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Update 2 | Labour claims former PN minister implicated in Cachia Caruana assassination

Labour organ claims evidence alleges Cachia Caruana had ‘no doubt’ of ministers’ involvement in attempt on his life - Cachia Caruana denies.

Matthew Vella
16 July 2012, 12:00am
Richard Cachia Caruana has denied new allegations of having implicated PN ministers in his assassination attempt.
Adds comments by Lawrence Gatt at 5:16pm

The Labour Party's e-newspaper maltastar.com has released a part-transcript of "evidence" which reportedly implicates two Nationalist ministers in the assassination attempt on Richard Cachia Caruana in 1994.

In an updated news report issued at 1:47pm, maltastar.com produced the transcript of what is alleged to be a statement from Cachia Caruana who says the attempt on his life would not have happened had it not been for former minister Lawrence Gatt and his son Etienne.

According to the quote reported, Cachia Caruana is reported by maltastar.com saying: "Ghax remember, when talking about Meinrad and the father and Lawrence Gatt - frankly, fucking hell okay, at the end of the day if it wasn't for Lawrence Gatt and his escaped son, right, nothing would have happened to me..."

Contacted by MaltaToday, 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 involvemnt 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.

The reference to Gatt harks back to the former agriculture minister's resignation in 1994 when it transpired that his Mosta constituency office was being used as a meeting place for a drug trafficking ring, involving his son Etienne.

Etienne Gatt later absconded in 1995 after refusing to testify in court in connection with the investigations into the Richard Cachia Caruana attempted murder.

The then-Commissioner of Police George Grech had testified that both Etienne Gatt and Meinrad Calleja, who was accused of commissioning the assassiniation attempt, had discussed their father's resignations, "agreeing that Cachia Caruana had been the driving force behind their resignations."

The revelations on Gatt's constituency office had featured in the Ciro del Negro diary, the Italian entrepreneur's account of meetings held between Gatt, Calleja and other notorious figures such as double-murderer Charles 'Pips' Muscat.

Richard Cachia Caruana has denied ever saying that he implicated Nationalist ministers in the 1994 attempt on his life, as accusations levied against him by Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando have resurrected renewed speculation on the assassination attempt 18 years ago.

The political melee taking place inside the Nationalist Party, where Pullicino Orlando is demanding the expulsion of Cachia Caruana on grounds of "collusion" with Labour ministers, is expected to escalate tomorrow when the MP will outline his accusations to the PN executive committee.

But speculation on the commissioning of the 1994 attempt on Cachia Caruana's life, when he served former prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami as personal assistant, was rekindled of a report by Labour e-newspaper www.maltastar.com that it has 'seen the evidence' that confirm that Cachia Caruana had "no doubt" that two Nationalist ministers were implicated in the attempt on his life on 18 December, 1994.

"Anybody who followed the trial of three individuals for attempting to kill me in 1994 will know exactly who I - but more pertinently, the police - believe was involved in that attempt," Cachia Caruana told MaltaToday in a reaction.

"Any attempt to suggest otherwise now, 18 years later, is unsavoury, ill-advised and completely out of order. But it is entirely in line with the Labour Party's largely successful attempts back then to sabotage the trial of two of those individuals by undermining the credibility of main witnesses. They would have done the same with the third individual had he not confessed and admitted his guilt.

"The Labour Party's strategy then was undemocratic and contrary to the rule of law. It continues to show that it has not changed in this respect, and that it will use any means to gain its narrow, partisan end, even if this results in people getting away with murder."

Cachia Caruana also said there were "no Nationalist ministers implicated in the attempt" on his life. "No 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."

On Tuesday, the PN executive will be hearing Pullicino Orlando accuse Cachia Caruana of "collusion" with Labour ministers from the Alfred Sant administration.

While Pullicino Orlando has provided the names of five witnesses to testify in the PN's internal hearing of his accusations, the allegations have been specifically reinforced by statements made by Labour MPs and former ministers Karmenu Vella and Joe Mizzi.

Vella has signed an affidavit saying that Cachia Caruana wanted to disassociate himself from decisions taken by the Air Malta board of directors when he served on it; Mizzi on the other hand claims Cachia Caruana pressured him to remove the head of the Security Services, while implicating him in a botched drugs raid on a yacht where Cachia Caruana's friends were having a party. Cachia Caruana has sued Mizzi for criminal slander.

The other three witnesses are EU Commissioner John Dalli, a former foreign minister and rival for the PN leadership, the prime minister's head of communications Gordon Pisani - who has denied Pullicino Orlando's accusations - and Commissioner of Police John Rizzo.

1994 assassination attempt

The attempt on Cachia Caruana's life has been the source of great political controversy. Police investigators accused Meinrad Calleja, a convicted drug trafficker, for having commissioned the 1994 hit in retribution for the resignation of his father, Brigadier Maurice Calleja, from the AFM a year earlier over his drug conviction.

Calleja was accused of contracting a former Nationalist party henchman, Joseph Fenech 'il-Hafi', to carry out the murder. Fenech, who turned State evidence, was granted a Presidential pardon to testify against Calleja, in the process revealing that he was accompanied to Mdina with two other accomplices, Charles Attard 'iz-Zambi' and Ian Farrugia.

Attard admitted to the charges and was sentenced to imprisonment, but later recanted although he remains convicted. Farrugia, whose palm-print was found on the car that was in Mdina in the night, was acquitted. Calleja was later found not guilty of commissioning the attempt in a trail by jury.

Fenech was however identified by eyewitness Nicholas Jensen, in the trial of Ian Farrugia, as having been on the site of attempted murder.

Matthew Vella is editor of MaltaToday.com.mt.

