Franco Debono to protest to PN Executive over Claudio Grech's candidacy
Franco Debono, who is contesting the PN Executive's decision to ban him from seeking re-election under the PN ticket, intends to go before the Executive to protest discrimination over the Executive's approval of the candidature of Claudio Grech, a former assistant of minister Austin Gatt.
"The Executive has set certain standards and I expect equal treatment. Claudio Grech was found guilty by a court in 1996 of having forged a document. That is a criminal offence under the law on Crimes affecting Public Trust. His action was certainly far more serious than ignoring the party whip for good reason," the Nationalist MP told timesofmalta.com.
"I am not seeking revocation of Mr Grech's candidacy, but equal treatment."
Earlier, writing in his blog, Dr Debono noted that Mr Grech had been convicted of counterfeiting a police ID card, with the court having said that he had done so to impress and show off.
Mr Grech was 20 and a university student at the time. In its sentence, the court found that the actions of the accused were motivated by a lack of responsibility and a lack of appreciation of the seriousness of his actions.
This, Dr Debono said, was narcissism, egoism and childish behaviour at its best – something which he had been accused of. Yet Mr Grech had within a few years found himself in minister Austin Gatt's private secretariat and had now been approved as a PN candidate. And now Dr Gatt had been among those who insisted most on his own delisting, Dr Debono said.
"I am sure that with every day that passes you understand even more why I will not support the government as long as Austin Gatt is minister," Dr Debono wrote.
He said he would also continue to contest the Executive's decision to ban him on the basis that he was not given a fair hearing.
CLAUDIO GRECH REACTION
Meanwhile, Mr Grech in a press statement said he was facing a series of personal attacks aimed at tarnishing his reputation.
He said that Dr Debono was recycling something which took place 17 years ago, which the Labour Party had frequently used to attack him, and something which was not hidden. What had taken place demonstrated little else than his youthful zeal to join the police force. It was relevant to note that the Court had decided that the case had only merited a conditional discharge, without even the imposition of a fine.
Mr Grech, who also served as chairman of MITA, the government's IT agency, said he was proud to have served in several roles, which have led to such successes.
If Dr Debono wanted to equate his case with his own position, that was up to him, but Mr Grech said, he did not wish to discuss the Executive's decision against Dr Debono.
In another reaction, Dr Debono said that Mr Grech had actually already reacted to his case, telling MaltaToday on July 5 that:
'Speaking on the recent events in parliament that saw PN MPs Franco Debono, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and Jesmond Mugliett voting against the government, Grech said the situation was 'surreal'.
"These individuals were elected on a PN ticket and now the electorate is witnessing them going against what they voted for," he said, adding that he fully agreed with the executive council's decision to condemn their actions.'
(See comments below)