The Malta Independent 22 September 2017, Friday

'Busuttil totally responsible for controversial db Group transactions' - Owen Bonnici; PN reacts

Julian Bonnici Monday, 20 March 2017, 14:38 Last update: about 7 months ago

Leader of the Opposition Simon Busuttil is "totally responsible" for the controversial financial transactions between the Nationalist Party and the db Group, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici and PL MP Clifton Grima told a press conference.

The Minister and MP also repeated the allegations that the commercial invoices issued to dB group were used to pay the salaries of PN Secretary General Rosette Thake and CEO Brian St John.

This, the minister said, meant that the Nationalist Party were in breach of the party financing legislation.

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He argued that it was clear that the invoices were not of a commercial nature since Sky Gourmet, the company which Malta Today alleged was the source of the transaction, would not require advertising services from medialink since it supplied food for airplanes such as AirMalta


The story, Minister Bonnici said, showed the four main principles as to why Dr Busuttil is “false”.

The first, Minister Bonnici said, was the hypocrisy of Dr Busuttil who has  refused to publish the invoices of said transaction when he heavily criticised and ripped up the contract for the transfer of land of the ITS site in St.Julian's between the government and dB group for not being transparent

He then said that when the party financing law was debated in Parliament, Dr Busuttil pressed the government to ensure that the legislation ensured that there were no ways to maneuver around the regulations, when he was doing the exact same thing.

The Minister also said that Dr Busuttil also insisted that the government made a clear "black on white" distinction on what are donations and that they were used for party operations only, when the allegations have revealed he acted otherwise.

Finally, Minister Bonnici claimed that the scandal showed that Dr Busuttil did not really believe in the good governance, transparency, and honesty as the Nationalist Party preached.

 

Labour MP Clifton Grima earlier told the press conference that "the scandal literally begins and ends with the Leader of the Opposition".

This was clear, he claimed, as a number of high ranking PN officials had begun "cleaning their hands" from the allegations.

"Simon Busuttil said he did not know the funds were paying salaries, the PN Treasurer Alex Perici Calascione said that he knew nothing about, PN MP and former Secretary General Chris Said said he knew nothing, and Deputy Leader Mario de Marco said he knew nothing about it"

Grima went on to say that Dr de Marco had never said that the funds were commercial in nature but rather he said that they were donations.

Reacting, the PN said Owen Bonnici was trying to mislead, in an attempt at neutralizing the news that the PL was the only political party that breached the party financing law.

It insisted that the relationship that existed between Media.link Communications and the companies linked to Silvio Debono had was only related to TV programming. It said the only one who was being a fake was Joseph Muscat, who preached about poverty then blew €11,000 on a Dubai holiday. 

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