Delia stands his ground af­ter party calls on him to re­con­sider lead­er­ship bid

‘The party’s es­tab­lish­ment is work­ing against me,’ de­fi­ant Delia says

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Photo: Baskal Mal­lia The com­mit­tee’s full re­ports can be viewed at www.in­de­pen­dent.com.mt

The Na­tion­al­ist Party Ad­min­is­tra­tive Council last night gave the go-ahead for its lead­er­ship con­test to con­tinue but called on em­bat­tled can­di­date Adrian Delia to re­con­sider his can­di­da­ture. In re­ac­tion, Delia last night re­fused to with­draw him­self from the race and in­sisted that the party’s “es­tab­lish­ment” is work­ing against him.

The council’s de­ci­sion fol­lows a two-day in­quiry by a spe­cially-ap­pointed ethics com­mit­tee, headed by PN vet­eran Louis Galea, into al­le­ga­tions Delia has been fac­ing over his

al­leged links, through his work as a lawyer, to a Lon­don pros­ti­tu­tion racket.

The ethics com­mit­tee, re­ferred to as the Con­sul­ta­tive Com­mit­tee on Cor­rect and Eth­i­cal Be­hav­iour, was set up on Mon­day af­ter an ur­gent party ad­min­is­tra­tive council meet­ing that dis­cussed the Delia al­le­ga­tions, lev­elled against him pri­mar­ily by jour­nal­ist Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia.

Delia has ve­he­mently de­nied those claims, as well as re­lated ac­cu­sa­tions of money laun­der­ing, and has so far filed five li­bels to re­but the al­le­ga­tions.

In com­ments to the press last night in the wake of the party’s ad­min­is­tra­tive council’s call for him to stand down from the race, Delia said that: “It is now clearer than ever that the PN es­tab­lish­ment is do­ing its best to tar­nish my rep­u­ta­tion,” and in­sisted that he will not be with­draw­ing his can­di­dacy.

Min­utes af­ter a re­port by the PN ad­min­is­tra­tive com­mit­tee urged him to re­con­sider his po­si­tion, Delia said that he had al­ready made up his mind to go ahead with his can­di­da­ture, as the ethics com­mit­tee had found noth­ing against him.

In­stead, the PN’s ad­min­is­tra­tive council, which he de­scribed as part of the es­tab­lish­ment, chose to is­sue a state­ment try­ing to den­i­grate his rep­u­ta­tion.

He said that the ethics com­mit­tee could have “sanc­tioned me, sus­pended me or dis­missed me”, but it did not take any such de­ci­sion, be­cause it found noth­ing wrong.

He urged PN coun­cil­lors to go to vote on Satur­day to elect him and get rid of the party es­tab­lish­ment.

The council last night said that it had found no doubts in the can­di­da­tures of Alex Perici Calas­cione, Frank Portelli and Chris Said.

But as con­cerns Delia, the council stated that “in view of the clear and se­ri­ous find­ings of the ethics com­mit­tee, it is ap­pro­pri­ate for Adrian Delia to re­con­sider his po­si­tion as a can­di­date for this elec­tion.”

The council also said that, what­ever the case, it is fully con­fi­dent that the party’s coun­cil­lors, who will vote on Satur­day, and mem­bers, who will cast their bal­lots on 16 Septem­ber, will vote “in the best in­ter­est of the party.”

The ethics com­mit­tee found in its re­port: “While ap­pre­ci­at­ing the lim­i­ta­tions, in­clud­ing the pro­fes­sional se­crecy Delia is bound to as a lawyer, [the com­mit­tee] deems that there are other pend­ing as­pects that are not yet ver­i­fied, and that Delia did not ex­plain an ac­count at the Bar­clays In­ter­na­tional Jersey Bank al­legedly in his name, the scope and use of this ac­count and the le­gal­ity of the prove­nance of the funds.”

The ethics com­mit­tee had also ver­i­fied that on 1 July 2003 the Bri­tish po­lice had raided the prop­erty of Healey Prop­er­ties that was sub­let to third par­ties. Delia and Labour deputy leader and Min­is­ter Chris Car­dona were direc­tors of the com­pany. The raid, the com­mit­tee found, ex­posed the fact that the place was be­ing used by third par­ties for pros­ti­tu­tion, with Delia and Car­dona re­sign­ing from the com­pany in De­cem­ber of the same year.

The council added last night that any per­son run­ning the party must be be­yond any re­proach or sus­pi­cion and that there could be no doubt what­so­ever in the in­tegrity of a per­son as­pir­ing to lead the party, and asked Delia to re­con­sider his can­di­dacy.

In com­ments to the press, cur­rent PN leader Si­mon Busut­til said that if he were in Delia’s shoes, he would step down con­sid­er­ing the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion

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