JPO: EFA voted against party line and his own leader in 1974
MP warns he will leave the PN if this evening's meeting is 'a farce'
Updated - Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said today that he was surprised that in last Thursday's meeting of the PN Executive, Eddie Fenech Adami did not speak against matters being escalated. In 1974, he recalled, when Parliament voted on the Republic Constitution, Dr Fenech Adami voted with Dom Mintoff and against the party line and that of his leader Dr George Borg Olivier. He did so, Dr Pullicino Orlando said, against the directives of his party.
That was far more serious than his own vote in parliament on the motion for the resignation of Mr Cachia Caruana.
Speaking in a One TV interview of some 100 minutes, Dr Pullicino Orlando said he had no regret in voting against Mr Cachia Caruana because every civil servant had to respect Parliament in everything he did.
MPs, Dr Pullicino Orlando said, served in Parliament as representatives of the people and not their party.
The PN Executive will this evening consider Dr Pullicino Orlando's call for the PN to expel Mr Cachia Caruana for allegedly having colluded with the PL between 1996-98.
Dr Pullicino Orlando reiterated his view that Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi prejudiced his case against Mr Cachia Caruana when he said on Sunday that he saw the ingredients of a frame-up.
The Executive's meeting last Thursday, he said, should certainly not have escalated matters until it heard evidence he intends to presents today.
'CARELESS' NOTIFICATION PROCESS
Dr Pullicino Orlando criticised the PN for having been 'careless' in the late notification of witnesses he had called for tonight's meeting, noting that as a result, it appeared that European Commissioner John Dalli would not attend. He had submitted the list of witnesses on Wednesday and PN Executive president Marthese Portelli waited for six days before formally notifying them. This was, at best, carelessness, Dr Pullicino Orlando said, and it was useless trying to blame him. He hoped if was not something worse, in the same way as this case had been prejudiced, as this would be a blot on the history of the PN.
"I am not comfortable that matters are being done as they are supposed to," Dr Pullicino Orlando said. "I hope this will not be a fait accompli."
Dr Pullicino Orlando recalled that the Opposition had also called Mr Dalli to give evidence (in the House Foreign Affairs Committee) in its claims that Mr Cachia Caruana worked in the interests of foreign countries, something which he too was alleging against Mr Dalli. He suspected that today's meeting was moved to Tuesday to make it difficult for Mr Dalli to attend, in the same way as he could not attend the meeting in Parliament. Mr Dalli had told him he would do his best to attend. Mr Dalli appeared to share his view that obstructions were being made to prevent him from attending.
Mr Dalli said it was worth recalling that Mr Dalli had himself been the victim of a frame-up leading to his resignation, but at the time no one made the fuss now being raised with regard to Mr Cachia Caruana.
Dr Pullicino Orlando said he was shocked by more revelations against Mr Cachia Caruana made by the Labour media over the past days, particularly his implications on who may have been behind the attempt on his life. He said that it was those who did not bow to Mr Cachia Caruana, such as Guido de Marco, John Dalli and himself, who had been subjected to certain situation because they were not subservient to him. But, Dr Pullicino Orlando said, he had always regarded Dr Gonzi as the party leader and head of government, not Mr Cachia Caruana.
Dr Pullicino Orlando said he was not impressed by Mr Cachia Caruana's denial of the various claims made against him.
Regarding the claims made by Labour MP Karmenu Vella regarding Air Malta, Dr Pullicino Orlando said Mr Cachia Caruana was a participant in bringing Air Malta to its knees and he could not understand the spin which praised Mr Cachia Caruana after the EU agreed on the Air Malta rescue package, paid for by the Maltese people.
Dr Pullicino Orlando said he could have presented other former Labour ministers who were approached by Mr Cachia Caruana after 1996 but could not do so without their permission.
ASST COMMISSIONER'S WORDS 'MANIPULATED'
With regard to Joe Mizzi's allegations, particularly with regard to a cocaine party on a yacht, Dr Pullicino Orlando questioned how Mr Cachia Caruana waited 48 hours to launch court proceedings. He said that the comments made by then Inspector (now Assistant Commissioner) Manuel Cassar had been 'manipulated' and misinterpreted.
What Mr Cassar had said did not deny what Mr Mizzi said, but only that he went where he was asked to go. And it was Commissioner (Mr Grech) who sent him). Furthermore, one could recall the weight which a court gave to Mr Grech's testimony in the past during the hearings on the Cachia Caruana stabbing case.
The court found that the attacks against Mr Cachia Caruana had a personal motivation and one therefore had to ask how much his protection had cost the taxpayers since.
He had no doubt, Dr Pullicino Orlando said, that Mr Mizzi could substantiate his allegations, which had also been made before.
JPO WARNS HE WOULD LEAVE THE PN IF HE SEES 'A FARCE'
Asked what he expected this evening, Dr Pullicino Orlando again raised his concerns that the case was prejudiced as he had been accused of not acting in good faith and preparing a frame-up. All manner of obstructions were being put up against him, he said. He would not tolerate a situation, this evening, where everything was stage-managed. His adversary was being given an advantage, but he would still go in for the race.
If matters were not handled correctly within the party this evening, if he witnessed a farce, he would seriously reconsider his position within the party, Dr Pullicino Orlando said.
This evening he would present an irrefutable case, backed by sworn statements, to show that Mr Cachia Caruana's influence was such that he should be dismissed from the party. He still had to see how Mr Cachia Caruana would defend himself. If Mr Cachia Caruana managed to convince him otherwise, it was all well and good.
He knew, and he had evidence, that some members of the executive agreed with him, although they had not spoken up, Dr Pullicino Orlando said.
The Nationalist MP defended his decision to go to PN headquarters on Thursday accompanied by security guards, saying that the presence of certain people outside the door justified his decision. However he had since spoken to party officials and he expected the situation this evening to be different.
Dr Pullicino Orlando expressed his regret that the PN media had carried pictures of his partner attending a Labour Party activity. He said his partner had every right to be a Labourite and the prime minister had known this from the outset. He said that after he decided not to seek re-election, his partner asked him whether it was a problem for her to attend a PL activity. He said he had not objected and only told her not to hide herself, so that no one would accuse them of hiding. After her pictures were carried on NET and In-Nazzjon, he had spoken to Dr Gonzi, who expressed his regret, Dr Pullicino Orlando said.
In the interview Dr Pullicino Orlando hit out at Richard Cachia Caruana for the way he treated other people, including respected civil servants, and said that an audio clip broadcast by One TV yesterday even showed him shifting the blame for problems faced by Eddie Fenech Adami. It was also disgraceful that, apparently, Mr Cachia Caruana had implicated Guido de Marco and Lawrence Gatt in the attempt on his life.
Dr Pullicino Orlando said Dr Gonzi and himself had mutual respect and he did not think that the current problems stemmed directly from Dr Gonzi but from the poor choices he had made, particularly in his choice of Mr Cachia Caruana.
He would go for this evening's meeting with an open mind, Dr Pullicino Orlando said, and he hoped the matter would not be treated in a frivolous manner.