The Malta Independent 17 November 2018, Saturday

Delia says no vote was taken by PN administrative committee; challenges Caruana Galizia

Helena Grech Thursday, 31 August 2017, 14:22 Last update: about 2 years ago

Nationalist Party leadership contender Adrian Delia gave the lie to PN administrative committee president Karol Aquilina, saying that no vote was taken by the committee on the statement that was issued requesting him (Delia) to reconsider his position.

Karol Aquilina this morning said that the vote taken by the administrative committee was unanimous, but addressing the media this afternoon Delia said that he had information that no vote was actually taken.

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On Wednesday, the PN administrative committee said that in the wake of a report by the Ethics Committee the PN set up to investigate allegations about Delia, it was asking Delia to reconsider his position.

Delia rejected the suggestion, saying that the administrative committee had taken a different view from the Ethics Committee. “The Ethics Committee could have sanctioned me, suspended me or dismissed me, but it did nothing of the sort,” Delia said.

He said he will continue to defend the right of joiurnalists, including Daphne Caruana Galizia, whose allegations against Delia led to five libel suits against her, to speak up, but she should do so with the truth, not with lies.

He challenged Caruana Galizia to a meeting "to see who is right". He said he does not know if the Ethics committee summoned her for a meeting, but added he was sure that she would not have turned up. He invited Caruana Galizia to a meeting wherever she wants to see who is wrong and who is right.

Dellia called the press conference one day after the PN Administrative Council met yesterday to discuss a report by the PN’s ethics committee. The committee looked into all four candidates however particular attention has been given to Delia after the allegations surfaced by Caruana Galizia. She alleged that Delia has an offshore bank account in Jersey which received payment on behalf of his client for ‘rent’ of a property in London.

This property is said to have been used as a brothel, and the ‘rental’ income are said to be proceeds from prostitution. The property is owned by a company, behind which is Delia’s client. Delia was appointed Director of the company as part of his fiduciary services as a lawyer. Caruana Galizia later alleged that Economy Minister Chris Cardona was also director of the company, however Delia could not recall the involvement of Cardona, stressing that this took place 14 years earlier before his entry into politics.

Delia denies every having an offshore bank account. He claims that his client bought the London property, hired somebody to manage the property who in turn used it as a brothel. A London police operation Pabail to crackdown on prostitution raided the property in question, which led to Delia resigning as the Director of the company that owned the property.

’Not one party supporter has asked me to step down’

The Malta Independent questioned why Delia is refusing to back down from contesting the leadership, when he himself said that Malta must come before any party and that the PN’s ideal candidate would not have his integrity questioned.

Delia stressed that while a few well known figures have urged him to resign, he had been inundated with phone-calls, messages and other forms of communication by grassroots supporters urging him to stay on.

This newsroom further pressed him on the fact that the PN was disillusioned into thinking it had a chance during the last general election because of group-think and other isolating factors, and asked the contender whether he is guilty of the same mistake.

Delia said that he does not want to repeat the party’s mistakes, has widened his horizon in terms of the people he speaks with and the places he visits, adding that all have encouraged him to continue his campaign.

“They are not recognising their own party. I have had 70-year-olds coming to me, putting holy water on my head while asking me to fight on. I would not be here if I did not believe that I am fit for purpose,” he exclaimed.

Delia took umbrage at Caruana Galizia’s description of the men he surrounds himself with as ‘thugs’, stating that having tattoos does not make anyone a thug.

While responding to questions by the press, he insisted that he never had any personal funds abroad. He made reference to an MFSA license in his possession allowing him to conduct fiduciary services, which by its very nature translates into dealing with offshore accounts.

Turning to the document uploaded by Caruana Galizia purporting to show how Delia does indeed own an offshore bank account, he said this information was leaked to her by people who had previously been arraigned and convicted in the UK. He stressed that nobody had ever gone after Delia, he had never gone up to court over the matter and no charges have been brought against him.

Yesterday, reports emerged that an anonymous letter was passed along to the PN asking for Alex Perici Calascione, another leadership candidate, to be investigated over conflicts of interest. Delia said when this emerged he immediately called Perici Calascione to express solidarity with him.

PN response

In response, the President of the Administrative Council Karol Aquilina said that the vote was unanimous.

"In fact, after the report was read, a discussion occurred where every member on the administrative council had a chance to intervene more than once. After the discussion, a statement on the content of the discussion was prepared. The conclusions were read by the council members. The statement and the report were subject to a vote which passed unanimously."

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