Robert Abela’s unexplained luck

Some people have all the luck. With some, it’s extraordinarily good luck. It’s so extraordinary, it’s unexplained.

Take Robert Abela before he became prime minister. There was no unexplained luck involved in the multiple, lucrative contracts with government ministries and State authorities — amounting to a minimum of €28,000 per month.

That was, surely, down to best-in-Europe expertise and a willingness to work on Sundays. Well, at least we were given that explanation.

As a property developer, however, Abela has had extraordinary luck that he refuses to explain. He’s made hundreds of thousands of euros off property development. And he’s had an uncanny knack for being involved in deals when planning permits arrive exactly when needed.

In the notorious deal with Christian Borg, a former client of Abela’s who is now charged with kidnapping, the development permit arrived on the very same day that Abela entered the deal.

In the purchase of the Zejtun ODZ property by Abela and his wife, the sanctioning of the many illegalities occurred just five days before the Abelas entered the contract in 2017.

But their luck didn’t end there. Several experts have given the mansion a conservative market value, in 2017 prices, of at least €2 million. But the Abelas only paid €600,000.

At least that’s what they declared to the taxman. And now the taxman — who, as extraordinary luck would have it, was appointed by Abela’s government — is saying he’s not going to tell us if the tax department considers that amount credible or not.

Here’s the thing about luck, though. It’s not the same as a miracle. We call ‘miracles’ those things that can’t be explained at all. Good fortune, however, can be explained — say, by hard work, hanging around the right place, networking, and so on. It’s possible to explain how you were in a good position to grab opportunities when they came your way.

Abela’s luck, however, is unexplained. He denies it has anything to do with his former position as adviser to the Planning Authority. He also refuses to offer an alternative explanation for the serial coincidences.

Being a miracle worker is a good look for politicians. Repeatedly being the beneficiary of miracles, however, is highly suspicious. Ordinary people assume the worst. But what should the media do?

Currently, they simply report the suspicious circumstances but continue to refer to the events as striking coincidences. They stick to the presumption of innocence.

Maybe it’s time to reconsider this presumption when it comes to the State and governments — all governments.

The presumption of innocence is an essential pillar of a liberal justice system. It’s meant, however, to protect individuals against States that persecute them. It’s there to tame the power of the State and protect members of the public.

I’m arguing for a presumption of guilt only for governments and State entities. It would apply only to the court of public opinion. It aims to protect the public against the power of the State and keep the latter accountable. It would put the burden of proof on the government to show that suspicions of maladministration and corruption are unjustified.

We already have instances where the presumption of innocence is suspended. In the case of unexplained wealth, the burden of proof is on the individual to show the wealth was acquired lawfully. Should we not have a similar principle for unexplained luck?

If the media have done everything reasonable to get a politician to address the question, but still he or she refuses to explain, or even to confirm or deny an allegation, then the story should be reported as confirmed. It’s then up to the politician to provide evidence to the contrary.

We don’t have to put up with a government that repeatedly claims that the dog has eaten its documents — be it a Memorandum of Understanding, a letter of appointment, and all documentation and emails to do with Joseph Muscat’s entitlements, even though the disgraced former prime minister and his wife must be invoicing the government for their perks.

In such cases, the media can simply report their story as confirmed. If it’s wrong, the government will publish the documented proof. It took a national uproar for a Memorandum of Understanding, signed with Vitals Global Healthcare, to change in status from “lost” to “found” — after Abela reacted to the uproar.

The presumption of innocence is there to protect the weak from the powerful. Governments and State entities have considerable resources to explain themselves.

We don’t have to put up with missing documents as though they’re misplaced car keys. We don’t have to put up with contracts as though they’re a Sherlock Holmes mystery. If no one, not even his boss, knows what a person of trust does, or where his office is, or even which entity technically employs him, then it’s a corrupt contract.

And if the EU Prosecutor, Laura Kovesi, couldn’t get the authorities to tell her who is investigating financial crime, the story isn’t that she doesn’t know who is doing the investigations. In fact, she knows: no one is investigating. That’s the story. The burden is on the government to prove otherwise.

