Plus ça change…

Robert Abela has been Prime Minister for two months, succeeding the crowned most corrupt person in the world, Joseph Muscat who resigned in disgrace last January.

During his first few days in office I was among those who thought that it looked like the new premier was going to take the right decisions. He kept Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona out of his Cabinet, he sacked the police commissioner and stopped a number of consultancies that bought silence.  But that was it.

It was only an illusion, a false impression. Robert Abela did keep his promise, for continuity.

With all the damning proof that there is that Mizzi and Keith Schembri were involved in money laundering, they are still free men.

To be fair, Abela did react and stopped Mizzi’s last reward from Muscat – an €80,000 consultancy job at the Malta Tourism Authority – although it was probably the media and public outcry that forced him to act, otherwise Mizzi would still be earning €1,500 a week.

Schembri is still looking for his mobile phone while going for walks with his neighbour Neville Gafa. After, they see the papers together, obviously not speaking about corruption or murder inquiries, as Gafa told the public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death.

With witnesses from Yorgen Fenech’s compilation of evidence and the public inquiry pointing their fingers to him, Schembri continues to be left in peace by the police. They also allow him to come and go as he pleases.

Former Assistant Commissioner Silvio Valletta, who allegedly passed on to Yorgen Fenech information about the progress of police investigators, resigned but he too remains a free man.

As is Lawrence Cutajar who, after ‘resigning’ from his post as Police Commissioner after pressure from civil society, was handed a consultancy contract worth more than €30,000 annually. This is the price that we taxpayers have to pay for Lorry to keep his mouth shut.

Gafa, Muscat’s representative in Libya, is still a free man too despite evidence that he profited from the health visas scam. We heard recordings of his dealings with Libyan wounded soldiers. Witnesses said under oath that he was willing to pay them €300,000 not to give evidence against him in court. Just how much did Gafa, a salesman before Labour came to power, make?

We heard how he stalked Caruana Galizia and encouraged others to take photos of her to send to him to ridicule on social media. And yet, he is still being investigated, with no action taken by the police or by the Home Affairs Minister.

Corrupt police officers have yet to be arraigned in court for their corruption. Over 40 police officers were arrested after a whistleblower reported a racket that has been going on for years in which traffic police officers stole hundreds of thousands of euro in unworked overtime. They even had an officer taking care of their own bank account.

Yet the Prime Minister keeps saying “the institutions are working” and “justice will be served”. When?

Contractors often seen at the Hamrun Glass House before the election of 2013 are still raping Malta’s environment. They are still doing whatever they want, breaching laws with impunity. Their arrogance killed a wife and a mother last week. But they paid protection money, didn’t they?

They continue to build, they continue to dominate, they continue to kill. The last victim was Miriam Pace. But “these things happen” according to the President of the Malta Developers Association Sandro Chetcuti.  An arrogant Minister Ian Borg said, “people also die in traffic accidents”.

Nothing has been done regarding 17 Black and Macbridge, companies set up for kickbacks to Mizzi and Schembri, according to leaked emails. No action has been taken against the firm that set them up the offshore companies for those at the helm of government, Nexia BT.

Nothing has been done to try and find out who really owns Egrant, now we know the flaws in the inquiry. Was Johnny ‘cash’ Dalli right in saying that it belonged to the Labour Party, or are we still covering up for Muscat?

Even before his reign, Muscat and his ‘star candidate’ Mizzi colluded with the Tumas-Gasan-Apap Bologna network to prepare the granting of the Electrogas contract, which is costing us double the current price of gas and will continue sucking money from taxpayers for the next 16 years. No wonder The Muscats e bella compania were guests at a festive binge at Level 22 at Portomaso.

After completing the Electrogas deal, Muscat and his close friends started working on how to give three public hospitals to Vitals, costing the Maltese taxpayers millions of euros. Mizzi even waived another €9 million guarantee.

Ram Tumuluri ‘gave himself’ a €5 million performance bonus before transferring the deal to Steward Healthcare. Although the company owes some €16 million in taxes, like Oliver they are asking for more because they are “subsiding Malta’s health.” What are they playing at?

No, Prime Minister, you did not keep your word. Apart from some cosmetic changes, everything is still the same as it was during Muscat’s reign. He remains king and you are still using the public coffer to buy silence.

We can see through you. You are a replica of your predecessor. For you, the Party comes before the common good. But don’t forget that the mighty ‘Invictus’ fell, and so could you.

Abela needs to act. Now. An independent inquiry should start investigating crimes committed against the Maltese taxpayers by government ministers, senior public officials and, quoting Alfred Sant, “friends of friends”.

It was painful to watch Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo squirm while answering questions by Deutsche Welle journalist Tim Sebastian on the programme Conflict Zone.  Despite his best efforts to avoid questions, like Marcel Hirscher slithering through poles during a grand slalom, Bartolo could not justify the government’s record.

He was forced to accept that “under Muscat’s leadership, criminality and corruption flourished, and in many cases went unpunished.”

Abela must do the right thing – for Malta’s sake, not for him or his Party. He has a duty to try to restore some of the irreparable damage that Muscat and his cronies have caused to our Malta.

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