A "serious story" about Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi will soon emerge and expose him as a hypocrite, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Wednesday as he slammed the Opposition MP. 

Abela said Azzopardi had made claims in parliament about government bullying and intimidation to try and deflect attention from a "serious problem" that he would soon face. 

Azzopardi told parliament on Tuesday that a "top level" inland revenue official was arrested without reason in 2013 in order to pressure him to resign. He alleged that principal permanent secretary Mario Cutajar had used his influence to intimidate the official. 

Cutajar has denied the allegations, while Azzopardi has challenged him to sue him. 

Abela takes on questions. Video: Julian Delia

The prime minister was asked on Wednesday whether he expected Cutajar to resign, should Azzopardi's allegations prove to be true. 

Abela replied by saying Azzopardi's claims were a smokescreen. 

“Jason Azzopardi knows that very soon, he will be facing a serious problem. 

“He knows that there is a serious story that is about to emerge about him, and what he did yesterday was a contemptible attempt with which he was trying to deviate attention away from himself,” Abela said. 

“In the next few hours, Malta and Gozo will continue to learn about how Jason Azzopardi is the biggest hypocrite the country has ever seen,” Abela added.

The prime minister did not provide any further details. 

What happened in 2013?

According to Azzopardi, a former inland revenue official had resigned under pressure from Cutajar in 2013. 

Speaking in parliament, Azzopardi said Cutajar had forced the official to choose between resigning or facing criminal prosecution.

When the official refused to resign, he was allegedly arrested and interrogated by police, on the orders of then-police commissioner Peter Paul Zammit. 

Azzopardi said the official was detained on trumped-up charges and offered money by the Office of the Prime Minister if he resigned quietly.

The PN MP said the man was released from police custody after Angelo Gafá, at the time a police inspector and now commissioner, intervened. The official eventually caved in to pressure and resigned. 

Azzopardi called for Cutajar to resign over the matter and accused Abela of being “nothing but a continuation of Joseph Muscat.”

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