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A dodgy Christmas Tax Deal for Delia

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said his deal was no different than one any other private citizen would strike with the tax authorities. Yet, he is Opposition Leader.

Adrian_Delia_PN_Leader
Adrian Delia

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia owes €80,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and charges. That is more than four times the average salary of a Maltese worker.

On 27 December, Delia told Malta Today that he had struck a deal with the Inland Revenue Department that would allow him to pay his dues over an unspecified period.

The deal stinks. It was struck in the run up to Christmas and less than two months after Delia called on the Prime Minister to resign in the aftermath of the execution of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Here’s why:

  1. Did Delia change his mind after he became Opposition Leader?

Delia was sworn in as Opposition Leader on 6 October, following a two-week scramble to find a way into Parliament after having been elected leader of the Nationalist Party on 16 September.

On 4 October, Delia told Dissett host Reno Bugeja that he was going to settle all tax dues by the end of this year.

However, just over two months later, and after becoming Opposition Leader, we are now being told a different story: Delia now has a deal in hand to settle all amounts “over a period of time”.

What was it that changed Delia’s mind since he became Opposition Leader? Was it an offer he could not refuse?

  1. Did Delia negotiate with the State for his benefit while serving as Opposition Leader?

If the 4 October statement were true, then Delia would have been negotiating with the Inland Revenue Department, whose political master is Edward Scicluna, while serving as Opposition Leader. At the time of negotiations, Edward Scicluna was busy preparing the following year’s Budget, while Delia must have been preparing his response.

Now we are led to understand that Delia was also discussing personal details with a department falling under the political responsibility of the very same person- Edward Scicluna- that Delia was meant to keep in check at that very point in time.

This clearly constituted a conflict of interest in the political sense. Was the PN parliamentary group aware of this?

  1. Delia is no ordinary citizen. He is Opposition Leader.

Adrian_Delia_PN_Leader

Tellingly, Delia told MaltaToday that his deal is no different than any other private citizen would strike with the tax authorities. Yet, he struck the deal while also serving as Opposition Leader.

Now, imagine yourself an employee of the Inland Revenue Department and Adrian Delia calls you to discuss his deal: “Hello, I’m Adrian Delia”. “Who? Delia, of PN?” “Yes but forget about all that for now, just deal with me as a private citizen.”

Right.  And pigs fly, Santa exists, and aliens are invading tomorrow.

  1.  No details are given. We have to take Delia’s word for it.

I get the feeling Delia thinks he’s historically located somewhere between Julius Caesar and Lorenzo de Medici.

He somehow thinks he’s some elected aristocrat who just tells the people to trust him and they magically do. Such is the extent of his delusion.

Somebody seriously needs to tell the man the time of playing Roman is over. We live in an age of transparency (beyond Malta). His words get checked.

And let’s face it, we all know that Delia’s plans have a habit of backfiring spectacularly. He boasted that he had plan of how to get into Parliament and we all know how that ended.

  1. The Delia Christmas Tax Deal sets the tone for Delia’s time in power

More importantly, what are we to make of Delia’s leadership style and priorities in the next few years?

Clearly Delia is indebted to the State: He owes €80,000. Somebody in the State sanctioned Delia’s Christmas tax deal fully aware of who Delia is, whether Delia wanted this or not.

Only Delia and the State know the details of the deal struck. We do not. We just have to trust everything was ok – as though it were a tenet of faith.

How much longer do we need to continue being taken for a ride?

 

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