Updated 1.35pm - Added PD statement

The Labour Party asked today whether the Nationalist Party had declared in terms of the Party Financing Law that its senior officials' pay was covered by a private company.

Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis and Labour Party CEO Gino Cauchi said revelations by the db group yesterday that it covered the salaries of the PN’s general secretary and CEO undermined Simon Busuttil’s claims of good governance.

The db Group said yesterday that Dr Busuttil was fully aware of the PN’s requests for the company to finance the salaries of the PN secretary general and CEO. He was also aware that the PN had accepted the funds.

READ: 'If this is dirty money, take it back'

Mr Cauchi said the PN leader claimed the PN was in no one’s pocket while knowing full well that two PN officials were being paid by a private company.

He wondered how Dr Busuttil could have argued about his deputy, Mario de Marco, having a conflict of interest in view of his legal work for the db group, when the party officials were themselves paid through the private company.

Were there other deals for private companies to cover PN salaries?

Dr Zammit Lewis said that this was a textbook case of political hypocrisy.

“Simon Busuttil wrote the book on political hypocrisy. He said he was in no one’s pocket, yet yesterday he did not tell people the whole story when he had the chance during an appearance on Net TV,” Dr Zammit Lewis said.

Asked about the PL's failure to register as a party in terms of the Party Financing Act, the Labour officials said that if asked by the Electoral Commission, they could produce a list of party donors within hours.

The Sunday Times of Malta reported yesterday that the PL failed to submit the list of financial donations it received last year, as required by the party financing law. 

Simon Busuttil wrote the book on political hypocrisy.- Edward Zammit Lewis

The law is intended to regulate donations and make political parties more accountable and transparent. The maximum donation that could be received from the same source was capped at €25,000 per year, with the Electoral Commission assuming the role of regulator.

Mr Cauchi said changes to the PL’s statute would take place next month in order to allow it to register as a political party with the Electoral Commission. 

The party officials said no private company was paying the salary of Labour employees.

'People's hope in the PN has been thrashed' 

 In a statement, the Partit Demokratiku said that the revelations had "thrashed" the "little hope Maltese and Gozitan families had in the ongoing renewal of the Nationalist Party...just as cruelly as the great trust they had put in the Labour Movement four short years ago."

The party said that the two major parties' attempts to undermine each other "while simultaneously scratching each others' backs" had disgusted everyone. 

It urged people to channel its disgust towards the creation of a "New National People's Force" that would contest the next general election, and called on the President and Auditor General to ensure that "our country's National Assets and Heritage is not plundered and pillaged further by the current government and its collaborators." 

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