It was a short-lived absence from Cabinet for Chris Said, who yesterday took his oath of office for the second time this legislature.
Dr Said, who resigned as parliamentary secretary six weeks ago after being accused of perjury, was re-appointed to the same post after the Magistrates’ Court cleared him last week.
At the end of the short ceremony at the Palace in Valletta, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi turned to Dr Said and urged him to get going because there was “a lot of work to do”.
Accompanied by his family and his mother, the parliamentary secretary said he was looking forward to carrying on with the programme he had embarked upon before resigning on September 23.
He has been given his former responsibilities for public dialogue, local government and consumer affairs.
“I am satisfied the incident is finally over. My family shared in my pain over these past few weeks and, today, they are here to share in this joyous moment as well,” he said.
Dr Said had stepped down after an appeals court ordered the police to institute court proceedings against him for alleged perjury in a child custody case, in which Dr Said was legal counsel for one of the parties. He had been summoned to testify in the case and, subsequently, the child’s father accused Dr Said of lying under oath.
Dr Said, who has always maintained his innocence, said he was forced to resign given the gravity of the charge and to be able to defend himself. A Gozo court last week acquitted him of all charges and the time limit for the filing of an appeal expired on Wednesday afternoon.