Standards Commissioner George Hyzler’s shocking report into MP Rosianne Cutajar’s behaviour exposes her as a liar, a thief and a woman with no ability to judge right from wrong, let alone the righteous from the miscreants.
Her unsavoury dealings with a man known to be the owner of a Dubai company set up launder illicit income from corrupt deals have long scandalized the general public, including many of those who support the Labour Party and may even have voted for her.
Her shady past as a Catania “hostess,” whatever that may mean, and her close “friendship” with accused murderer and owner of money laundering vehicle 17 Black – Yorgen Fenech – despite his being married, showed her up as a woman with no morals, a cheap, tawdry individual who would run roughshod over other people’s lives, intent only on getting what she wanted, when she wanted it.
The clear judgement of the Standards Commissioner, that she did indeed take cash as her cut from a property deal in which she brokered the sale of a €3.1 million house in Mdina to her “close friend” Fenech, brands her as a liar: apart from anything else, she’s long denied having anything to do with the deal or earning any sort of commission from it.
It shows her to be someone who would compromise herself for money, who would breach regulations and bring ignominy onto the highest institution in the land. It exposes her, a supposed lawmaker, as a tax evader who thought nothing of accepting an envelope of cash under a restaurant table.
More than anything, it brands her totally unfit to be a member of parliament, totally unequipped to be trusted with the lives and future of the Maltese people. How could anyone ever trust her judgement or motives again? How could anyone ever believe that she would put her duty to the country ahead of her own selfish urges?
Her recent campaigns, to legalise abortion and prostitution and to introduce euthanasia, have served as useful smokescreens when the revulsion towards her increased as more of her misdeeds were exposed.
What will happen, though, in the next elections, when Cutajar, as she declared defiantly on Sunday, presents herself as a Labour Party candidate again?
Never mind that this woman has used her position in the Council of Europe to defend an accused murderer and money launderer; never mind that everyone knows now that she was prepared to risk another woman’s devastation simply because she was flattered by the sleazy attentions, or fat wallet, of that woman’s husband.
Never mind that she knowingly broke strict parliamentary rules to help her sidekick (dejjem miegħi kienet!) find a wealthy buyer for a property and, apparently, sought to profit from it; never mind that she accepted banknotes in an envelope in a public place, failed to declare it or pay taxes on it, and then lied through her teeth about it, for years.
Never mind all that, because despite the salacious gossip behind her back, believe it or not, she’s almost certain to be re-elected. Unless a miracle occurs and the stooge masquerading as prime minister expels her from the PL parliamentary group, the appalling likelihood is that Nuxellina returns like the proverbial bad penny.
As we grapple with the detail, poring over news reports of yet another scandal, yet another favourite given a plum job, yet another donor-developer given an outrageous permit, it’s sometimes useful to pull back a bit and view the whole situation from a distance. To look at the overall picture of what Malta has become, eight years after it was hijacked by a criminal gang intent on ransacking and pillaging at all costs.
That overall picture is nothing less than a real-life horror show. The people in charge are all crooks, some accused of corruption, others of money laundering, others, even, of involvement in a murder that shook most of the western world – the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The criminal gang includes the prime minister – adviser to his disgraced predecessor, all the members of his cabinet, even those without specific accusations against them but who enabled and facilitated the rule of crime with their votes and their support.
The list of villains stretches out endlessly; from the very highest levels of government to the lowest, from the big businesses and wealthy contractors to the small-time chancers snatching at the crumbs of corruption that fall their way. It includes a mind-boggling number of officials and government lackeys, from the governor of the Central Bank – the discredited former finance minister on whose watch the worst crimes against the country were carried out by his colleagues, with total impunity – to the gun-toting, aggressive drivers of ministers-turned-High Commissioners who spend their free time counting the cash hoards under their beds.
It includes former ministers forced out for lying about their whereabouts instead of admitting they’d played hookey to cavort with prostitutes in a brothel. It includes the masterminds of the snatch-and-grab scheme hatched by scoundrels such as disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat’s closest friend and evil genius Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi – the latter still occupying a seat in parliament, creeping in every day to sign in and then slinking silently out again like the despised Biblical snake slithering off in shame after being banished from the Garden of Eden for corrupting Adam and Eve.
Seen from a distance, this looks like some kind of TV drama series filmed in a prison for the criminally insane. One in which Rosianne “Nuxellina” Cutajar’s character fits in perfectly.
The sleaze, the lack of morals, the eager phone calls to her “friend” – and who knew that MPs have time for random jaunts to Mdina to look at houses they have no interest in? And then wait around for some lowbrow casino boss to turn up, “very late” and only after he’d been hunted down via a hundred phone calls?
Standing around in the street waiting, tongue hanging out, for one of the most disreputable characters on the island. And Robert Abela promotes her to junior minister.
And yet. She’ll be re-elected. She’s so sure of it, she’s actually using it to try to brazen out the hideous disgrace of the Standards Commissioner’s verdict. Her arrogant bravado on Sunday would have made any decent person retch in disgust.
But the ugly truth about Malta is that she’s probably right, and just like that arch-criminal Muscat, his accomplices Chris Cardona and Konrad Mizzi and the rest of the rotten PL bunch in 2017, she’ll saunter back into parliament after the next elections, carrying a much roomier handbag, and an even cockier smirk.
The philosopher Joseph de Maistre said every nation gets the government it deserves. For a long time, I thought Malta didn’t warrant this catastrophe. But if the voters bring Nuxellina back to haunt us again next time around, then truly, there’ll be no question about it. This country will deserve everything it gets – and more.