Lawyer Edward Debono has described the tax affair involving Prime Minister Robert Abela and Inland Revenue Commissioner Marvin Gaerty as a ‘mini-Watergate’.
“The Prime Minister and Gaerty must both resign,” Debono said on NET Live yesterday. “This is extremely serious. The Prime Minister cannot communicate with the tax chief about the income tax returns of the Opposition leader or any other person in the country.”
“If Gaerty actually gave him information on the Opposition leader, it will be even more serious and show he isn’t capable of shouldering responsibility.”
He referred to it as “Watergate on a small-scale”, referring to the famous break-in scandal back in the 1970s that led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon and which involved the White House asking the tax authorities for the tax returns of critical journalists.
Abela yesterday confirmed that he had reported Opposition leader Bernard Grech to Gaerty after being tipped off by someone within the PN that the then PN leadership candidate hadn’t paid his taxes for years.
The Prime Minister said he was doing his duty, arguing that every citizen should report acts of wrongdoing to the authorities.
However, Grech accused Abela of trying to use his power to influence the PN’s leadership election and challenged the Prime Minister to publish his own tax returns.