Just when you thought you’d heard it all – although in Malta, you never have – the limits of credibility have been stretched so far beyond breaking point that nobody in their right mind could be fooled.
Even those responsible for spinning these stories must be gagging on their own minestrone. Scraping the barrel doesn’t come close when you have a Labour MP pinning the blame for Malta’s sharp decline in the corruption tables on someone who wants suspected criminals to be tried by law.
PN MP Simon Busuttil is guilty of relying on the last vestiges of democracy to try and instigate an inquiry on the actions of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and his ‘star’ Minister Konrad Mizzi.
Since 2016, when the Panama Papers revealed that the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and the Tourism Minister owned secret offshore companies, Busuttil has made sustained efforts to open an investigation.
In a normal country with a police force functioning independently from the government, this would have happened as a matter of course. It’s incredulous that any attempt has to be made at all to ensure the police do the job of interrogating suspected criminals.
It’s now 2019. Daphne Caruana Galizia, the journalist who first exposed Mizzi and Schembri, has been assassinated and yet the police sit idle, if not complicit. Not a single PEP has been questioned over her murder and Mizzi and Schembri retain their political positions.
All this despite the fact there’s now incontrovertible evidence that Mizzi and Schembri’s money-laundering activities involved Yorgen Fenech, director of Electrogas and owner of 17 Black, the target client set up to funnel kickbacks into Mizzi and Schembri’s Panama companies, according to leaked emails.
I mean, what does it take for an arrest to be made in this country? A toddler with a crayon could connect the dots.
Nevertheless, Judge Grixti dismissed Busuttil’s grounds for a magisterial inquiry as ‘speculation’, willfully overriding the large number of prosecutions and resignations that immediately followed in the wake of the publication of the Panama Papers.
Within a year, over 150 investigations, inquiries, audits and probes into thousands of people and organisations had been launched by governments in more than 70 countries.
Ironically, in light of Grixti’s ruling, Malta claimed to have recovered more than $10 million as a result of the Panama Papers and Swiss Leaks investigations.
Yet, through Malta’s energy deal alone, members of the government were planning to siphon of $2 million a year through 17 Black. What’s the point of Malta recovering these millions if they are just being added to the bounty?
In our post-Mossack Fonseca and post-Pilatus world, ‘speculation’ seems far from apposite.
Judge Grixti’s perversion of justice was reinforced by Magistrate Depasquale last Tuesday when he refused an appeal against a ruling he made last May that a separate inquiry into the money-laundering activities of Mizzi and Schembri was unnecessary as another was already underway – the same one Judge Grixti so recently brought to an end.
Having pursued the legal routes in an attempt to get criminals prosecuted – itself absurd when this constitutes standard police work in a normal country – Busuttil has, as a consequence, been confirmed as the devil incarnate, an enemy of the State and a heinous traitor.
On the same day as figures were published by the Corruption Perception Index citing Malta as one of the five ‘decliners’ in the world, Labour MP Robert Abela pointed the finger at Busuttil, doubtless responsible for those South American taxi drivers who blabbered on about corruption to that poor unsuspecting Edward Scicluna who did not tell us he had already spent €2 million on a direct order to deal with money laundering.
In a manner exemplary of the warped ‘serenity’ of Muscat’s Malta, Abela appealed to Busuttil to “stop harming our country”. The son of former President George Abela, who made a killing together with his wife for services rendered to the Labour Party, blamed anti-corruption and democracy campaigners for the corruption and democratic crisis straight out of Orwell’s ‘1984’.
This is akin to blaming Martin Luther King for racial discrimination when, if black people had only kept quiet, we could have lived happily ever after in a racist society. If the suffragettes had stopped banging on about equal rights then women could have stayed in the kitchen which, in misogynist Malta, is more than they deserve.
Is somebody having a laugh here? Humour, like that three-year-old’s crayon, is at breaking point.
And just to add more ingredients to the soup called crazy, Magistrate Depasquale who quashed Tuesday’s appeal, is also presiding over the libel case mounted by Muscat against assassinated journalist Caruana Galizia 15 months after her death, in which the Prime Minister attempted to blackmail the murdered journalist’s family saying he would drop the case if they shut the hell up about him and his wife owning Egrant.
The Panama Papers leak was the biggest tax evasion data leak in history. But let’s dismiss evidence-based accusations against Mizzi and Schembri, and forget Nexia BT knows the owner of Egrant. Let’s put all this down to ‘populist’ politicians who ‘push anti-democratic agendas.’
Yes, let’s. They’re called the Labour Party.