[WATCH] Delia says PN must accept inquiry findings if it truly believes in the rule of law

The Nationalist party leader stressed that the PN needed to have higher standards than the government and that everyone needed to shoulder responsibility for their actions

Adrian Delia said the Nationalist Party needed to h ave  higher standards than the government
Adrian Delia said the Nationalist Party needed to h ave higher standards than the government

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia said on Monday night that the party needed to accept the result of the Egrant inquiry and move on.

Adrian Delia was speaking on Iswed fuq l-abjad on Net TV, where he stressed that magistrate Aaron Bugeja’s Egrant inquiry did not erase all of the government’s wrongdoing.

He said however, that on this particular case, now that there was the result of an inquiry, that result must be accepted.  

“It’s useless for us to talk about the rule of law, and democracy and our faith in the courts…now the courts have spoken.”

He stressed that the inquiry’s report was “voluminous” and that what had been published were the inquiry’s conclusions.  This, he said, meant that no new revelations could come out of the complete report.

“In the conclusion there is the last part which is missing at the Attorney General said that he did not want any future steps in other pending cases to be prejudiced,” Delia said, adding that he had written to the Attorney General this morning for him to be given access to the full report. 

Turning to why he had not waited to comment on the inquiry’s findings, Delia said that, first and foremost, the Opposition could not remain silent in the face of the government’s strong statement.

Moreover, he said the conclusions were so clear that silence was not an option. “They say that practically in the entirety of what had been investigated, there was nothing,” he said, stressing that the findings only applied to the Egrant investigation.

“I must remind people that there are other inquiries that are still pending,” Delia said.

He noted that it was a known fact that OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi had both opened offshore structures and that neither had been made to shoulder political responsibility.

“The Prime Minister has not shouldered political responsibility,” he said, insisting that the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was trying to use the inquiry to whitewash other cases of corruption.

Delia insisted that from the start of his political career he had always based himself on facts. “A hundred suspicions don’t make one bit of proof,” he said, quoting the magistrates conclusions.

“We can’t as a party, if we want to be credible when we fight corruption, put everything in the same basket.”

He said that where there is clear evidence of wrongdoing, such as with the hospital concession to Vitals Global Healthcare, the PN should speak up and act, as it had done.

“But how can we remain credible as a party if we say everything is bad, if we rest on what others say without checking whether it is true or not. If what others are saying, we make our own. That is not what a politician’s duty is. The journalist has the liberty to ask and state his opinion. Politicians have another duty: to look, consider, determine and see whether he can make a statement and make it their own.”

READ MORE: Adrian Delia in wait-and-see game over Simon Busuttil's PN future

He said the PN was at a crossroads and needed to decide what type of party it wanted to be.  

“We must build our credibility again and we must show we are doing things in a new way,” he said, adding that the PN could not insist there was wrongdoing if it could not be proven.

“We don’t know who Egrant belongs to and we will continue asking, but we can’t say that it belonged to a person it didn’t belong to.”  

To be a strong opposition, he said, the party needed to be consistent and needed to admit when it was wrong.

Nobody is bigger than the party

While not mentioning him directly by name, Delia touched upon the day’s tensions within the party over his requesting that former leader Simon Busuttil suspend himself form the PN's parliamentary group.

“In all occasions anyone who says something must take responsibility for it,” Delia said. “If we really believe in democracy, then we must act upon it and not just expect it from others.”

He said this meant that PN needed to shoulder responsibility but that so did the government.

“What will Joe Muscat do? Will he continue to be stubborn, despite the fact that I personally did what I could do to acknowledge responsibility? Not of some criminality or illegality but a lack of political judgement. On Labour’s side there is much worse and greater responsibilities Who will shoulder responsibility for them?”

The PN, he said, needed to show it had higher standards than the government.

On the a draft FIAU investigation report published today by David Casa, and which is the subject of an ongoing magisterial inquiry, Delia said that while he could not make the allegations his own, he could insist that the report be investigated.

“I am not saying it is true,” said Delia. “But the government can’t say there was nothing either.”

Delia said that while the latest developments might temporarily weaken the PN, it would also strengthen the  party going forward.