Azzopardi resigns from PN, cites disagreement with party leader over Fenech pardon

The former MP refers to a dinner held in December with businessmen offering funding to the Party

 

Updated to include PN reaction

Former PN MP Jason Azzopardi has officially handed in his resignation to the Nationalist Party, declaring that the Party’s leader, Bernard Grech, had reassured two businessmen close to Yorgen Fenech that the PN would recommend a presidential pardon to the man accused of masterminding the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Azzopardi’s decision to resign came on the heels of explosive allegations made by the former MP about Grech and his public declarations about considering a presidential pardon for Fenech should all other avenues for investigation fail to provide conclusive information.

The tit-for-tat between Azzopardi and Grech escalated following the PN leader’s description of Azzopardi as “an expired politician”, who then retaliated in kind by shedding light on a dinner held in December 2021 in which he claimed Grech had provided further reassurances to the two unnamed businessmen who are reportedly close to Fenech.

In a nutshell, it was alleged that the discussion between Grech and the two unnamed businessmen revolved around the pardon and was held in the context of eliciting donations for the Party’s fundraising efforts for the 2022 general elections. Azzopardi said they were not members of Tumas Group, part of the Electrogas consortium, seemingly alluding to relatives who run separate companies.

He said they were part of a group where other businessmen were present: “I also know that a businessman who sells appliances and was present at the dinner, whose name begins with an ‘O’, told the PN’s leader that he would not vote for PN while Jason Azzopardi is there,” the former MP declared.

“The answer given to this businessman from the leader of the PN was to say ‘talk to me after this election’,” he added, stating that he obtained this information through three different sources who have direct access to the people who were present at the dinner.

Azzopardi’s resignation follows a 24-hour ultimatum set by Grech after he referred the matter to the Party’s Ethics, Discipline and Social Media Commission.

Referring to Grech’s previous public statements in which he referred to the presidential pardon for Fenech, accused of commissioning the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Azzopardi further said that he had levelled criticism at Grech within the Party’s internal structures.

“To me, this was not acceptable behaviour. In my opinion, all politicians should be wary of doing anything that can give the impression that they are willing to compromise with mafiosi. For such criminals, the only audience they should get is in court, not the Party,” Azzopardi said.

“Worse than that, one can also give the impression that parties have a need to collect funding from whoever has the capacity to pay up while giving preferential access to wealthy criminals,” he added.

Azzopardi maintained that he had internally criticised the provision of assurances to family members of the accused and the public declaration in favour of the pardon because both instances “confirmed the vulnerability of politics in the face of criminal interference”.

The PN leader’s public comments on Azzopardi’s “expiration” formed part of a long term effort to exclude the ex-MP from the Party’s inner circles, Azzopardi claimed, arguing that the statement had made it clear to everyone in the Party that the Party itself was no longer giving space to individuals who did not wish to compromise between politics and the abuse of wealth to “buy privileges above the law”.

“I was made into a political orphan with the PN leader’s words and actions, in the same way this was done to those who say that they no longer recognise the PN, the Party that they used to cherish. Now, I understand what they mean,” Azzopardi said.

The party reacts

In a statement issued hours later, the PN said the Administrative Council “unanimously backed ” Party Leader Bernard Grech, saying he had failed to substantiate the allegations made.

Grech denied the allegations that he had met relatives of Yorgen Fenech and discussed a possible pardon in return for a donation.

Grech has so far failed to answer specific questions sent by The Shift.

                           
                               
guest
5 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
saviour mamo
saviour mamo
11 days ago

Corruption in this country is going to a higher level by the hour. Don’t we have honest businessmen anymore?

Watcher of the road
Watcher of the road
11 days ago
Reply to  saviour mamo

We have a fully compromised parliament now. A fake democracy.

Watcher of the road
Watcher of the road
11 days ago

The opposition leader has the Labour party’s tacit backing. Malta is now taken over completely by the Labour Mafia.

viv
viv
11 days ago

Dear Bernard – once you are in debt to the mafia – you ain’t never gettin’ out! Enjoy your servitude, you fool.

Ray
Ray
11 days ago

Why jason is talking now….when the meeting was held in december…and hearsay…sorelooser

Related Stories

The speaker who can’t speak – in more ways than one
The inarticulate thug occupying the post of Speaker of
Scrutiny and standards go hand in hand
Criticism is for has-beens, accountability is for fools, and

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo Award logo