PN MEP candidate Frank Psaila defended incumbent David Casa (right) in light of allegations he used to use cocaine
Nationalist MEP candidate Frank Psaila has suggested that the new Commissioner for Standards in Public Life be entrusted with subjecting politicians to drug tests.
“Subjecting myself to a drug test never crossed my mind because I never did illegal substances,” Psaila told Lovin Malta. “However, I would find no objection to submit myself to testing on a voluntary basis or should it become mandatory. Indeed it would be a welcome development should the newly appointed Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards be entrusted with overseeing, and enforcing such a new practice.”
Chamber of Advocates president George Hyzler is set to become Malta’s first Commissioner for Standards in the coming weeks, a role that will see him entrusted with the investigation of ethical and financial breaches by MPs and people appointed on a position of trust basis.
Asked whether he agrees that his new role should also include the overseeing of drug tests, Hyzler declined to comment pending his upcoming official appointment to the position.
Lovin Malta contacted PN MEP candidates in the wake of a sworn affidavit by one of PN MEP David Casa’s former aides, who claimed his employer used to habitually use cocaine. Casa has denounced the story as a disgusting lie intended to tarnish his reputation, but has said he will only take a drug test if Labour’s MPs do likewise.
Could new standards commissioner George Hyzler be entrusted with overseeing drug tests for politicians?
Asked about these allegations, Psaila defended his colleague, saying he has followed Casa’s work since he was first elected as an MEP 15 years ago, and that he knows him as “an effective MEP with strong connections within the European Parliament”.
“David has come out strongly against corruption and, his close friendship with journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, strengthened his resolve to continue her work following her assassination. That’s how I know David, that’s who David is for me,” he said. “David has categorically denied the allegations and issued a strongly worded press statement in that regard the minute they surfaced. He has informed the Nationalist Party that he is seeking advice on whether he should take legal action.”
“The Nationalist Party too pronounced itself on the matter saying that it does not tolerate any illegal behaviour from any of its members of parliament. Furthermore, it expects the highest of ethical standards in their conduct. I have nothing to add to those statements.”
PN MEP candidate Peter Agius
Fellow PN MEP candidate Peter Agius said he would have probably taken a drug test had the cocaine allegations against Casa been made against him. However, he expressed scepticism about the allegations and argued it is unfair to subject Casa’s long political career to claims mentioned in an affidavit.
“I’ve met David hundreds if not thousands of times over the 12 years I’ve worked with him and I never saw any monkey business of any kind, nor did I ever see him in a hyper state,” Agius, who used to head the European Parliament’s Information Office in Malta, said. “David has put his career on the line to shed light on very serious corruption allegations, such as those involving 17 Black, and it seems funny that this allegation has just come out now. In a modern democracy, a media establishment would scrutinise the information in detail before publishing it.”
“I don’t believe the story and I express my solidarity with him. I’ve always seen him as highly respectable and respected in the European Parliament.”
Incumbent PN MEPs Roberta Metsola and Francis Zammit Dimech, who will both contest next year’s election, had already issued a joint statement last week to defend Casa and question the truth of the allegations against him.
PN MEP candidate Michael Briguglio also said he had no problem submitting to a drug test: “I express solidarity with David Casa. I question the nature and timing of such personal attacks, especially when David Casa is active in the fight against corruption. I personally have no problem to do a drug test.”