Confusion reigns as rebel MP begins to ‘flesh out’ his claims
Dr Pullicino Orlando accused of acting in bad faith by PN executive president
The convoluted war being waged by Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando against long-standing PN strategist Richard Cachia Caruana continued to unfold yesterday with allegations flying from all corners.
A flurry of e-mails ended with Mr Cachia Caruana suing One News and the president of the PN executive accusing Dr Pullicino Orlando of acting in bad faith.
It has also become increasingly unclear how Tuesday’s PN executive meeting, which is meant to discuss Dr Pullicino Orlando’s accusations, will unfold.
Dr Pullicino Orlando started the day by adding some flesh to his allegation that Mr Cachia Caruana “colluded” with Labour to further his personal interests.
In an e-mail to PN executive president Marthese Portelli, he paraphrased the allegations made by Labour MP Joe Mizzi in a short interview to One TV on Friday.
Quoting Mr Mizzi, Dr Pullicino Orlando said Mr Cachia Caruana used a high-ranking member of the 1996-1998 Labour government to exert pressure on Mr Mizzi to supply him with security officials due to the attempt on his life in 1994. Dr Pullicino Orlando attributed the stabbing to “personal vendetta unrelated to his official position”.
Mr Mizzi, who was the minister in Alfred Sant’s government responsible for the police, also said Mr Cachia Caruana had put pressure on him to replace the head of the security service and interfered in the course of justice.
Mr Cachia Caruana responded to Mr Mizzi’s claims by asking the police to begin criminal libel proceedings against him and the editor of One TV for making such “unfounded, untrue and libellous” allegations.
Dr Pullicino Orlando had planned to send more e-mails throughout the day explaining what the testimonies of his other four witnesses would include. However, he decided not to when Dr Portelli accused him of acting in bad faith.
Responding to his e-mail, Dr Portelli told Dr Pullicino Orlando he did not abide by the 10 a.m. deadline by which he had to flesh out all his allegations so Mr Cachia Caruana could prepare his defence ahead of Tuesday’s meeting. “It is evident that you did not act in good faith when you failed to follow the approved motion and instead chose to repeat only the speculation of third parties in the media,” she told Dr Pullicino Orlando, adding that she had referred the matter to the administrative council to determine how to proceed.
Dr Pullicino Orlando reacted by saying he “failed” to understand what she wanted of him but would continue to substantiate his claims at Tuesday’s meeting where he expected the witnesses to testify.
At this point even Nationalist MP Franco Debono felt the need to have his say, telling timesofmalta.com that if Mr Cachia Caruana had the right to the principles of natural justice, so did he.
He accused Dr Portelli of discrimination because he was not given the chance to offer a defence before the PN condemned him.
Meanwhile, the PN executive decided to cross him off the list of election candidates in spite of his pending contestation of the same executive’s condemnation in his regard.
Dr Debono went as far as to say that such discrimination was against the law and he reserved the right to initiate proceedings because the situation had become “horrific”.
Meanwhile, Mr Mizzi – who Dr Pullicino Orlando listed among five witnesses to corroborate his allegations against Mr Cachia Caruana – sent a statement to the press to say his comment to One News was made in response to the questions by the press regarding what Dr Pullicino Orlando “could” have been referring to when he listed him as a witness.