Updated with PL statement at 12.50pm.
The Nationalist Party on Tuesday demanded a police investigation into a draft deal that would have seen a company linked to the Labour Party receive €200,000 from murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.
At the time the deal was drafted, Fenech was the lead promoter of the Electrogas consortium, the winning bidder for the government-backed venture to build a new gas-fired power station.
Addressing a press conference, former PL mayor Charles Azzopardi slammed the government and Labour for not only failing to fight corruption, but facilitating it.
Azzopardi, who is now a PN candidate for the general election, said a government that acted in this manner could never get Malta off the FATF grey list.
“When you lose respect, you lose everything,” Azzopardi said of Malta’s reputation.
An organised system of criminality
Fellow PN candidate Mark Anthony Sammut said it was clear the corruption under Labour was not merely due to people like former government officials Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.
“This was an organised system of criminality. There was a whole bribery structure,” Sammut accused.
Sammut said this structure saw people in critical areas turn a blind eye, banks facilitating suspicious transactions and ultimately resulted in a situation where people were ready to kill.
Far from being an innocent party, Sammut said Labour also sought to get its “cut” from the power station project.
Plans for Schembri and Mizzi to receive up to €2 million from Fenech’s company 17 Black were outed by Times of Malta in 2018.
Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Fenech’s alleged complicity in journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.
He denies the charges.
What about the PN's Fenech donations?
Questioned if the party would also ask the police to investigate claims it too was a beneficiary of funding from Fenech, Sammut said a magisterial inquiry was already under way on the matter.
Former PN leader Adrian Delia has faced accusations of receiving funding from Fenech, via his right-hand man Pierre Portelli.
At the time, Portelli headed the PN’s media group. Sammut said the PN had not accepted any donations from Fenech after he was outed as 17 Black’s owner.
State financing pitch
Sammut said donations received by the PN have always been in line with party financing laws.
“The system is dependent on donations. This is not ideal in a democracy. Our position, as confirmed by the general council, supports state funding…ideally donations to political parties prohibited.
“Our position is clear, if the Labour Party is ready to go for this, we are ready”, Sammut said.
On the party’s tax arrears, Sammut said the PN recognised it should set an example for everyone to follow.
He said arrangement had been put in place to pay off the VAT arrears.
PN will soon have a lot to answer for, PL
In a statement reacting to the press conference, the Labour Party on Tuesday hinted that it had a story of its own up its sleeve.
It said the PN and Opposition leader Bernard Grech would soon have a lot to answer for.
It also accused the PN of trying to intimidate those that work for and with the PL and said it would not tolerate this.