Mayor refuses to name ‘fat cat’ and unelected official for PN investigation

St Julian’s Mayor Albert Buttigieg has alleged that his electoral run was sabotaged on the request of a 'fat cat' with interests in the locality

St Julian's Mayor Albert Buttigieg (left) was contacted by PN Secretary-general Michael Piccinino (right) after the Times of Malta sent the party questions on the claims made by the former in an opinion piece
St Julian's Mayor Albert Buttigieg (left) was contacted by PN Secretary-general Michael Piccinino (right) after the Times of Malta sent the party questions on the claims made by the former in an opinion piece

Updated at 5:06pm with Albert Buttigieg's letter to Michael Piccinino

St Julian's mayor Albert Buttigieg has refused to pass on the names of a PN official he alleged try to sabotage his electoral run on the request of a "fat cat" businessman. 

Buttigieg wrote to PN secretary-general Michael Piccinino on Friday, telling him that he will never real any names to avoid compromising "the well-being of my source".

"I have solemnly promised that I will not divulge details that lead to his/her identification. [...] Rest assured that the source is a credible one.  If I have to pay a further price, let it be! It is better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees," he wrote. 

He further accused the PN of using Labour Party tactics by insisting on proof. "Your press statement, 'give us proof', sounds similar to what the Labour Party say when accused of sleaze!"

"What it is indisputable is that I am on record in underlining that I was side-lined prior and during the campaign.  This leads me to trust that as Secretary General you ought to request why this occurred and what were the reasons, which lead to this."

Read the full letter below


Earlier on Friday, the Nationalist Party said no investigation into Albert Buttigieg’s claims that his electoral run was sabotaged by a PN official on the request of a “fat cat” could take place, unless the culprits were named.

“Buttigieg has to tell us who he is accusing, as so far no names have been mentioned,” Piccinino told MaltaToday.

Piccinino said that he contacted Albert Buttigieg when the allegations came to light and asked him to substantiate the claims through the proper party channels.

“I phoned Buttigieg in order to understand who the PN official and the fat cat in question are. There is a structure within the party and such allegations should be brought forward to the Ethics, Discipline and Social Media Commission,” Piccinino said.

MaltaToday understands that Piccinino got in touch with Buttigieg when the party received questions from Times of Malta yesterday about the claims, which were made in an opinion piece that was published in today's newspaper.

Asked whether Buttigieg intends to appear in front of the board, the spokesperson said that such questions should be directed to him.

Buttigieg refused to take any phone calls when contacted, saying he had no further comments to make except “this is not about me but about the political class being hijacked by fat cats - I am not in a position to tell what the party should do. I did my part.”

The St Julian's mayor said that he only asked questions to the party and shared what he was confidentially told.

The case follows similar allegations made by former MP Jason Azzopardi, who claimed after the election that Bernard Grech had been in a meeting with businesspeople last December during which one of those present said he will not donate money to the party as long as Azzopardi militated in it.

Azzopardi also alleged that during the same meeting relatives of Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech had raised the issue of a presidential pardon with Grech, something the Opposition leader has denied outright.

Azzopardi was not elected in March's general election, insisting afterwards that he had been sidelined by the party administration. He eventually resigned from the PN.

Bernard Grech has gone on record saying that Azzopardi never approached him with these concerns and allegations before the election.

READ ALSO: ‘Blue Hero’ to ‘expired politician’: Jason Azzopardi’s troubled relationship with PN leaders