Delusional vows won’t get us off grey list any faster

PN leader Bernard Grech pledged yesterday he would get Malta off the FATF grey list in three months if his party wins the next elections. He was reacting to finance ministry permanent secretary Alfred Camillieri’s statement that it would take 18 months for Malta to be rehabilitated.

Observers called Grech’s promise “bold”, and indeed, it would have been if the next elections were being held next month, or even next season. But they’re not. And Grech has no say over when they’re called and, crucially, no idea what situation he’d find if elections were held imminently and he found himself having to fulfil this promise.

The latest possible date the elections can be held is September of next year, which would bring us very close to the 18 months Camilleri forecast and around the same length of time that Iceland spent on the grey list after it was penalised in the same way in 2019.

They’re assuming the FATF will treat us like it did Iceland. But there’s no guarantee it will, and indeed, the likelihood is that it’s going to take a lot longer to bring Malta back into the fold of respectable jurisdictions. Grech’s 90-day pledge, even if the countdown does start a year from now, is just as unfeasible as Camilleri’s.

Both claims see a return to respectability at around the same time, after all. And both are irresponsible claims that could mislead people about the severity of Malta’s situation.

Katrin Juliusdottir, Iceland’s former finance minister, speaking at a conference on 13 July about the implications of Malta’s greylisting, said that after her country was taken off the FATF’s grey list, the government initiated a post-mortem, to identify what got them onto the grey list in the first place.

Malta, if it ever succeeds in passing muster again, won’t need to hold anything like that. We know exactly why we got slammed onto the grey list. But if there’s a single Maltese person who still feels it was “unjust”, Repubblika’s gallery of knaves outside the police headquarters on Tuesday and its calls for police chief Angelo Gafa to get moving should have settled that for them once and for all.

Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, Lawrence Cutajar, Silvio Valletta, Rosianne Cutajar, John Dalli, Edward Scicluna, Chris Cardona, Michelle Muscat, Carmelo Abela, Justyne Caruana. These names, and many more, are the main reasons Malta was put on the grey list.

Their outright criminal behaviour, not only going unpunished, but denied and perpetuated by the entire corps of government, is what enabled and emboldened the infiltration of foreign organised crime gangs into the very fabric of Malta’s hard-won financial services industry, selling them passports and allowing them to leach into every aspect of the economy, from catering to tourism, real estate and retailing.

Prime Minister Robert Abela’s blustering statements about doing everything necessary to get Malta off the grey list have already been proven to be a lie. The FATF made it clear that the reason Malta was greylisted was that known criminals were being allowed to get away with serious financial crimes that threaten the security of the entire international community, who had not been investigated by the police despite clear incriminating evidence, who had not been charged with any wrongdoing, and most importantly, who have not been convicted, jailed or punished in any way.

Instead, they stride about the island brazenly trumpeting their impunity, being rewarded with seats in cabinet, consultancies, lucrative government contracts, ambassadorships and chairmanships of government entities.

We had the revolting example of Rosianne “Nuxellina” Cutajar comparing herself to a flower that grows back after it’s been trampled and posting “life is beautiful” captions beneath photographs of herself on a yacht, in quasi-pornographic positions with her boyfriend.

We have Michelle Muscat endlessly waxing lyrical about the saintliness of her criminal husband, branded 2019’s most corrupt man of the year, enabler, at the very least, of some of the most corrupt deals of any government in any country.

We have Carmelo Abela, accused of being an actual, real-life bank robber, still a government minister, still shamelessly writing pontificating opinion pieces for newspapers that should know better than to publish them.

We have minister after minister exposed as using irregular procedures to pour public money into their chum’s wallets, giving jobs to their paramours, employing their constituents en masse to do non-jobs, doling out direct order contracts in complete contempt of the Auditor General’s rebukes, in utter disdain of the fact that Malta is being scrutinised by eyes a lot sharper and less easily hoodwinked than their prime minister’s.

We have avaricious individuals, the Apap Bolognas, Gasans, Fenechs, Debonos, Gaffarenas and a host of others too numerous to list here, treating the public with an arrogance born only of their confidence in the government’s sleaze-mongering bumpkins’ protection, as they continue siphoning money from the public purse through some of the most corrupt deals in history.

We have John Dalli, the turncoat former minister and disgraced EU commissioner who shamed his entire country by trying to export his sordid corruption tactics to Brussels, now simmering slowly in his own rancid juices, still spitting venom at the journalist murdered by his colleagues and their associates and reminding everyone that he too, is still at large.

Anyone who hasn’t yet watched ‘Storyville: The Great European Cigarette Mystery’ – a documentary about Dalli’s sacking after an investigation by the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) alleged that he’d solicited a bribe of €60 million from snus producer Swedish Match – should make a point of doing so.

The import of the details of the tawdry affair are almost eclipsed by Dalli’s mortifyingly farcical attempts to trick the investigators into believing that he was set up by then President of the European Commission, Jose Barroso.

Dalli claimed to the two Danish journalists who made the film that he’d received emails from a mysterious individual named Maria who said she/he could prove Barroso had been bribed by Big Tobacco. One of these emails actually pinged through while the two reporters were interviewing Dalli. But of course, not being brain-dead stooges, the two soon worked out that Maria was none other than Desperate Dalli himself.

