Naxxar mayor spared the stick by PN: ‘Things could have been done better’

A dry statement by the Nationalist Party says the case involving the Naxxar mayor could have been handled better but stops short of saying what was wrong • PN says no proof presented on ‘fat cat’ claim

Naxxar Mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami
Naxxar Mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami

The Nationalist Party has concluded “things could have been done better” in the case involving Naxxar Mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami.

But in a one-sentence reference to the decision adopted by the party’s administrative council, the PN did not specify what was wrong despite an original request by PN leader Bernard Grech for the mayor to resign.

The decision was communicated to the media in a statement late on Thursday night, 48 hours after former deputy leader Robert Arrigo accused Grech of lying on television in June when he had said the report concerning the Naxxar mayor had not yet been concluded.

“As regards the Naxxar case, while the party heard what Naxxar Mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami had to say, it was concluded and agreed that things could have been done better to avoid doubts and similar situations should be avoided,” the PN statement read.

Muscat Fenech Adami had voted in favour of a high-rise development in Naxxar when the project was considered by the Planning Authority last year. However, MaltaToday subsequently revealed that she had a potential conflict of interest by way of her involvement in a company in which the project’s architect was a shareholder.

When the news broke, PN leader Bernard Grech had publicly called on Muscat Fenech Adami to resign. She refused and the party secretary-general referred the case to the disciplinary board.

When appearing on TVM News Plus’s Xtra at the start of June, Grech had said the case was not yet concluded, something contradicted by Arrigo in a Facebook missive earlier this week.

Grech has denied stopping the publication of any report, insisting it was on the administrative council’s agenda.

That discussion was held yesterday and it appears Muscat Fenech Adami was spared any disciplinary action despite Grech’s original request for her to resign.

No proof: PN exonerates Ray Bezzina over ‘fat cat’ claim

St Julian's Mayor Albert Buttigieg claimed a 'fat cat' had asked for his election bid to be scuppered
St Julian's Mayor Albert Buttigieg claimed a 'fat cat' had asked for his election bid to be scuppered

The same statement also made a brief reference to claims made by St Julian’s Mayor Albert Buttigieg that his electoral bid last March was scuppered by an unelected party official at the behest of a ‘fat cat’. Buttigieg made the claims in an opinion piece in the Times of Malta, quoting unnamed sources to back up his assertions.

Subsequently, Grech’s former aide, Ray Bezzina, asked the party to investigate the claims since he felt they were an indirect reference to him. Bezzina denied the claims.

The PN statement read: “It was established that no proof was presented against Ray Bezzina and any other official. At the same time, it was established that in any case when similar doubts crop up, these should immediately be brought to the attention of the party structures and no other forum.”