Toni Abela was asked before European Parliament ‘grilling’ whether he had ever been tested for drugs

Published: April 14, 2016 at 12:57am

Toni Abela was on John Bundy’s show on RTK radio today, and Newsbook, which is owned by the same media house, was the only news organisation to pick up the big news in what Toni Abela probably thought was just an aside.

MEPs asked him, before the formal questioning began on his nomination for the European Court of Auditors, whether he had ever been requested to give blood samples to test for drug-use. He said that the question stunned him. (The question was linked to the discovery of bar staff at the Hal Safi Labour Party club cutting up a block of cocaine in the club kitchens, and to Toni Abela’s involvement in keeping the matter quiet after the evidence was disposed of, to protect the Labour Party’s reputation.)

Abela said on radio that he had spent “two months studying” in preparation for his questioning in the European Parliament, and that he “never would have imagined that they would use their questions to cut into (my) character”. He said that he got the message, during the session, that the MEPs “were looking for a way to turn (me) down” because they “never gave (me) a chance to speak about the subject (I) was meant to speak about”.

He also said that it was he who wanted to step down from the deputy leadership of the Labour Party, and not Joseph Muscat who wanted him out of the way. He said that Muscat always told him, “You will leave when I leave.”

He said that after eight years in the role, he had no energy left and now, at 59, he felt that before the upcoming general election there should be “a younger and more energetic deputy leader”.

(He doesn’t have the energy to be deputy leader of the Labour Party in Malta, but he has the energy for a position at the European Court of Auditors.)