It is only fair that the list be sent immediately to Mr Cachia Caruana, as agreed.  Mr Cachia Caruana will obviously be forwarding it to his 'portavoce', Mrs Daphne Caruana Galizia, so I thought it only fair to forward a copy of this letter to real journalists as well," Pullicino Orlando said, referring to the Malta Independent columnist and blogger whom he accuses of carrying out the former ambassador's bidding in the form of poison-pen blogs against PN critics and dissidents.

"I will demonstrate that Mr Cachia Caruana has other contacts in the Labour Party during my presentation to the executive committee. It is somewhat surprising that Mr  Cachia Caruana was careless enough to reveal this fact during an interview he gave to the Sunday Times on 24 June. In this interview he mentions his 'Labour Party contacts'," Pullicino Orlando wrote in his letter to Portelli, which was distributed to the press.

"He admits that these 'Labour Party contacts' are providing him with confidential information. I am sure his 'Labour Party contacts' would not do so without expecting something in return. His reference to these 'Labour Party contacts' is, in itself, an admission of collusion with high-ranking members of the Labour Party."

Pullicino Orlando also said this was an attempt at misleading readers of the Sunday Times. "No one was expecting me to vote the way I did on the 18 June, including Mr Cachia Caruana," the MP, who voted in favour of an Opposition motion that ousted Cachia Caruana as permanent representative to the EU, said.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Karmenu Vella later revealed in a statement to the press that in 1996, when he was Tourism Minister of the Alfred Sant administration, Richard Cachia Caruana, then a director of Air Malta, approached him to express his disagreement with the airline's decision to purchase the RJ70 aircraft and to establish Azzurra Air.

In a statement issued this evening Vella explained that in 1996 Cachia Caruana informed him of the decisions taken by the board of directors at Air Malta in regards to the purchase of a fleet of RJs and for the setting up of the subsidiary company Azzurra Air.

"He called to inform me that he, as a director, opposed the decisions of the board of directors. When I asked him, he admitted that he had not registered his disagreement."

Vella also noted that he met Pullicino Orlando at a social event a few days ago and discussed the meeting he had with Cachia Caruana.

"It became immediately apparent that Richard Cachia Caruana not only disagreed with the  decisions, but appeared to be trying to distance himself from them and shifting the responsibility to the other board members."

Vella added that when he saw that Cachia Caruana was trying to shrug off collective responsibility and shift the blame on his colleagues, "I felt I did not need to continue that conversation. I thanked him, and it ended there."

The MP said that he would declare all this in a sworn statement.

Tensions flared in a meeting held by the Nationalist Party's executive committee on Tuesday night, as Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando refused to have Labour MPs testify in person before the PN's executive and parliamentary group, on accusations he has levelled against Richard Cachia Caruana.

In an aide memoire drafted by the PN's executive, headed by Marthese Portelli, the party called Pullicino Orlando's bluff by challenging the backbencher to present his witnesses - amongst them Labour MPs - against Richard Cachia Caruana so that they can testify 'viva voce' and not by affidavit, as the MP himself had originally suggested.

This request was the focus of a tense meeting yesterday evening, after the executive informed Pullicino Orlando that Cachia Caruana had asked that the date for the internal hearing be postponed. On the other hand, Pullicino Orlando stood his ground in demanding that his witnesses should not be paraded before the government MPs to testify physically on his accusation of collusion.

In a meeting that PN sources said soon turned into a slanging match, deputy prime minister Tonio Borg was later seen exiting the meeting room in protest.

The PN's request to have Pullicino Orlando's witnesses physically present at the PN headquarters to testify before government MPs on the accusations against Cachia Caruana is understood to present a potential setback for Pullicino Orlando, as the witnesses are believed to include high-ranking Labour officials who may reconsider testifying in person before the rival party's executive council.

Matthew Vella is editor of MaltaToday.com.mt.

After graduating in a...

