Mallia: put PBO in prison
Minister is being ‘wilfully malign’ trying to tarnish my name, claims Mallia
Labour candidate Manuel Mallia yesterday said he would be seeking a sentence of imprisonment for Nationalist Party general secretary after instructing police to take criminal action against Paul Borg Olivier for libel.
The action concerns an article on the PN media website maltarightnow.com, titled ‘Three Labour candidates involved in oil scandal’, which repeated claims made by Finance Minister Tonio Fenech in a press conference on Friday that Dr Mallia was “involved” in the ongoing oil buying scandal.
Dr Mallia categorically denied any form of involvement, calling Dr Fenech’s allegations “obscene” and saying he would be “seeking imprisonment” in the course of the criminal case.
Speaking during a press conference alongside fellow PL candidate David Farrugia Sacco – who said he would also be taking legal action against Dr Borg Olivier – Dr Mallia insisted he had only found out about illegal commission paid for oil purchases through the media.
Mr Fenech linked both him and Dr Farrugia Sacco to the scandal, noting how both men had represented the Farrugia brothers in the past and hinting they might be indirect sources of leaks to the press.
But Dr Mallia yesterday said the minister was being “wilfully malign” in trying to tarnish his name.
“I represented the Farrugia brothers in a case against their brother George, which concerned him siphoning funds away from them. The case had nothing to do with illegal oil commission,” he said.
“For the minister to try to taint me in this way is to stoop to the lowest form of politics.”
Dr Mallia claimed his letter to the directors of Intershore Fiduciary Services Ltd – including former PL financial administrator Joe Cordina – also had nothing to do with the oil commission affair and was simply a note informing them, in light of the fund siphoning investigation into Mr Farrugia’s company Aikon Ltd, to “regularise their position”. Dr Farrugia Sacco also denied he or his brother were in any way involved in the scandal. Mr Fenech had quoted a court document that said IT expert Geoffrey Farrugia had worked “in conjunction” with Stephen Farrugia Sacco in examining Aikon Ltd’s IT systems.
“My brother was not involved in the IT audit. He was not even called as a witness in the subsequent court case. All he did was advise Geoffrey Farrugia, who conducted the IT audit, on the proper layout of reports presented to the courts,” he said.
He added mention of his brother in a court document was simply “an act of courtesy” for his help.
Dr Farrugia Sacco subsequently read from an affidavit by Geoffrey Farrugia, which stated as much.
The two men cast aspersions on Mr Fenech’s patchy recollection of details surrounding the Maltese clock given to him by George Farrugia’s sister-in-law.
“The minister says he was given the clock because Mr Farrugia’s sister-in-law ‘admired him’. I’ll leave it up to the public to decide whether that’s normal or not.”