Curiouser and curiouser

After eating magic cake, Alice’s neck shot up like a telescope, unfurling until her head touched the ceiling.  “Curiouser and curiouser,” she exclaimed.

That expression from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ alludes to a world where normal rules don’t apply, which is where we’re at – down the rabbit hole into Robert Abela’s wonderland, inhabited by terrifying creatures, and where events get madder and madder.

Emerging from enforced quarantine, Robert Abela faced his umpteenth hot potato. Minister Carmelo Abela was making headlines again – for the wrong reasons again.

This time it wasn’t for abusing government workers to build a wooden veranda on his private residence roof. Neither for abusing taxpayers’ money to promote himself and force the prime minister’s hand to keep his job. Or for forgetting who had ordered him to vindictively recall Andrew Caruana Galizia from his diplomatic post. Or even for forgetting to inform the parliamentary committee that his proposed High Commissioner to Ghana was linked with a fugitive fraudster wanted by the police.

This time Carmelo Abela excelled himself. He forgot he gave evidence about the HSBC heist. For a minister, he surely has a problem with amnesia. If he keeps forgetting Maltese fugitive fraudsters in Ghana and violent bank robberies involving dramatic shoot-outs it’s hard for his prime minister to believe a word he says.

But the prime minister has no niggling doubts about Carmelo Abela. Vince Muscat, il-Koħħu, and the Degiorgio brothers claimed that a sitting minister was directly involved in the bank heist. For his part in the scheme, that minister would pocket €300,000. A bank insider provided access cards to the vault and mobile phone footage of how to access it.  Carmelo Abela admitted he was part of the small team that issued access cards.

The police found il-Koħħu’s and the Degiorgios’ claims credible. And launched an investigation into Carmelo Abela and the failed HSBC heist.

But in his wonderland, Robert Abela was having none of it. The allegations, the prime minister insisted, are the result of a “conspiracy between the PN and criminals”.

There is a “strategy and synergy between the PN and organised crime,” he announced. And if you were baffled as to how the prime minister reached this conclusion while providing no evidence, he assured us that “in future more proof will emerge of how PN conspires with organised crime”. For the Leader of a Party that keeps demanding proof for the obvious, evidence for his wild claims is sorely lacking.

The prime minister declared that the PN is trying to gain power by tainting the Minister. Actually, he’s done a pretty good job of it himself.

Robert Abela was flabbergasted how a person accused of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder was given such credibility. But wasn’t it Robert Abela who gave il-Koħħu credibility on 23 February 2021? Abela, and his Cabinet, were so convinced of il-Koħħu’s credibility that he was given a pardon which declared that Muscat would assist the investigations through “credible, reliable and verifiable information”.

Muscat was not only accused but convicted of the murder. Yet Robert Abela found him credible.  If a man guilty of a journalist’s murder is credible, why are those presumed innocent, not credible? Abela’s logic is as hair-brained and nonsensical as the pigeon’s in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

The police don’t doubt the Degiorgios’ and il-Kohhu’s credibility and their allegations about Carmelo Abela. If they doubted it they would not have launched an investigation and requested the release of Carmelo Abela’s sworn testimony he had forgotten about.

The prime minister’s statement is an affront to the police. ‘How can you believe these people?’, he complains. Yet he’s the one who believed il-Koħħu and requested his pardon. The two Abelas only believe the criminal when it suits them.

“The time for decisions to be taken by Żeppi l-Ħafijiet of this world is over,” Robert Abela bragged. “I’m proud to have broken this circle of criminality”.

Żeppi l-Ħafi, who ran the St Julian’s Labour Party bar, was granted a pardon which led to the arraignment of Meinrad Calleja, later acquitted, but at the time suspected of having commissioned the attempted murder of Richard Cachia Caruana. But Robert Abela granted a pardon to a convicted murderer. Which circle of criminality the prime minister refers to is an utter mystery.  And how he has broken it, an even bigger one.  But Abela believes, like Lewis Carroll’s Bellman in the ‘Hunting of the Snark’, that “what I tell you three times is true”.

The two Abelas’ absurd strategy belongs in Lewis Caroll’s work. While one provides pardons for convicted criminals and the other is an alleged accomplice in a violent bank robbery, their cunning plan is to accuse others of conspiring with criminals.

That a minister of State should resign while under investigation for a serious crime is a sensible and reasonable expectation in any decent democracy. But the Abelas not only reject decency but revel in wild and unsubstantiated accusations of conspiracy with organized crime against those who dare expect it.

Carmelo Abela ‘voluntarily’ went to the police headquarters to make a statement about “the calumny levelled against me by the PN”. But the police weren’t happy. They called him back two days later for questioning.

His story didn’t add up. He forgot he had previously been called to testify in the case.  He later remembered he testified, but only as a bank representative. He repeatedly refused to answer whether he had been questioned under caution.

‘Do you not feel you should step down?’, Abela was asked. No answer. Instead, he demanded PN MP Jason Azzopardi’s resignation.

‘Were you aware of the investigation prior to being notified by Judge Giovanni Grixti?’ No answer. “False allegations”, “a conspiracy between PN and criminals,” he raged. His prime minister agreed. Robert Abela will only take action against Carmelo when credible proof emerges.

That’s exactly what Joseph Muscat said about Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. Where are they now?

“Why, you’re nothing but a pack of cards,” Alice exclaimed as she grasped the futility of attempting to comprehend the nonsensical.

                           
                               
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Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
24 days ago

Bobby was the new broom prime minister coming out of the PL HQ when he was forced by a journalist to confess that his disgraced predecessor and client had failed to act for three long years post-Panama scandal in not firing Mizzi and Schembri. A year later he is wallowing in the same pit of compromises.

Last edited 24 days ago by Paul Pullicino
Simon Oosterman
Simon Oosterman
24 days ago

Malta is indeed Wonderland. So much so that the inhabitants do not wonder anymore.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
24 days ago

Would that be because their ability to wonder has somehow been stymied?

Running Commentary
Running Commentary
24 days ago

“Or for forgetting who had ordered him to vindictively recall Andrew Caruana Galizia from his diplomatic post.”

stopped reading there and then. Like it makes sense to have your diplomatic corps manned by people holding their country in contempt.

hallina Kevin. Stick to medicine which you handle much much better.

Eduard Azzopardi
Eduard Azzopardi
24 days ago

Europe pls, give us art. 7 and Moneyval give us a BLACK list, that’s the only way to get a positive change in this mafia country.

M.Galea
M.Galea
22 days ago

Spot on, so true

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
24 days ago

‘Curiouser and curiouser’, you say? Should it rather be ‘murkier and murkier’?

Or would ‘filthier and filthier’ be even more appropriate?

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
24 days ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela, and HONOURABLE Minister Carmelo Abela – you seem to be seeing criminals everywhere, without finding them. May I suggest you both visit and walk through a hall of mirrors, where you are guaranteed to find a multiple of what you are looking for, without taxing your confused brains too much, and ending up with chronic amnesia.
While you are there, you may wish to consider having your cabinet meetings and parliamentary committee meetings, in the same hall.

Cikku Poplu
Cikku Poplu
23 days ago

It seems that we still have not reached the end of this rabbit hole!

Truth to be Told
Truth to be Told
22 days ago

Kevin, it would be interesting for us to get to know why Carmelo Abela lost Identity Malta after some time that he was running the show as Minister for Home Affairs. Do not ask him straightaway, please save him precious time as he will make huge fatigue to remember.

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