gIOVANN DeMartino
Dawk argumenti eh! Bravu Petruccio u bravu Better future. Kemm haw min hu stupidu!
Aristide Galea
Warrbu min-nofs ghax reġa' qam id-dinosawru . Yes , Fact are stranger then fiction , but Chickens are more chickens then others . If you take a good look at what is happening at the General Counsil , you might have a good example .
GRACE PAVIA
Well Mr Demartino, you have confirmed that your mindset is still stuck in the past. Hence your quoting of the old saying. The new one expresses the PN situation perfectly!
gIOVANN DeMartino
Safejn naf jien Facts are stranger than fiction. Ma tghid xejn Progress fuq l-integration li MINTOFF ried ma' l-Italja?
gIOVANN DeMartino
Guido l-VAVU BEZZIEGH din it-televovela ae tixxandar fuq l-istazzjon li anqas isem EFA ma kien isemma', li daqqilna Run Rabbit Run, li bellaghna l-arma tar-regim fuq l-iskrin u li sellmilna b'bongu Malta socjalista taf meta? Meta int tkun ragel u tammetti li meta semmejt tabib, te u pastizzi u flus fil-kunsill INT MA KONTX TAF FUQ MIN KONT QED TITKELLEM. Kun ragel u ammetti.
Jes Abela
@ Progress. Nispera li qied ticcajta meta qed tghid li din il gazzetta hija newtrali...LOL. Din il gazzetta hija partiggjana iktar mill Maltastar and Maltarightnow f'daqqa. Possibli ma taqrax kull artiklu ta din il gazzetta. Nisfidak biex tara jekk ma jirnexxilekx tara xi artiklu favur xi haga tajba ta dan il gvern. Possibli kollox hazin ghal Malta today? jew ahjar S Balzan? Ghar rigward JPO jien haga wahda nghid li dan id deputat ghamel 5 snin shah jiccaccra ma esponenti tal lejber fosthom JM innifsu u il mara tieghu u issa irid jixli lil had diehor li prova jithabbeb mal lejber biex jaghmel hsara lil PN. Min qied jaghmel il hsara lil PN Sur JPO.
gIOVANN DeMartino
Nataghlu xewqtu lill-VAVU BEZZIEGH. Din it-Telenovela se tibda meta int ma tibqax VAVU BEZZIEGH u tghid lill-qarrejja x'ridt tfisser bit-tabib, te u pastizzi u flus fil-kunsill u se tixxandar fuq dak l-istazzjon li anqas kuragg isemmi l-isem ta' EFA ma kellu. VAVU!
GRACE PAVIA
Progress, the only independent English language local paper is Malta Today. The others are more eloquent and/or refined (or sometimes deviously subtle)versions of their affiliated political party publications. Too bad really, for this exposes the immaturity still prevalent within the Maltese voting body. Hopefully, the younger generation, (not necessarily the tertiary educated section who seem to have acquired bad habits faster than their elders), would vote with open minds.
Tony Fenech
Ta l-iskantament naqra fuq gazzetta partikulari li xxaqleb lejn il-partit nazzjonalista, bl-ingliz, attakk sfrenat kontra JPO u Karmenu Vella. Min hu bis-sens jaqra kull naha, jiddeciedi hu lil min jemmen, s'issa Malta Today qeda tiggarantili newtraliti, mhemmx kantunieri, tghid kontra min hu vera ghamel xi buzullotta ghax hekk hi gazzetta tikxef kollox hi xinhi jigri, media, imma li turi naha wahda tal karta u mhemmx naha l-ohra biex jispjega jew jikkumbatti l-argument jew konfronti, ma nahsibx li qeda tinzel mal popolin tajjeb. Issa nahseb wasal iz-zmien li din il-gazzetta ta bl-ingliz li saret totalment biased, li semmejt l-ewwel li tkun veritiera u ma tkunx parzjali, qeda titlef hafna nies li jaqraw ahbarijiet imparzjali
Basil Borg
Jidher car li is-super ambaxxatur li kellna, ma tantx jidher li kien 'diplomatiku' fl-agir tieghu; dan it-tahwid kollu...u fil-berah! Supost li ambaxxatur ifezfez 'sotto voce' u mhux f'nofs ta pjazza! Jidher car ukoll li hafna ufficjali li kienu izejnu i-tripied ta l-oligarkija ta GonziPN huma biss ' quaquaraqua' ( Ara il-Mafja u Leonardo Sciascia) fil-waqt li ohajn, bhas-sahhara tal-bidnija; isofu minn 'compulsive disorders politici kbar'; nahseb anqas pillola daqs ta ziemel ma se tghina biex forsi torqod u taghlaq ghajn ma ghajn; miskina! Nispera li imorru ghall-elezzjoni malajr biex innadfu il-baggage ta 25 sena ta tahwid li halla biss dejn, deficit wara l-iehor, u grupp zghir ta biljunarji! Our country and the PN deserves better!
GRACE PAVIA
As the saying goes, "Truth is dirtier than fiction"!
guido cutajar
Jista xi hadd min dawk li is soltu idahhquna bil paprati li jiktbu,jghejduli x`hin ser tibda din it TeleNovela ? u fuq liema stazzjon ser tixandar ? Grazzi bil quddiem.
Charlie Azzopardi
Iz-zejt dejjem jitla f'wicc l-ilma!
Neville Grima
Please Gonz, don't call the election now! We're having so much fun watching this charade.... What a humiliation!
Basil Borg
Intrigue, self interest, evil bloggers, all this reads like the new soap opera on Fox TV ' Bad Men .'Religio et Patria' political party? More likely its about pounds euros and cents! When money and power talks nationalists listen? .....it seems no more!
Christian Thorn
Now enter Gonzipn - JUDGE, JURY AND PROSECUTION! Maybe it's the right time to change the PN emblem with a Miki - Maws Logo!
fufa
Sewwa qal JPO li l-ittra ghandu jibghata lil gurnalisti ta' veru. Alla hares li l-gurnalisti Maltin iqisu lil Daphne bhala sehbithom fil-gurnalizmu, ghax veru nkunu messejna l-qiegh. Fuq l-artikli velenuzi li tharbex, lanqas bicca gurnalista ma jixirqilha, jien aktar nghid bicca tal-art.
Patrick Calleja
A moment of truth for the NP. Let's hope they do the right thing and exorcise the Party of this beast that has been at the heart of the terrible web of deceit all these years, using Mossad like tactics to get where he was until 18 June. Don't lose this opportunity for the good of the country.