Concerns raised over police handling of alleged child abuse cases
PN accuses Muscat of ‘political frame-up’, Labour hits out at diversion
After PN clears Cachia Caruana of ‘collusion’ accusation, Borg Olivier turns tables onto Labour leader
18 July 2012, 12:00am
The Labour Party has hit back at the Nationalist Party's secretary-general Paul Borg Olivier, for blaming it as a diversion to hide its public infighting.
"GonziPN is tying to blame Labour for its own internal problems, confirming how cut off Lawrence Gonzi and his party are from the reality of families and businesses," the PL said in a statement.
"While GonziPN was stuck in its own internal battles last Thursday and yesterday, Joseph Muscat was attending meetings on Labour's proposals for disability trusts, and members of the Chamber of Commerce."
Paul Borg Olivier today turned the tables onto Labour leader Joseph Muscat after the PN yesterday exonerated its party strategist Richard Cachia Caruana of accusations of collusion by one of its own MPs.
Borg Olivier accused Muscat of having created a personal vendetta against Cachia Caruana and having authored a "political frame-up" against the former permanent representative.
"This has been all an act of manipulation by the Opposition," Borg Olivier said of claims by Labour MPs Karmenu Vella and Joe Mizzi they made in public statements against Cachia Caruana.
The two Labour MPs were called in as witnesses by MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando to substantiate his collusion accusations.
Although they did not testify in yesterday's PN executive meeting, Vella said that Cachia Caruana tried to dissociate himself from questionable decisions taken by the Air Malta board of directors when he served on it, even though he did not register his disagreement; Mizzi on the other hand has been sued for criminal slander by Cachia Caruana after implicating the former ambassador over a botched drugs raid, aboard a yacht carrying friends of his.
Borg Olivier also said the De Marco family will be preparing a statement on claims publicised by Labour media, which featured a recording of Richard Cachia Caruana speaking about his 1994 assassination attempt.
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, the recording revealed.
Paul Borg Olivier set much store in blaming Muscat as the author of what he called "political manipulation", when asked whether he felt comfortable with Pullicino Orlando in the party.
"It is evident that Joseph Muscat was the author of this political manipulation. He stands behind this frame-up, stemming from personal revenge," Borg Olivier said.
While insisting that the whole saga stemmed from the Opposition motion censuring Cachia Caruana, Borg Olivier accused Labour of "manipulating" the situation when Pullicino Orlando presented his case to the Nationalist Party.
The PN's secretary-general refused to implicate Pullicino Orlando's action with those of the PL, insisting that the backbencher had presented his issues to the party.
Asked directly whether Pullicino Orlando had "colluded" with the PL to force the resignation and seek expulsion of Cachia Caruana, Borg Olivier reiterated it was a case of "absolute manipulation" by the PL "seeking opportunities to harm the PN".
Borg Olivier refused to reply when asked by the Labour media whether the PN could accuse Labour of 'political frame-up', considering that former Labour prime minister Alfred Sant had been accused of the same thing during the Mistra saga.
The Prime Minister's chief of communications Gordon Pisani said that Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando had been economical with the truth on his involvement in the 2008 rental of his land in Mistra for an open-air disco, which he had initially denied.
Borg Olivier also refused to react to accusations raised by European Commissioner John Dalli against the executive of the party and Dalli's claims that PN and government officials were behind a series of anonymous blogs that attacked him.
During the 25-minute teleconference he gave as part of his testimony on an expulsion charge made against Cachia Caruana, Dalli accused the Nationalist Party's executive committee of having destroyed the party and alienating supporters.
Dalli, a former Nationalist minister in both the Eddie Fenech Adami and Gonzi cabinets, yesterday also revealed he had been the target of "renewed" attacks made against him, and that he would provide the Prime Minister with information on PN and government officials at the source of these alleged attacks.
"Since the executive committee is an internal forum, I limit myself to what has already been stated by the Prime Minister: John Dalli put forward a list of names which he will be passing on to the Prime Minister," Borg Olivier said.
He also rubbished suggestions that a show of hands, as apposed to a secret ballot, would force the MPs to vote against what they really wanted.
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