MP Franco Debono is sticking to what he said: that the government tried to buy him off with creating a new post for him to buy him off and not vote for the resignation of Carm Mifsud Bonnici from Home Affairs Minister. On Wednesday the Office of the Prime Minister issued a terse denial of the top story in maltastar.com: “Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi denies categorically that he passed on a document or offered any post as Honourable Franco Debono is alleging.”
Debono reacted angrily at this statement by the Prime Minister who ends his holiday today and comes back this weekend to intensify the election campaign by using the Independence PN events as a launching pad. Debono said: “"The Prime Minister is lying. He is liar. I have a document that proves what I said and I challenge the Prime Minister to face me in front of everyone".
Wednesday - Just a few days before the vote of confidence in Justice and Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici was taken in parliament last May, MP Franco Debono was offered by government a very prestigious post equal to that at least of a parliamentary secretary as long as he would not back the Opposition motion calling for the resignation of the minister. Debono turned down the offer as he was not in search of advancing his personal career but backed the motion because he wanted Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici to be held to account for the poor leadership and the mismanagement he showed in running his ministry. Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi denies categorically such proposal as MP Franco Debono allegedly claims.
Debono was offered a chauffeured car and a staff of four lawyers and a new post to oversee reforms in the legal system and to put a number of legal structures like the Law Commission under the parliamentary Select Committee on the Re-codification and Consolidation of Laws chaired by Franco Debono.
To show that his call for Mifsud Bonnici's resignation from Home Affairs Minister was not motivated by any personal animosity towards him, Debono had even suggested that Carm Mifsud Bonnici be given another ministry as long as he was removed from the Home Affairs Ministry.
Last May parliament approved a motion calling for the resignation of Dr. Carm Mifsud Bonnici as Home Affairs Minister. The censure motion presented by the Opposition last December was amended to a motion of no confidence. The vote in Parliament passed since Dr. Franco Debono voted for the motion for a total of 35 votes in favour with 34 against. However, it is clear that Franco Debono did not vote with the opposition but voted for the contents of the motion that were very similar to the motion presented by Debono himself last November.
The motion debated and voted upon last May included fifteen chapters. There was only one particular chapter that regarding the Whistleblower Act, that was not included in Franco Debono’s twenty-two point motion presented in November 2011. All the other chapters covered common ground and Dr. Debono voted for the same points that he raised in the motion. Dr. Debono had said several times that the Gonzi government did not have his support for the way it was governing the country.
Both motions dealt with the inefficiency and delays in the Law Courts and the way that the Ministry dealt with Legal assistance, Constitutional matters and Human Rights. Other common points included the problems at the Corradino Correction Facility (CCF), especially the rampant use and abuse of drugs at the CCF; the shortcomings in the implementation of certain laws as well as conformity to certain fundamental rights as decided upon by the European Court. The problem concerning the Police Corps’ right to trade union membership and to the payment of arrears to members of the police for overtime was also a common problem raised in the two motions.