Scicluna’s shameless secrecy

“It was my prerogative, and I don’t need to give a reason for it,” former finance minister Edward Scicluna rudely rebutted at the Information and Data Protection Appeals Tribunal.

Scicluna is still refusing to reveal the list of candidates he was presented with in 2014 to fill a post on the FIAU board. Out of that list, Scicluna picked Silvio Valletta, then husband of former Minister Justyne Caruana.

Scicluna defended his objectionable decision by claiming ministerial discretion.  For Scicluna, discretion means doing as he pleases. Scicluna failed to realise he was a minister, not an emperor.

Ministerial discretion requires the application of skills, competencies and value judgements to make the best choice for the country and the people to whom you should be accountable.

Protecting your colleagues who looted the country is not ministerial discretion.  It’s aiding and abetting crime.

Scicluna feels he is not accountable to anybody.  He believes being a minister put him above such petty issues.

Scicluna’s mentality is permeated with the same Soviet stench that emanated from his 1980s grey suit as he stood in front of Xandir Malta’s cameras at the general elections counting hall.

That Soviet stench is the stink of secrecy. Labour promised transparency, the oxygen of democracy. Instead, Scicluna delivers the poison gas of secrecy.

Repeatedly, Scicluna went absolutely berserk when secrets were revealed.  When FIAU reports about Konrad Mizzi’s and Keith Schembri’s alleged money laundering were leaked, Scicluna wasn’t appalled by his friends’ actions.  He was enraged by the leaking of the reports.  He went on the warpath, publicly accusing the FIAU of writing reports to leak them.

Instead of confronting his Cabinet colleague Mizzi and his prime minister’s chief of staff, Scicluna attacked the FIAU.  Scicluna even sacked FIAU compliance chief Charles Cronin and Jonathan Ferris. He then refused to answer all questions about his involvement.

In addition, he appointed Silvio Valletta to the board. Apart from Valletta’s obvious conflict of interest, as Justyne Caruana’s husband, there were serious probity issues. Valletta not only fooled around in Yorgen Fenech’s luxury vehicle, like an excitable teenager, but was daft enough to get filmed.

Valletta was so brazen that he travelled with Yorgen Fenech to watch Champions League football matches. He directly intervened to stop Fenech from being interrogated on the pretext that Fenech was unwell.

He blatantly refused to step down as chief investigator of the Caruana Galizia assassination despite being so close to the main suspect that the accused’s children called him Uncle Silvio.

Valletta’s judgement was clearly rotten, his integrity absent. Yet Scicluna shamelessly appointed him anyway.  And then blamed the police for nominating him. But Scicluna had a list to choose from.  One of those on the list was far more experienced and senior to Valletta, but Scicluna overlooked him.

“All three named were qualified and competent for the job – it is then the minister’s discretion,” Scicluna protested at the tribunal.

That’s not what he testified at the Caruana Galizia inquiry in 2020.  Under oath, he testified that out of three names on the list, he chose “the most senior”. Yet, on that list was Assistant Police Commissioner Pierre Calleja.

Calleja had served in the FIAU since its inception and was far more senior to Valletta, who was still a superintendent then and had no prior FIAU experience. Why was Scicluna so desperate to appoint Valletta?

Scicluna’s not saying. The real reasons for appointing Valletta are far too shameful. Scicluna appointed Valletta to ensure the FIAU didn’t work and wouldn’t work. And it certainly didn’t.

Scicluna’s FIAU was subsequently chastised publicly by the European Banking Authority for failing to implement anti-money laundering regulations against Pilatus Bank. Instead of hanging his head in shame, Scicluna mounted a pathetic defence of the FIAU he’d personally stuffed with lackeys.

He complained viciously when the Moneyval report was leaked.  His concern was that his wall of secrecy had been torn down.  He wasn’t fussed about the contents of that damning report which berated Malta’s failure to implement a half-decent anti-money laundering regime.

