Prime Minister Robert Abela was coy on a general election date and whether his administration will see through the entire legislature, but delivered a damning indictment of a “disintegrated” PN and its leadership candidates Bernard Grech and Adrian Delia.
“The two contestants have a common problem, they see politics as a solution to their financial problems,” Abela said in an interview with Andrew Azzopardi on ONE in reference to reports of Grech’s tax issues.
Abela, who said an election will not be condition by who the next PN leader is, slammed his political opponents fro engaging in a leadership election while the nation was in a moment of crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The country needed an opposition, they will not forget it,” he said.
On the election date, Abela refused to say outright whether the election will take place at the end of the legislature, in 2022.
“We will move forward according to the national interest,” he said.
What was clear, Abela said, is that the current administration have proved that it was a pragmatic and focused government who efficiently handled the pandemic. He said the only thing that worried him was seeing two leadership candidates enter the political fray when their personal finances were allegedly not in order.
Times of Malta reported that on 12th August, Grech entered an agreement with Malta’s tax officials to pay off the sum. They said Grech was charged €2,000 in penalties and €1,300 in interest.
Grech’s total bill is still unknown. However, documents published by Malta Today reveal that between 2014 and 2019, Grech, who works as a family lawyer, failed to pay over €29,000 in VAT between 2014 and 2019. Grech allegedly was called in to settle similar issues in the past, once in 2006 and another in 2012.
Grech reportedly earns an average of €32,600. Lovin Malta recently spoke a person claiming Grech had never issued a VAT receipt. However, the claim was later withdrawn.
Delia has repeatedly faced questions about his financial situation during his tenure as PN leader, with court evidence showing he received a €100,000 bailout from his in-laws to help pay his tax arrears in March and April 2018.
Times of Malta has reported that Delia has only recently to file his 2018 income tax to the tax authorities.
Both Grech and Delia have presented statements on their financial affairs to a PN commission entrusted with conducting a due diligence process on the leadership candidates.
Although Grech has no political experience, he has struck a chord among several PN supporters and two surveys among PN members have placed him as the clear favourite in this race.
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