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Latest revelations on PN donations ‘confirm invoices are fake, illegal’ – Labour

The Labour Party insists the Nationalist Party issued fake invoices ‘in a wrong and deceitful manner’

Yannick Pace
20 March 2017, 3:48pm
Backbencher Clifton Grima and Justice Minister Owen Bonnici
Backbencher Clifton Grima and Justice Minister Owen Bonnici
The Labour Party has argued that the latest revelations surrounding the PN donations saga confirm that the invoices issued by Media.Link to a subsidiary of db Group owned by Silvio Debono are “fake and illegal”.

“These were only issued to cover up deceit,” Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said, in a press conference called by the Labour Party.

The Nationalist Party has not denied that the db Group subsidiary it invoiced for €70,800 for “programming” on its media – in return for an alleged donation to pay off party executives’ salaries – is Sky Gourmet Malta, a company which exclusively provides catering services to airlines and does not provide any services to the general public.

Read more: PN donations hailed from ‘publicity shy’ catering firm

Flanked by backbencher Clifton Grima, Bonnici claimed that it was now obvious that the PN was in breach of the law.

"It is evident, even from the operations of the company in question, that the invoices are fake and illegal and were issued deceitfully and in bad faith to cover up the breach of party financing laws," Bonnici argued.

The minister also accused Busuttil of being “fake”: “On one hand he attacks the government for blacking out commercially-sensitive clauses in contracts that are published, whilst he is refusing to publish simple invoices.”

Bonnici recalled how Busuttil had insisted that donations to party companies should be included in the law: “We agreed and included it… only for him to break it at the first opportunity.”

Grima reiterated that the buck stops with Busuttil, claiming that the “scandal” had seen people known to be close to him distancing themselves from the PN leader.

He also said that PN deputy leader Mario De Marco, treasurer Alex Perici Calascione and former secretary general Chris Said, had all either said that the payments were effectively donations or had admitted to not knowing about them altogether.

"[Busuttil] is a leader who aspires to be a prime minister when he himself was asking businesses to pay the salaries of party officials," Grima said.

 

Labour Party the only party to have broken financing laws - PN

In a reaction the PN said the Labour Party was the only party to have broken party financing laws so far and that Bonnici was trying to intentionally distract from this fact.

It reiterated that the commercial relationship between Media.Link Communications and companies “Silvio Debono is involved with” was for a programming sponsorship.

“The only thing that is fake is Muscat who on the one hand preaches about poverty, while spending €11,000 in Dubai on a hotel alone,” the PN said.

DealToday