He then had the cheek to blame his failures on those who “instigated” Moneyval to take action against Malta through the Council of Europe. He lamented that “as a result of the fuss raised about Malta, the Moneyval team visiting the island was the biggest ever”.

That behaviour was typical Scicluna. First mess up, then blame others.

That’s exactly what he did at the Caruana Galizia inquiry. Instead of admitting his abject failure, his irresponsible recklessness and his wilful incompetence, he blamed “the kitchen cabinet”. As he started to feel the heat, he pinned the blame on them.

It wasn’t him, he didn’t know, he wasn’t informed.  That was your job, Scicluna – your responsibility to know, to find out, to question, to challenge. You weren’t meant to sit around and rubber stamp the obscenities of that ‘kitchen cabinet’.

Scicluna not only closed both eyes and looked away. He also made sure the institution he was responsible for, the FIAU, did the same.

In so doing, he provided his colleagues with protection from prosecution. He enabled Pilatus and Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and Joseph Muscat.

He didn’t just give his tacit consent.  He was their chief protector, strangling the institutions that should have been protecting the country and its citizens from serious financial crime — no wonder the country got greylisted.

Scicluna did everything in his power to conceal the alleged crimes of that “kitchen cabinet’. He did everything to guarantee their impunity – and still does.

He’s still concealing facts, refusing to answer legitimate questions, refusing to explain his dubious decisions and his suspect actions – and showing his contempt for the public.

For that, he’s been rewarded. He even jacked up the salary of Central Bank Governor before swiftly filling that post himself. That is the measure of the man who sold his soul so cheaply.

Scicluna’s disdainful disrespect towards the people is bad enough.  His insistence on rubbing it in our faces beggars belief.

His embarrassing self-humiliation elicits a touch of pity in a deluge of derision and disgust.

                           
                               
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makjavel
makjavel
11 days ago

Scicluna took Malta into a €9,000 MILLION Debt situation and counting, SECRETLY. This to keep his leader in Crime in Power. When asked about where are the monies coming in from the infamous passport sales , he put out a straight answer, HE DID NOT KNOW. Then he made sure that anybody who knew something was thrown out and threatened with prosecution . It became so bad that they killed the person who was arriving at the achilles heal of the Kitchen Cabinet. A MegaPUS of puss.

Last edited 11 days ago by makjavel
Francis Said
Francis Said
11 days ago

He surely did not stand up and abide by his oath of office, when chosen as Finance Minister.
He was more interested in being the puppet on a string, follow orders from the kitchen cabinet to the letter.
Why? Money, greed and unethical behaviour, no guts.

makjavel
makjavel
11 days ago
Reply to  Francis Said

I expect that when the time comes , all the Ministers will be taken to court and accused of Perjury on their Oath to Protect the Constitution of Malta. Their loyalty was to the party crooks not the Constitution.

Lawrence Mifsud
Lawrence Mifsud
11 days ago
Reply to  makjavel

Too oprtmistic.

makjavel
makjavel
11 days ago

Keep repeating and it will sink in and become an expectancy.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
11 days ago

Putting it briefly:-

Whenever possible – ‘it’s them, not me’.

When such is not possible – ‘that’s none of your business’.

Last edited 11 days ago by Joseph Tabone Adami
carlos
carlos
11 days ago

Ghaliex jien ma nafx nisthi.

Carmelo Borg
11 days ago

Possibli li PROFESSUR TA ????? Ekonomija jaqa BAXX QADSEK minghajr misthija ta xejn? Qabel ma jorqod u jibda jahseb li titlef kull rispett li seta kellu mal poplu u ma l istudenti universitarji. Shame shame shame jien nahseb bil pilloli ta l irqad ikollu jorqghod jekk ghadu fadallu nitfa kuxjenza.

Lawrence Mifsud
Lawrence Mifsud
11 days ago

U ejja, come on! Why not take a cup of coffee?….

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
6 days ago

DOING AS HE PLEASES IS THE CREED OF ALL PL GOVERNMENT’S
MINISTERS. THEY SHOULD NEVER, EVER, BE TRUSTED.

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