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Impunity reigns in the realm of ‘il-King’

Joseph Muscat
Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Photo: DOI / Kevin Abela

Joseph Muscat hasn’t saved a cent in the past four years.

In fact, he’s got the exact same amount of savings in the bank — right down to the euro — as he had four years ago in 2014.

But it isn’t just the same as it was four years ago. It’s been exactly the same every year in between, too.

That’s pretty astonishing when you think about it. Have you ever spent exactly what you earned for four years in a row?

It’s the best example of balancing the books I’ve ever seen. That or cooking them.

All that travel to Greece and Italy, and combined business and family trips to Australia and the US. Private school for the children at a cost of €8,000 per year plus extras. And let’s not forget that extravagant €11,014.15 hotel bill for a single holiday in Dubai in 2016.

It’s all somehow cancelled out by a Prime Ministerial stipend of €55,978 a year before taxes. He really should write the next ‘Lonely Planet Travel the World on a Shoestring’ guide.

It’s obvious even to those of us who count on our fingers that the lifestyle the Muscats are living costs more than €44K per year after taxes.

Is there an outside source of income which wasn’t declared to parliament, as required by law?

To quote David Addison, “Do bears bear? Do bees bee?” The numbers don’t add up.

But don’t ask questions about any of this, lest you be accused of bullying. Or as the Office of the Prime Minister phrased it, writing “in a vein that was started with the Egrant lies”.

He expects us to take his word for it because the full findings of the inquiry remain under wraps.

Karl Cini’s leaked emails to Mossack Fonseca clearly stated that the beneficial owners of two of the three Panama companies he asked them to open would be government minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri. The owner of the third company, Egrant, was too sensitive to disclose by email.

Speaking of Mizzi, we learned this past week that everyone’s favourite fixer has decided to stop roadblocking the inquiry into his shady dealings ordered by Magistrate Doreen Clarke. 

It’s important to remember that what he’s been fighting against is the collection and preservation of evidence.

In other words, they haven’t even got started yet. Like so much else with this government, all that talk of “wait for the conclusion of the investigation” is just smoke and mirrors.

The proof of Mizzi’s actions have been public since the Panama Papers broke. We’ve all seen the paper trail of emails, requests to open bank accounts, and the revelation that Mizzi’s Hearnville Inc and Keith Schembri’s Tillgate Inc would receive payments of up to $2 million from 17 Black, a company owned by power station investor Yorgen Fenech.

Does anyone seriously not know by this point that Mizzi broke the law?

But why roadblock an inquiry for three years, only to give in now?

Is the evidence safely shredded, and the money safely transferred somewhere else?

Is Mizzi confident that, even when this evidence has been officially compiled, it will be quietly shelved by the Attorney General and the police? So far, both the AG and the Police Commissioner haven’t been inclined to investigate anyone in Muscat’s inner circle no matter how much information emerges.

Or is Mizzi so confident now because Labour has stacked the decks of the judiciary, and he has nothing more to fear?

Mizzi claims an investigation will prove him innocent, but he blocks even the collection of evidence for three full years.

He has been well taken care of by his boss who, when asked why his declared savings have been exactly the same for the past four years despite a visibly lavish lifestyle, just grins and says he doesn’t manage to save any of his salary.

They don’t even bother pretending anymore.

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