Damning allegations against the husband of former Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono that were disproven in court were a premeditated attack by the Labour government, former PL mayor Charles Azzopardi has said.
“The scope of the Labour Party against Giovanna Debono was a premeditated, studied, malicious attempt to damage the Nationalist Party,” Azzopardi said in an interview with Xarabank aired on Lovin Malta.
In 2015, Tony Debono was charged with allegations that he was involved in a works-for-votes operation, through which the resources of the ministry were allegedly being used to carry out works for the benefit of individual constituents.
Giovanna Debono resigned from the PN parliamentary group as a result.
Debono was investigated after contractor Joe Cauchi turned whistleblower and accused Debono of tasking him to carry out works for constituents and issuing false invoices for them.
A total of 22 alleged irregular works were flagged during investigations, and these were carried out between 2004 and the 2013 general election.
He was charged with the misappropriation of public funds, fraud, abuse of power, falsification of documents, making false declarations, committing crimes he was duty-bound to prevent and preventing people from giving evidence.
However, he was later found not guilty by the courts, who declared that there was not sufficient evidence to find Debono guilty.
In the interview, Azzopardi detailed that the issue was the last straw in his association with the Labour Party, committing outright to joining the PN and running with the opposition party in the next general election.
He counted the endless corruption scandals, the abandonment of principles in the Labour Party, and the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia as key moments into leaving his 18-year association with the party for its bitter rivals
Azzopardi was challenged by host Peppi Azzopardi on whether the PN and PL were different, pointing to other scandals in previous administrations.
However, Azzopardi dismissed the suggestion, insisting that the wealth of scandals under the current administration dwarf that of its predecessors, pointing to good work done by previous PN governments, including former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi for trying to address key issues, even bringing opponents like former President George Abela on board.
What do you think of the allegations?