“Timing of the emerging allegations led to Caruana’s resignation”

Minister Aaron Farrugia explains how ex-Gozo Minister understood what needed to be done

Miguela Xuereb

Justyne Caruana’s resignation from Gozo Minister, her husband’s trips with Yorgen Fenech and Prime Minister Abela’s reaction to this political scenario were discussed this morning with TV presenter Peppi Azzopardi, Minister Aaron Farrugia and PN MP Therese Comodini Cachia during the programme Newsbook Hour on 103 Malta’s Heart, presented by Fr. Joe Borg.

 “The Attorney General should have resigned not Justyne” – Peppi Azzopardi

Asked by Fr. Joe Borg if Justyne Caruana did right in handing her resignation after the allegations emerged regarding her husband’s relations with Yorgen Fenech, Peppi Azzopardi said that Justyne Caruana shouldn’t have resigned from Gozo Minister but the Attorney General yes.

“Justyne has a positive track record as Minister” said Azzopardi

On Newsbook Hour Peppi Azzopardi continued explaining that it is not fair for politicians to assume political responsibility for the behaviour and actions of their family members. Azzopardi said that it should only be in cases where the politicians themselves are involved in scandals that they should assume the political responsibility and resign.

“Justyne did the right thing” – Minister Aaron Farrugia

Replying to this comment was Minister Aaron Farrugia who said he believes that Justyne Caruana did right in resigning while PN MP Therese Comodini Cachia stated that Justyne Caruana had a reg flag raised while ago.

At the time Justyne Caruana’s husband, Silvio Valletta, went abroad to watch football matches with Yorgen Fenech, it was not known to the media and the general public that Fenech was implicated in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Also, Yorgen Fenech is implicated in the scandal of the secret Dubai company, 17 Black – a secret company whose owner was identified as local power station businessman – Yorgen Fenech, with his name being revealed through e-mails in 2018, having one of the 2 companies (17 Black and Macbridge) to pay the secret companies of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri in Panama.

“Prime Minister Abela conveyed a message to Labour critics”

Minister Farrugia said that what led to Caruana’s resignation was probably the timing of the emerging allegations and so Prime Minister Robert Abela conveyed a message with her resignation to those who criticize the Labour Government.

“Had not the allegations be published at that moment in time, probably Justyne Caruana would still be Minister for Gozo. All this happened in the first few days of Abela as Prime Minister and Justyne understood clearly what needed to be done” said Minister Farrugia.

Silvio Valletta, Caruana’s husband, as Deputy Police Commissioner was investigating the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

“Red flag for Justyne Caruana”

“Justyne Caruana had a red flag raised when her husband was appointed on the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) board to investigate the Panama Papers. On that board, her husband had to investigate money laundering allegations on her colleagues, that is, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.”

Therese Comodini Cachia explained how ex-Gozo Minister and her husband were assuming important roles and when faced with such allegations one has to pay the political price accordingly. With the allegations being published in all local media outlets it was evidently clear that there was a conflict of interest and Caruana’s post was no longer tenable.