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Freemason aides to Mario De Marco suspended from PN

PN deputy leader Mario de Marco says he was unaware of the participation of two close political aides in a masonic lodge, and urged them to disassociate themselves immediately.

Jurgen Balzan
26 October 2015, 7:36am
Friends: Olvin Galea and Jonathan Pace with Mario de Marco (centre) - the MP has urged them to cut their links
Friends: Olvin Galea and Jonathan Pace with Mario de Marco (centre) - the MP has urged them to cut their links
Two PN members have been suspended over their freemasonry links, after they were found in breach of the party’s code of ethics.

But PN deputy leader Mario de Marco has told MaltaToday he was unaware of the participation of two close political aides in a masonic lodge, and urged them to disassociate themselves immediately.

Last week, MaltaToday revealed that former magistrate Carol Peralta, who retired from the bench in August 2015, had appeared in a list of Maltese freemasons summoned to a meeting in France. The list included businessmen Olvin Galea and Jonathan Pace, who are De Marco’s long-time campaigners.

In comments to MaltaToday, De Marco said he has known Galea and Pace for many years, but that he was “never aware or made aware of their alleged participation in any Masonic lodge or similar association prior to the article that appeared in the MaltaToday last Sunday.”

Galea and Pace, both from Hamrun, spearheaded De Marco’s leadership campaign in the wake of the PN’s 2013 defeat. The two men were pictured with De Marco and other PN political exponents, including new leader Simon Busuttil on numerous occasions.

On one occasion, Galea and Pace were pictured together with Busuttil and former Telemalta Corporation CEO Tony De Bono, who was also pictured with Galea in masonic lodge events.

“I strongly disapprove of any such participation even if related to their personal or private lives,” De Marco said, adding: “I urge them to immediately disassociate themselves from any such lodge and desist from any further participation.”

In comments to MaltaToday on Sunday, Galea and Pace said that they had never been been employed by De Marco or any political party.

"Like all private citizens, We have the right of association as safeguarded by the Constitution. That said, we can confirm that today, we are not  members of any society," the two businessmen said.

Mario de Marco ‘unaware of political aides’ masonic links

The Nationalist Party is the only Maltese party whose code of ethics specifically forbids Nationalist Party officials, MPs, local councillors, party candidates, members of Executive Committees of PN movements, sectional committees and party committees, from being freemasons.

Both Galea and Pace are actively involved in the PN’s Hamrun sectional committee, and the former had a vote in the PN general council which elected the PN deputy leader in December 2012.

A spokesperson for the Nationalist Party told MaltaToday that membership of the PN and a secret society were “incompatible”.

“The moment the membership of Mr Galea and Mr Pace in the Malta Grand Lodge became publicly known, they automatically stopped being members of the party. The matter is being referred to the Administrative Council of the party for its consideration,” a spokesperson.

In 2002, former PN secretary-general Joe Saliba had told MaltaToday that Clause 13 of the Code of Ethics which deals with secret societies states that ‘secret societies are by their very nature a denial of democracy’ and that “membership in the Nationalist Party is incompatible with membership in all secret societies, whether it is freemasonry or otherwise.”

Galea and Pace in France with retired magistrate   

In an email to members of the Grand Lodge of Malta – a breakaway lodge from the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Malta – the ‘Most Worshipful Grand Master’ Benjamin Muscat, the owner of the Ta’ Marija restaurant in Mosta, included Peralta among a group of freemasons travelling to Paris for a meeting between the Maltese freemasons and the Grand Orient of France.

Peralta is listed as Grand Registrar – namely the Grand Lodge’s principal legal officer – and a role that is generally held by a qualified lawyer or judge.

The email’s sender, Grand Secretary Tony Cilia Pisani, sent out the message on 13 October. “I am pleased to inform you that the MWGM Benjamin Muscat will be accompanied to Paris for the signing of the Masonic Treaty between the Grand Orient de France and the Grand Lodge of Malta with the following Brethren:

“The Right Worshipful deputy grand master Brother Mario Vella Gatt, the Right Worshipful grand registrar Brother Carol Peralta, Brother Frank Galea, Brother Olvin Galea, [and] Brother Jonathan Pace,” the email continued.

Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...