The path back to respectability and the white list hasn’t even been mapped out, let alone paved or taken. All of the above need to be investigated properly, charged and punished, before the FATF will consider allowing this nation of larcenists back onto the world finance stage.

Camilleri posited that it would take 18 months. Abela blustered that he’d appoint more investigators, more judges, more regulators. He’s already wasted a month on more empty rhetoric, lies, continued impunity and a complete absence of any action to address the wrongdoing that dragged this country into the PL’s natural environment of putrid sludge.

According to every survey I’ve seen, opposition leader Bernard Grech is unlikely to be elected prime minister at the next polls. But even if he were, and even if Abela began to take the FATF seriously and started pushing Gafa to do his job, Grech has no chance of fulfilling his “bold” pledge.

Malta’s descent into dishonour has been so all-encompassing that it’s almost impossible to imagine it being corrected. Investigations take years to complete and then they’re often inconclusive. Court cases can drag on for decades, evidence gets “lost”, witnesses fail to turn up.

The FATF rightly said it wants to see the enforcement, prosecutions and convictions. The reality is Malta no longer has enough people with the integrity to deliver those things, and even if it did, there’s no way this could happen in 18 months. Anyone who thinks there’s any quick route off the grey list is seriously delusional.

                           
                               
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viv
viv
2 months ago

The reality is theft and murder.

Henry s Pace
Henry s Pace
2 months ago

‘ Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, Lawrence Cutajar, Silvio Valletta, Rosianne Cutajar, John Dalli, Edward Scicluna, Chris Cardona, Michelle Muscat, Carmelo Abela, Justyne Caruana. ‘
If all these named people would ever be convicted, while in prison they would corrupt all the other prisoners. 

John
John
2 months ago

FIAU’s lack of action in very well known cases is one of the major reasons why Malta made it to the grey list of FATF. Bernard Grech, if elected as Prime Minister, should ensure that those at FIAU responsible for that, be investigated. And most importantly, that FIAU acts on those very well known cases.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
2 months ago

With one breath Robert Abela tells us that he is doubling the effort to get of FATF. With the next breath he tells us the grey listing has no impact on the country. What a hypocrite he is.

Henry s Pace
Henry s Pace
2 months ago
Reply to  saviour mamo

Highly inconsistent.
bully bobby has no rudder nor sails,

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
2 months ago

Bernard Grech should promise us that if the PN wins the next general election, the police Commissioner Anglu Gafa will be the first one to go.

James
James
2 months ago

The same set of names on the list, and it misses many many more implicated on the ICIJ data bases from the Panama and Paradise Papers and Luanda Leaks – check it out to see how many other well known names appear as directors, judicial/legal representatives, auditors on the hundreds of shell companies registered in Malta which are on those data bases.

Then to add insult to injury the crazy politicians say they will be off the ‘ Grey List’ inside 18 months…. they are, as Blanche says, delusional beyond belief! Something which the FATF is clearly not, along with anyone who actually stops to reflect on the stark reality of the situation in which the country now finds itself.

Leonard Schembri
Leonard Schembri
2 months ago

Procrastination until the next election is the government’s ideal strategic choice at the moment. Rumours have it that the election will be held in October to avoid the annual budget. After the election, we’re bound to be tasting, for the first time, the sour taste of the Labour Party’s budget in government. The PN have no chance whatsoever of winning the next election. The big question is: Will Robert Abela be allowing certain MPs and ex-PSs to contest the next election to distance himself from these people?

James
James
2 months ago

I would suggest the BIG QUESTION is the one Pieter Omtzigt has been asking on behalf of us all is for months now…. When will the first successful prosecution be brought?

Not some small cog in the wheel either, but someone from the “ untouchables “ to demonstrate to the watching world – and the world is watching- that Malta is paying more than lip service to put its house in order.

Just don’t hold your breath…

Joseph Ellul-Grech
2 months ago

For many years I have been asking to have disgraced corrupt former EU commissioner John Dalli. I made my requests to Dr E Fenech Adami, Dr Gonzi, Police Commissioner G. Grech, Police Commissioner P.P. Zammit and Police Commissioner A. Gafa. They all turned a blind eye.

John Dalli colluded with the police, the judiciary and others to cover up his involvement in the Daewoo scandal from which he and Joe Gaffarena made many millions.

To do this he framed me and claimed that I had distrusted 20, 000 anonymous letters claiming to defame him.

Thousands of Daewoo clients and BOV were defrauded of millions of Maltese Liri. It was all covered up. John Dalli and Joe Gaffarena were the main beneficiaries from the Daewoo fraud (evidence still available).

It is quite shocking how a corrupt politician like John Dalli has never been held accountable for his criminal activities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P8YVgzyZF0
https://ec-eu-john-dalli.blogspot.com/
https://jeg-ds73.blogspot.com/2021/02/disgraced-former-eu-commissioner-john.html

Anthony Sciriha
Anthony Sciriha
2 months ago

The only consolation I see is the fact that FINALLY GOD WILL EXECUTE HIS TERRIBLE JUSTICE on all the CORRUPT swindlers still roaming the streets free as the butterfly. No body fools God, ETERNITY is such a long, long TIME.

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