Parliamentary speaker Anġlu Farrugia on Tuesday distanced himself from Joseph Muscat’s Labour Party, saying that he was “not in favour of the so-called movement” that he had created.
Dr Farrugia, who until late 2012 served as one of the Labour Party’s deputy leaders, was testifying in a public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“I never supported [current leader Joseph] Muscat. I was not familiar with his style" said Dr Farrugia, adding that, “When Muscat became leader, I was not his favourite. I was deputy leader, focused mostly on party affairs. I pushed to bring old Mintoffians back into the fold.”
Referring to an interview he had given to Times of Malta a couple of months after his resignation as deputy leader, when he had warned about big business being too close to Labour, Dr Farrugia explained that he was concerned upon seeing “certain people going into Labour headquarters - people I never saw before in the PL".
“I never retracted what I said and Muscat never asked me what I meant. I was very clear about what was bothering me: my resignation letter was not a one-liner.”
He claimed to have no access to the fourth floor of party headquarters, where the party allegedly met with big business owners ahead of the 2013 election.
Pressed by the three members of the board for more specific details, Dr Farrugia mentioned Sandro Chetcuti, MDA President, who had an office at the PL headquarters. The prime minister's former chief of staff Keith Schembri also had free access to the security-coded fourth floor.
Asked about other business moguls he may have spotted roaming the Labour headquarters, Dr Farrugia recalled an episode where late one evening, while going to the bathroom, he had met a person who told him he had a meeting there.
However, he said he did not recognise the man and had not asked any further questions about the person.
He said he had never seen Yorgen Fenech, the heir to the Tumas Group empire and the man accused of masterminding Ms Caruana Galizia’s October 2017 murder, at the party headquarters.
As for the Labour Party’s energy plans, Dr Farrugia said that he had nothing to do with the power station project, which he described as “the trump card” in Labour’s 2013 electoral campaign, and had even been kept in the dark about plans to cut down on electricity tariffs.
The Speaker also recalled how he had pushed forward a proposal for a “super magistrate” with wide investigative powers, at the time of Alfred Sant’s leadership.
Dr Sant had fully supported that proposal which, however, had never made it to Parliament since it apparently lacked the necessary two-thirds majority vote.
Pushed further for names and hard facts which could possibly help the Board to determine any possible link between the journalist’s assassination and prior events, Dr Farrugia insisted that he had no specific names.
When it was suggested that he might wish to reveal them behind closed doors, Dr Farrugia replied, “There’s no need. I have no names to give.”
Former police commissioner John Rizzo also testified in Tuesday’s hearing.