Civil society NGO Repubblika spared no criticism for Prime Minister Robert Abela and Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’ for “allowing impunity to reign”, demanding during a press conference held on Monday evening, that the government publish all contracts signed since 2013.
“Robert Abela should show us that he and others he is close to have nothing to hide. Publish, in all their entirety, the contracts that government signed since 2013,” Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said as a group of activists gathered in front of parliament.
As for the police commissioner, Repubblika argued that the “probation period” for Gafa’ is over and that “enough excuses have been made”.
“Prime minister, police commissioner: there is only one truth and it is clear for everyone to see. Under your rule, you allowed impunity to reign,” Aquilina said.
He also made it clear that the organisation was not averse to going back to protesting regularly if “that’s the only way we can be heard”, repeatedly pointing out that Abela became prime minister because his predecessor was deposed.
Aquilina also rattled off a long list of cases that the government has done little to follow up on, asking the police commissioner about when action will be taken on corruption scandals involving John Dalli, Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona, Silvio Valletta, Lawrence Cutajar, Joseph Muscat and Joe Cuschieri.
He also referred to pending prosecutions related to government deals that were (or still are) being investigated in relation to corruption, including the Montenegro wind farm deal, the VGH deal, the “dragging of feet” on the Macbridge investigation and the Electrogas contract.
Malta’s greylisting, Repubblika said, was due to “the lack of credibility vested in Maltese institutions”, leading the international community to deem the island problematic in terms of rule of law and high profile money laundering prosecutions.
He also referred to Abela’s decision earlier on Monday to “confirm” Cutajar’s resignation, which had been described as a ‘temporary suspension’ back in February as Standards Commissioner George Hyzler was still investigating the claims.
“Now, after Commissioner Hyzler’s report made the closeness between Rosianne Cutajar and Yorgen Fenech clearer, Abela does not even have the decency to remove her from Labour’s parliamentary group,” Aquilina said.
“While it is true that he cannot remove her as an MP, he can remove her from his parliamentary group. He can, but he doesn’t want to. He can, but he is choosing to avoid fulfilling his duty,” Repubblika’s president added.
Aquilina also flagged some of Abela’s decisions, including one of his first to assign Konrad Mizzi as Malta’s official delegate at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Abela is also responsible for the appointment of former finance minister Edward Scicluna, being investigated regarding the Vitals hospitals deal, as the current governor of Malta’s Central Bank.
“We saw all of this and denounced it, and others away from our shores saw it too,” Aquilina said. “For all of this, the consequences will not be carried by Robert Abela, or Joseph Muscat, or any police commissioner we had, have, or are yet to have,” Aquilina continued.
“The ones who will end up paying the price for all of this are the workers of Malta and Gozo,” he added.