Under-fire Minister Carmel Abela insists he has spoken to Prime Minister Robert Abela about damning allegations in the media concerning his involvement in an HSBC heist, but did not commit to opening up libe suits against Alfred and George Degiorgio, the criminal brothers who have taken the claims to the European Commission.
In a tense parliamentary sitting, MP David Thake asked Abela if he felt his position was untenable following revelations that the Degiorgio brothers, who have been charged with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, had written to European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, and had named both Abela and former minister Chris Cardona as having played key roles in major crimes, including the heist.
“The reputation of the country, the integrity of the government, and the entire parliament are at stake,” Thake said, also asking outright whether Abela planned to file a libel suit against the Degiorgios.
Abela launched a scathing reply, attacking the Opposition, claiming it continuously worked against the interests of Malta on the international stage, labelling them as “rubbish” and “criminals” in the process.
“This is a fabricated lie from elements in the Opposition and criminals,” Abela said, repeating a bizarre claim by Malta’s Prime Minister.
Abela insisted that he filed for libel when necessary, referencing his current case against PN MP Jason Azzopardi.
A shouting match ensued, with government whip Glenn Bedingfield and opposition whip Robert Cutajar intervening.
Thake, however, continued his questioning – demanding an answer as to why Abela was reluctant to file for libel against the Degiorgios.
“I will take my own advice. I have no problem taking the necessary action when I choose to,” he said.
Thake then asked whether he had discussed his resignation with Prime Minister Abela. Minister Abela said that they discuss every matter within their ministry – however, did not say outright whether the resignation was brought up.
Earlier, PN leader Bernard Grech said that Prime Minister Robert Abela’s “failure to take action” on the claims shows he is not in a position to take decisions in the national interest.
“A shadow has been cast, not only on the minister and the Prime Minister but the whole country. Robert Abela must take action. The national interest should take precedence over Robert Abela and the Labour Party’s own partisan interests,” Grech said
Should Carmelo Abela step down?