PN secretary general Paul Borg Olivier yesterday accused Labour leader Joseph Muscat of lying about the Mistra case, insisting that it was Dr Muscat himself who had inadvertently alerted the PN about Labour’s intentions to launch a full-scale attack on Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando in the final days of the 2008 electoral campaign.
Dr Borg Olivier’s claim was originally made in an interview by former PN secretary general Joe Saliba in June 2008. According to the PN secretary general, it is only now that the PL leader is denying this claim.
On the other hand, in recent days the Labour leader alleged that it was a PN official who had alerted the PL about the Mistra case. According to Dr Muscat, the intention behind this move was to put the blame on Dr Pullicino Orlando in case the PN lost the general election.
During a press conference held yesterday afternoon at the PN headquarters in Pietà, two short clips of Dr Muscat were broadcast, dating back to a political debate held on Monday 25 February, 2008. At the time, the Mistra case had not been revealed yet, even though the general election was less than two weeks away.
During this debate hosted by the Broadcasting Authority, Dr Muscat had remarked that in the following days the PL was going to present evidence of corruption and stated that he would then expect the Prime Minister to take concrete action, and not limit himself to ask the police commissioner to investigate. However, the content of these clips alone seems rather vague to back the argument that Dr Muscat was the source who had triggered the alarm bells at the PN’s headquarters about the Mistra case. Asked about this point, Dr Borg Olivier explained that the Labour leader had subsequently revealed further details to a PN official during a private conversation. However, the PN secretary general did not want to disclose the identity of this person, stating that it was up to Dr Muscat to prove his innocence.
Regarding Dr Muscat’s claims that the case had been leaked by a PN official, Dr Borg Olivier said that this has been contradicted by former Labour leader Alfred Sant and former PL secretary general Jason Micallef. He backed his argument saying that in an interview published last Sunday in Labour’s newspaper Kullћadd, Dr Sant stated that the PL had been alerted to the case by a whistleblower. Dr Borg Olivier said that a similar explanation had been given by the former Labour secretary general in an interview in June 2008. The PN secretary general added that following last Sunday’s interview with Dr Sant, Mr Micallef took the opportunity to congratulate Dr Sant for stating the facts on his Facebook account.
PL says Borg Olivier’s claims are ridiculous
In a statement, the PL said Dr Borg Olivier’s claims were a ridiculous attempt from somebody who is getting mixed up in his own lies. The PL stated that only somebody like Dr Borg Olivier can come up with a claim suggesting that Dr Muscat had leaked the information about the Mistra case on the national television station, a week-and-a-half before the general election.
The PL remarked that it would be better for the PN secretary general to launch an investigation to establish those in the inner circles of the Prime Minister prior to the 2008 election, reiterating its claim that the leak originated from there. According to the PL, the fact that its media was not invited for the press conference suggests that Dr Borg Olivier was not comfortable to answer certain questions. The PL stated that if the PN secretary general is so eager to know about leaks, he can refer to the information which was being disclosed during the last meeting of the party’s executive committee. It added that Dr Borg Olivier should also ask a number of current and former MPs who were targeted by vicious attacks following leaks from PN insiders.