[WATCH] Delia refuses to withdraw from race after PN asks him to reconsider position

Nationalist Party will not suspend election but urges beleaguered Adrian Delia to reconsider his candidacy¨• Defiant Delia says he will not withdraw from race

Adrian Delia is one of four contenders for the leadership race (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Adrian Delia is one of four contenders for the leadership race (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Delia refuses to withdraw from leadership race • Video by James Bianchi/MediaToday

The Administrative Council of the Nationalist Party has tonight called on Adrian Delia, one of four candidates in the party's leadership election, to reconsider his candidacy, after the Ethics Committee concluded that he had failed to clearly explain the existence of a Jersey bank account in his name, its use and the legality of funds transferred through the same account.

But a defiant Delia has already insisted he will not be withdrawing from the race to replace Simon Busuttil.

When the allegations first surfaced last wek, Delia, who is contesting the election with Chris Said, Alex Perici Calascioone and Frank Portelli, had explained that the Barclays International account was a client account, one he opened in his name on behalf of a client of his.

The allegations pointed to funds received in the account as having been generated through the earnings of prostitution in Soho, London. Delia vehemently denied the claims.

The PN's administrative council, in a statement tonight, noted that its Ethics Committee - convened on Monday to discuss the claims against Delia - had concluded that the candidate had failed to provide a clear explanation to justify the account and the provenance of the funds.

It said that any doubt or suspicion - of whatever nature - about the integrity of a person aspiring to lead the party could compromise that person in his duty as leader as well as the party itself.

The Ethics Committee noted that the party leader should not have doubts about his integrity andhonesty hanging above his head.

Its report explains that Delia, having secured his client's authorisation, presented a number of documents related to the cases around which the allegations against him were made.

"While appreciating the limitations, including professional confidentiality that Dr Delia has a lawyer, this Committee believes there are some aspects that have not yet been verified, and that Dr Delia failed to explain, with regards to the Barclays International Jersey Bank account in his name, the reason for this account and the origin of these funds," the report reads.

The committee said it had also verified that - as revealed by MaltaToday on Tuesday - on 1 July, 2003, English police raided a property in Soho owned by Healey Properties, in which Adrian Delia was a director together with Chris Cardona, today economy minister in the Labour government. The property was leased to third parties.

"The raid discovered that the property was being used by third parties for prostitution," the report states. "Dr Delia and Dr Chris Cardona resigned their directorship of this company in December of the same year."

The committee said it had also considered Delia's role in a company that owned and developed the site where the Imgarr Hotel stood in Gozo, as well as the debts, assets and the contract for the constitution of debt, through which he assumed responsibility as personally garantour with others, signed on 26 July 2017.

"In this case, the Committee feels that Delia failed to willingly and immediately notify the Secretary General of the Party, as obliged to do in his declaration of 17 July, about this," the report concludes.

The administrative council said that although it could have recommended that the election be postpond or cancelled, that would have been extremely difficult, considering the general council would have had to be convened to vote.

The committee noted that the council has already been called to vote on Saturday, with some members having already voted last week.

The committee found nothing to report on the other candidates.

In comments to the media as he was leaving the party's headquarters, Busuttil said he had nothing to add to the statement issued by the Administrative Council, but did say that if he were Delia, he would reconsider his position.