                           
                               
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Mariatheresa Micallef
Mariatheresa Micallef
18 days ago

Here’s hoping that Police Commissioner Gafa’ reads this article. Magari !

viv
viv
18 days ago

I’m afraid Gafa is busy with his full-time job of looking the other way.

Greed
Greed
18 days ago

It won’t make any difference as he knows it all along but has been told he can’t act on it

Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
18 days ago

In monetary terms we are looking at the loss of some 70,000 euros in stamp duty. I recall a friend being visited by the CIR architect on the sale of a bleeding car space.

Winston Smith
Winston Smith
18 days ago

Occam’s razor: Between two competing theories, Abela ‘suffering’ from extraordinary luck or he is outright corrupt, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred. I am sure Dr Marmara with his €5000 per month could work out the odds for us.

Last edited 18 days ago by Winston Smith
KLAUS
KLAUS
18 days ago
Reply to  Winston Smith

Just type in ‘Robert Abela Corruption’ into Google and browse through the many lines of results.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
18 days ago

In local politics nothing happens by coincidence. You bet it was well planned that way.,

joseph
joseph
18 days ago

Very well-written article by Mr.Fsadni, but sadly the impunity culture on this little island is firmly rooted and a million article like the above will change nothing.

KLAUS
KLAUS
18 days ago

The cutlet for ROBBER Abela and the Political looters (PL),
the breadcrumbs for the Maltese:
‘Let them be happy that there is still something on the plate!’

I feel sick when I see how much money flows from the EU on Malta in “pockets”, where it does not belong,
with is miserable when I see how hard many Maltese have to work for your income/survival.

Poor Malta

MA Caruana
MA Caruana
18 days ago

On a similar note. Under procurement rules the government and state entities are obliged to publish certain basic details about contracts awarded etc. Yet when such information is not published and an FOI request is lodged, they play the victim and refuse to give the information. They even have the audacity to invoke “their right” (because they need protection) not to divulge the information as their position might be prejudiced, even citing ongoing lawsuits if that suits them! So the giant plays the victim and the little man becomes more suspicious. The bottom line is: the proof that corruption is rife, remains securely hidden behind the precincts of the law.

carmelo borg
18 days ago

X luck ghandu il Bobby hej mhux bhal ZAMMİT LEWİS, ALEX MUSCAT CHRİS AGİUS U MİCHEAL FARRUGİA. Dawk veru kienu UNLUCKY İMSİEKEN

Albert Beliard
Albert Beliard
17 days ago

Robert Abela’s “unexplained luck” is basically an abuse of power and Police Commissioner Gafa (who was placed in that position by ‘Mafia Chief’ Joseph Muscat) is his impotent puppet.

Unfortunately, there is a conspiracy between the OPM, the police and the judiciary, and the only way to get rid of this ugly corruption is to have a strong knockout punch come from the European Administration and the FATF by placing a halt on EU funds and continue with the grey-listing until Malta abides by the laws/rules of a civilized nation.

This evil corrupt regime who is still f****** around with ancient delay tactics is believing that they can continue with their crafty games, lies and fraud, even insisting to continue with a Golden Passports and residency scheme to dodgy foreigners, with the same intention to abuse the programme. ‘Soft punches’ will not work from within Malta, and hard actions need to be applied on Malta and its gangsters.

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
16 days ago

THE ANSWER WAS SUPPLIED BY SOME 60,000 VOTERS
WHO ABSTAINED FROM VOTING OR INVALIDATED THEIR
VOTE, THEREBY REJECTING A COMPLETELY CORRUPT
POLITICAL SYSTEM. I HOPE THEIR NUMBER CONTINUES
TO INCREASE AND INCREASE.
NEVER, EVER, TRUST THE PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVES,
THEY WILL ALWAYS, UNFAILINGLY, DECEIVE YOU.

Steve
Steve
16 days ago
Reply to  joe tedesco

Not voting will not stop corruption.

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