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[WATCH] Delia affair to be discussed over two days by PN’s ethics committee

It will be Louis Galea and the PN’s ethics committee to discuss the allegations concerning Adrian Delia before issuing “recommendations” to the PN’s administrative council

miriam paul_cocks
Miriam Dalli / Paul Cocks
28 August 2017, 9:21am
Last updated on 28 August 2017, 9:35pm
Adrian Delia outside PN headquarters Monday evening
Adrian Delia outside PN headquarters Monday evening

A defiant Adrian Delia emerged from the Nationalist Party’s Pietà headquarters surrounded by supporters, saying he would continue his campaign for leader in the face of allegations surrounding an offshore client account he held.

Delia was at the PN headquarters as the party’s administrative council started a discussion on his candidature following a request made by the PN’s Marsaskala local councillor Charlot Cassar.

“I will continue my campaign because it is in the best interest of the party to have someone fight for the right for decisions to be made from within, and not by third parties with their own interests,” Delia said in an obvious reference to the allegations made by Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia in her blog.

Delia, who was speaking to reporters after appearing on Net TV, questioned the party’s decision to convene a meeting of the administrative council to decide a course of action in view of claims made against him.

At 9:30pm, the PN’s administrative council declared that the allegations were of a “serious nature” in the context of the election for a PN leader, and said it would refer the matter to the party’s own consultative committee on ethics.

Louis Galea
Louis Galea
The same meeting also elected former PN minister and party grandee Louis Galea as chairman of the committee, while Dr Joseph Cassar – formerly an administrative council president – Prof. Maryanne Lauri and Franz Wirth were elected members of the committee. Karol Aquilina, the president of the PN’s administrative council, is an ex ufficio member of the committee.

The committee has two days to make its recommendations to the administrative council after carrying out its own hearings. Delia is expected to be invited to comment.

Delia said he was not sure the decision to convene the council was even in line with the party’s statute, considering the fact that a number of councillors had already cast their vote last week

Delia arrived at the party’s headquarters despite having said that he would not be present for the meeting. Outgoing leader Simon Busuttil was also in attendance at the council meeting, arriving at 6:15pm without releasing any comments. He left the building later and gave no comment.

Before the meeting, MP Hermann Schiavone, who is supporting Delia’s bid, told reporters the meeting should never have been called since the election was already underway, with some 128 votes out of 980 already cast in an early round of voting.

Earlier today, the president of the administrative council, Karol Aquilina, told MaltaToday that it was “highly unlikely” that the council would decide to cancel or postpone the party’s leadership election when it meets tonight.

Aquilina said that the council would be discussing how the party should act in view of allegations raised against Delia, by Caruana Galizia.

Delia has denied having ever benefitted personally from monies which passed through his Jersey account in the form of rent on a Greek Street, London property, to its owner. Delia filed three libel suits against Caruana Galizia, who said the property was used for a prostitution racket.

Aquilina made it clear the council was not meeting to decide what to do with Delia, but rather, how to handle the claims. “If the council were to discuss Delia or anyone else, the person would need to be present for the meeting, as stipulated in the party statute,” he said, confirming that Delia would – in fact – not be present for tonight’s meeting.

Aquilina said that it was “highly unlikely” that the council would decide to postpone or cancel the election, especially since the electoral process had been decided upon by the general council, as well the council and the party’s executive.

“Granted that this is politics and everything is possible in politics, but that scenario is highly unlikely in any case,” he said.

Aquilina would not comment on claims made by Jean Pierre Debono, the party’s deputy secretary-general and secretary of the same Administrative Council, who said that he had only learned about tonight’s meeting through the media. Debono is known to be a support of Delia’s bid for leader.

As secretary of the council, it is actually Debono’s duty to inform other members as to when the council would meet.

The council is meeting at 7pm.

miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...
paul_cocks
Paul Cocks joined MaltaToday after having spent years working in newspapers with The Times...