The Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia has insisted that he was not aware of any meeting between two PN MPs and the owner of the infamous 17 Black, Yorgen Fenech, describing their actions as an ‘error of judgment’.
Yesterday, The Sunday Times of Malta revealed that MPs Kristy Debono and Herman Schiavone had met with Fenech to discuss the possible sponsorship of a conference room.
Fenech is a shareholder of the Electrogas Consortium, which runs the LNG power station in Delimara, and the owner of 17 Black, one of two companies which were supposed to transfer monthly fees of €150,000 to the Panama companies of Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.
Facing the press, Delia insisted that the issue should not overshadow crucial issues surrounding 17 Black and its implications in what could be widespread corruption reaching the highest levels of government.
Delia disagreed to Lovin Malta’s assertion that Schiavone and Debono’s meeting could severely weaken the party’s position on good governance and more pressingly the 17 black issue.
“The party’s position on corruption is as strong as ever… the country needs us to be strong… in the face of a corrupt government and hijacked institutions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Delia said he was “unaware” of PN MP Jason Azzopardi veiled but stinging criticism of the pair.
“How can you even think of being credible on corruption if you, whilst criticising the corruptor, meet him behind the backs of your teammates and the public?” Azzopardi said in a tweet, “Not to mention the possibility of being criminal accomplices.”
Delia told reporters to instead address the question to Azzopardi. However, when pressed on this stance and his own opinion over the case, given that he is, after all, the PN Leader and spokesperson for good governance, questions abruptly ended as Delia was escorted to his car.
Delia has been the PN spokesperson for good governance after he ousted his predecessor Simon Busuttil following the publication of the conclusions of the Egrant Inquiry.
Schiavone and Debono have been some of Delia’s most ardent supporters since he announced his leadership bid in the summer of 2017.