The Gaffarena family has taken control over a number of institutions, including the Office of the Prime Minister, Michael Falzon’s secretariat, the Government Property Division (Lands Department) and the Police Force, PN Deputy Leader Beppe Fenech Adami said today.
Addressing a press conference in front of the Police HQ, Dr Fenech Adami said the Gaffarena family had seized control of these institutions in the two and a half years Labour has been in government. “The permit for Gaffarena’s illegal petrol station was issued soon after Labour was elected to power. The recent NAO report has also revealed how the family had a hold on the Lands Department, which falls under the Prime Minister’s direct responsibility. Then there is the Police Force. The police should have started investigating Gaffarena nine months ago yet all they have done so far is to seal the GPD offices, making the workers there feel like they were all being regarded as criminals.”
Dr Fenech Adami said the cozy relationship Gaffarena enjoyed with former police commissioner Ray Zammit and his sons was further proof of the family’s hold over the force. When the whole scandal surfaced, the Economic Crimes Unit was controlled by Mr Zammit's sons.
“The police would have launched an investigation months ago if the force was not under Gaffarena’s control. They (the police) should have not only conducted a search at GPD offices but also at Castille and the web of corruption there. The OPM is, after all, where the entire expropriation plan was hatched.”
This was not simply a case of a lack of good governance, Dr Fenech Adami said. “It has now been confirmed that Gaffarena was in collusion with people in the GPD. This is a criminal act and the police should take action. They should also direct their investigations towards the OPM, Michael Falzon and all others involved.”
Asked if the PN had confidence in Police Commissioner Michael Cassar, Dr Fenech Adami said the appeal remained for police officers not to allow political interference. The fact that the police still has not taken action against Gaffarena was undermining public trust in the force and the commissioner.
PN candidate Justin Schembri said Joseph Muscat had promised good governance and the best cabinet in history. “In reality, this has turned out to be the most corrupt cabinet in the country’s history.” Mr Schembri said families were “disgusted” by this. PN Leader Simon Busuttil, he said, was offering the country hope, and the PN was the people’s shield against corruption.
Fenech Adami best person to speak about relationships with Gaffarena - PL
In reaction, the PL said the Opposition Leader and his spokespersons were repeating things and resorting to negative politics. It insisted that the political responsibility had been shouldered in the Gaffarena case. This was contrary to what used to happen under successive PN governments, when no one would resign, despite report after report being published.
“It is also ironic how today’s press conference was addressed by Beppe Fenech Adami, who was Gaffarena’s lawyer, and whose wife was Gaffarena’s notary.” The PL said Dr Fenech Adami had attended several dinners with Gaffarena. “Beppe Fenech Adami is surely the best person to speak about relationships with Gaffarena.”
Pictures: Jonathan Borg