‘Vindicate’ and ‘vindictive’ are two words commonly confused. Although they sound similar they have very different meanings. While the former means to prove oneself right the latter means to have a very strong desire for revenge.
In recent weeks we have seen ‘vindicate’ often used in relation to the Egrant inquiry. The Joseph Muscat regime and its friends have pushed the narrative that the inquiry has proven Muscat and his cronies right. They have been absolved by history and no more questions should be asked.
However, we are also witnessing a form of vindictiveness on whoever has any knowledge of wrongdoing by the regime. The 1,500-page inquiry remains unpublished and all the public got was a redacted 50-page summary and a blitz of propaganda.
The narrative emanating from Castille is that no questions should be asked about the inquiry and any possible gaps in the evidence scarped together by the magistrate. No questions should be asked about the Panama companies set up by Nexia BT for its prominent clients. Instead the guns have turned on the accusers.
Muscat and his acolytes are calling for blood and after first being told that former PN leader Simon Busuttil, former Malta Independent editor Pierre Portelli and former Pilatus Bank employee Maria Efimova will be charged with perjury and slander we are now told that no action will be taken against Busuttil and Portelli. But Efimova will be hunted down to exonerate the shamed Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr.
Then came the bolt out of the blue. On Tuesday we got to know of Jonathan Ferris’ hasty summoning to the police headquarters to be questioned about his testimony during the Egrant inquiry.
The former Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) investigator was sacked because, he believes, his work threatened to uncover sensitive secrets on the a number of people accused of corruption, including the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and minister Konrad Mizzi.
Both men have been accused of being financial beneficiaries of secretive companies registered in Panama and the former anti-corruption investigator took it upon himself to look into these allegations.
However, he was not allowed to conclude his work and has so far been denied whistleblower protection.
The Times reported that Ferris “would probably be questioned in connection with alleged perjury” and the former anti-corruption inspector did not mince his words when asked for a reaction by the same newspaper.
“I will not be intimidated by these fascist tactics,” he said.
Speaking to the press after his client was questioned for three hours, Ferris’ lawyer said the former anti-corruption investigator stuck by his testimony and did not make any changes to the statements he had given to the magistrate in the Egrant inquiry.
What we are witnessing is not merely a form of revenge on Ferris but an attempt to intimidate and silence him. If he does not budge, he will be discredited and delegitimised.
Because the game is far from over. Muscat’s regime would like us to believe that the corruption scandals which engulfed it are a closed chapter. But the Egrant inquiry and Muscat’s tears have not washed away the allegations levelled at Schembri and Mizzi.
A number of inquiries involving the two are still ongoing and Ferris is a key witness. Before being sacked from the FIAU, Ferris investigated both men and if any evidence has been overlooked or camouflaged by his successors at the FIAU and the police force he is the only one who can set the record straight.
Are the police officers who summoned Ferris for questioning privy to the findings of the ongoing inquiries? Are the police officers interrogating Ferris aware of what he told the ongoing inquiries?
Muscat’s regime loves playing games. It has a penchant for keeping the public in the dark and keep it guessing while releasing bits and pieces of information which are enough to sway public opinion in its favour.
Muscat is also very good at annihilating any form of opposition and destroying the credibility of his detractors. If Ferris is portrayed as a liar in the Egrant inquiry then he certainly lied in the other inquiries on Schembri and Mizzi, they will tell us. If Ferris lied about Muscat then he also lied about Muscat’s friends.
If everything goes to plan, Schembri and Mizzi will be exonerated by more tears and redacted reports and Muscat’s decision not to fire his two friends will be justified. And the great conquerer will march on to greater victories.