PN insists government ‘suppressing truth’ in Gozo drugs case

The Nationalist opposition dubs Gozo drugs inquiry ‘scandalous’ and pledges to investigate the case if elected

PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami flanked by MP Marthese Portelli and candidate Simone Aquilina (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami flanked by MP Marthese Portelli and candidate Simone Aquilina (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

The Nationalist Party has described the inquiry into alleged political interference in a Gozo drug trafficking case as “scandalous”, arguing that Malta was now in a grave state of affairs.

The conclusions of the inquiry led by former Labour candidate John Vassallo were published late Saturday afternoon, and concluded that there had been no political interference.

Fenech Adami recounted how in 2013, a drug trafficking case in which people were found to be trafficking drugs were allowed to change their statements, with one ultimately not being accused with drug trafficking, following the intervention of government politicians.

"Given the way in which Joseph Muscat reacted to the scandal it was clear that his interest, the government's and the interest of those involved, was for the truth not to emerge," Fenech Adami said, adding that the inquiry was clearly a cover-up.

“Rather than making an effort for the truth to come out, the government is actively trying to hide it.”

He accused the Prime Minister of using double standards, which he said was clear by the appointment of a lawyer who was also a former Labour Party candidate.

"One simply doesn’t appoint a former candidate to investigate two politicians of the same party," Fenech Adami said, pointing out that the government had in other cases appointed three former judges to lead an inquiry.

“The difference in approach is scandalous and has resulted in the publication of a report that very clearly shows that there was no attempt to find the truth. It is clear that whoever carried it out did not feel the need to investigate in a proper and responsible manner.”

Fenech Adami said the inquiry had failed to interview key witnesses.

"The story said that ministry was opened in the middle of the night for the meeting to take place. The staff at the ministry should therefore have been interviewed to determine whether it is normal for the ministry to open at that time and whether the meeting took place," he said.

He added that the ministers’ drivers should have also given a sworn testimony regarding whether their minister was in fact in Gozo.

“The story identified, with names, the people caught and conveniently they were not spoken to.”

He reminded that not even the parent of one of the accused was spoken to.

He said that because the issue at stake is drug trafficking, a Nationalist Party in government would see to investigate the case properly.

In a reaction, the Labour Party drew comparisons between the CapitalOne investigation – conducted by three retired judges – and the Gozo drugs one. It said that the inquiry referred to the CapitalOne case as “a hot potato” whilst the Gozo inquiry had concluded that no statements were changed.

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