Maltese candidate for Court of Auditors handicapped by cocaine affair

Toni Abela [Times of Malta]

Labour Party deputy leader Toni Abela is Malta’s nominee for the European Court of Auditors. Abela prevented two persons involved in a cocaine affair from being investigated by the police, according to the Maltese press.

Abela, 59, will be replacing Louis Galea, whose five-year term will end in the coming months. A lawyer for 33 years, Abela specialises in constitutional and administrative law.

In a conversation recorded without his knowledge, Abela describes how the president of a Labour Party club came across the club’s barman carving up a brick of cocaine.

The club president panicked, sacked the barman, and said he had disposed of the cocaine. The matter came before Abela, who as party deputy leader, is responsible for the party’s clubs.

“I sacked the president there and then. What could I do?” Abela is heard saying. “Go to the police and get him into trouble? He was the one who disposed of the evidence.” He then says that it was better to hush the matter up, and avoid problems.

The story dates back to 2011. It has been brought up by the Maltese press several times since, but it didn’t influence Abela’s reelection as deputy leader of the Labour Party, one of the two major parties in the island country.

The Labour Party is a member of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

However, it remains to be seen if the cocaine story could impact on Abela’s appointment to the European Court of Auditors.

The Court is composed of one member from each member state, who are appointed after a hearing in the Budgetary Control Committee of the European Parliament, and a non-binding majority-vote in the committee, as well as in the plenary of the European Parliament.

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