After graduating in a...
john mercieca
Censura Viljakka hawn ghaw.Il-Kitba tijej kwazi ma ggibu x-xejn u l-hnizrijiet tas Sur Demartino jidru kollha alla jbierk.Ghalfejn pls????????.Din sew?
Aristide Galea
Sur Demartino , ma taħsibx li jkun aħjar li tistenna x'ser jirrizulat minn dan it-taħwid kollu qabel tikkummenta , li ma jmurx ikollok tibla dak kollu li tkun għidt .
S Scerri
Dr. Gonzi, jien u l- familja tieghi ivvutajna l - pn fl- elezzjoni li ghaddiet u jien ilni nivvota l - pn mil 81. Dan RCC min kif jitkellem hu ta ghajb ghal partit u issa b dawn il provi ghandu l - ezekuttiv jnehhoeh mil - partit. Ghalekk bravu u b' dik il- paga kollha ghax jitkellem hazin bil fuck , prosit ehh x partit dan, ara kieku ghadu haj Gwido u Censu ! Ara Ugo x jitkaza !! Dawn min kien fil PN fi zmienhom dejjem kienu kontra s - sahha zejda li kellhu RCC u f' din Eddie li dejjem qaghad fuqhom qatt ma semahhom. Issa hareg x' ragel hu. Ugo jaf xi haga fuq RCC ghax kien hadem kontrih biex warrbu min ministru u mar president ! Sur Demartino b' nies bhalek qatt mhu ser nirrangawh Partit. Imissek tisthi tiddefendi dawn it- tip ta nies bhal RCC , li hu stricklandjan u dejjem kien mal partit biex jakkwista. Il partit nazzjonalista dejjem sofra min nies ta strickland. Il Gross veru jaf xi haga ghax stennewh wara hajt biex ituh xeba, u imnalla kien jiflah aktar minnhom u spicca taghhom xeba bastun. Garuana Galizia l- istess hsara biss ghax strickland
S Scerri
Dr. Gonzi, jien u l- familja tieghi ivvutajna l - pn fl- elezzjoni li ghaddiet u jien ilni nivvota l - pn mil 81. Dan RCC min kif jitkellem hu ta ghajb ghal partit u issa b dawn il provi ghandu l - ezekuttiv jnehhoeh mil - partit. Ghalekk bravu u b' dik il- paga kollha ghax jitkellem hazin bil fuck , prosit ehh x partit dan, ara kieku ghadu haj Gwido u Censu ! Ara Ugo x jitkaza !! Dawn min kien fil PN fi zmienhom dejjem kienu kontra s - sahha zejda li kellhu RCC u f' din Eddie li dejjem qaghad fuqhom qatt ma semahhom. Issa hareg x' ragel hu. Ugo jaf xi haga fuq RCC ghax kien hadem kontrih biex warrbu min ministru u mar president ! Sur Demartino b' nies bhalek qatt mhu ser nirrangawh Partit. Imissek tisthi tiddefendi dawn it- tip ta nies bhal RCC , li hu stricklandjan u dejjem kien mal partit biex jakkwista. Il partit nazzjonalista dejjem sofra min nies ta strickland. Il Gross veru jaf xi haga ghax stennewh wara hajt biex ituh xeba, u imnalla kien jiflah aktar minnhom u spicca taghhom xeba bastun. Garuana Galizia l- istess hsara biss ghax strickland
gIOVANN DeMartino
U l-ex ministru MIzzi, HU BHALA MINISTRU, x'passi kien ha f'dak il-kaz. Kien halla kollox ghaddej lixx bhalma thalla ghaddej lixx il-qtil ta' Karen Grech? Nixtieq naf.
O K
It is shameful that labour's political agenda has reached this abyss, loosing any humanitarian respect at least towards RCC as a human being. This person has passed through the ordeal of an attempted murder and now 18 years later, labour is putting salt on the wound by inventing lies for political motives. And it is very disappointing that your paper is carrying such news with triumphant air beyond any level of journalistic decency either to please labour supporters who form part of the majority of your readership or perhaps to settle some unknown dues. Whatever the personal defects of RCC, this person does not merit in any way all this vindinctive campaign against him based on outright lies and misinformation.
vc
With these new revelations and unsavoury characters hanging by the Stamperija, it would not surprise anyone if the sources of parcel bombs and bombs put behind residential doors during the 70's and 80' will become known.
fufa
Alla hares jibdew jinkixfu l-intricci u l-hdim tal-bizzilla tal-PN ghax inkella jkollna nibnu xi zewg impjanti ohra tad-drenagg.
Basil Borg
This looks more and more like an other episode of Fox's 'Bad Men'; up to now only the mistress is missing; who knows.....we might get to know her evil ways from a nw light?
GRACE PAVIA
It gets better by the minute. As the fresh saying goes, truth is dirtier than fiction (Demartino kindly, you need not comment.) So it is clear, there are no rules when it comes to retaining power, whether you swallow holy communion every day or not. The more pious they present themselves to be the dirtier internally they are. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Victor Bonello
with what we hear to day goes on behind the scene few things would surprise me. Infact this attempt was never solved if I understand correctly. And who would trust a Nationalist henchman if not someone that knew him?
George Sciberras
"the allegations have been specifically reinforced by statements made by Labour MPs and former ministers Karmenu Vella and Joe Mizzi". Reinforced? If anything their statements prove that there was no collusion.
m borg
".......successful attempts back then to sabotage the trial of two of those individuals by undermining the credibility of main witnesses". Is RCC refering to the evidence given by the one who "Ghandu kwalitajiet tajbin u ohraj inqas tajbin" as EFA described this untouchable (in more than one sense.) Whatever you say RCC your credibility is taking a nose dive.
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