Fighting corruption for real

Eva Kaili, until a little while ago a European Parliament Vice President, has been imprisoned. She’s been charged with corruption and money laundering.

She was suspended from the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament with “immediate effect”.  No waiting for the institutions to work.  No delays on the pretext of letting justice take its course.  No bluffing about waiting for the outcome of investigations.

Her own Greek Socialist party PASOK went a step further. They expelled her, not suspended her.  No presumption of innocence there.  No playing with words that these are “just allegations” or “there is no proof”.

EP President Roberta Metsola suspended “with immediate effect all the powers, duties and tasks that were delegated to Eva Kaili in her capacity as vice president of the EP”. No waiting for a decision from the Standards Commissioner. No abrogation of responsibility from taking political decisions.

The Greek authorities froze all her property and financial assets – all real estate, accounts, financial products and corporate holdings.  But not just hers.  They froze the assets of her whole family – her partner, parents, and sister.

Those assets were frozen within hours of Kaili’s arrest. No compensation here for the accused for having her assets frozen, as in Keith Schembri’s case. Judge Lawrence Mintoff awarded Keith Schembri compensation since, in his judgement, “it was not reasonable” to prevent a person affected by a garnishee because of alleged money laundering from functioning commercially until the bill of indictment is issued.

The mere suspicion of “substantial money payments” resulted in multiple raids by the Belgian authorities. They searched the home of the EP Vice President after finding her father in possession of a large amount of cash in a suitcase. They found “several bags full of banknotes” at her Brussels home.

It is strange that no raids happened in Malta when Rosianne Cutajar was known to have received bags of cash from Yorgen Fenech.  Cutajar subsequently spoke at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to defend corruption and 17 Black, whose owner had given her thousands of euros as a ‘gift’. In addition, she was pursued to return a €46,000 brokerage fee paid to her in a deal involving Yorgen Fenech.

Cutajar was found to have “committed a serious breach” of numerous articles of the Assembly’s Code of Conduct. But Cutajar couldn’t be sanctioned by the Assembly.  Robert Abela had shielded her from the Council of Europe’s punishment by conveniently replacing her with Miriam Dalli just before the disciplinary hearing. And where is Cutajar now? She’s representing you in Parliament, having been allowed to contest on the Labour Party’s ticket.

Abela told us that “voters will decide whether Rosianne Cutajar deserves to be part of Malta’s parliament”. How come PASOK didn’t let Greek voters decide about Kaili?

When Joseph Muscat was paid €21,000 from a secret donor in Jordan for his and his family’s first-class tickets to Dubai, the Standards Commissioner felt there was no breach of ethics. Those first-class tickets were paid for in cash. Who makes transactions worth €21,000 in cash?

Usually, crooks want to hide the source of their money and their own identity – so much so that most European countries severely limit the maximum amount of cash transactions. What’s worse is that Muscat asked the Commissioner to keep his donor’s identity secret, and the Commissioner bizarrely complied.

The Commissioner concluded that the secret donor “could not have intended to influence Dr Muscat’s decisions as prime minister since he had already announced his resignation and he had only two weeks remaining in his role”.

Not only was Muscat not expelled from his Party, but the Standards Commissioner protected him.

Eva Kaili also allegedly collected thousands of euros from Qatari officials in exchange for her support. In November, the MEP visited Qatar, where she welcomed reforms in the Gulf State.  At the European Parliament, she praised Qatar as “a leader in terms of labour rights” when Qatar’s abusive treatment of migrant workers was being roundly condemned.

No Standards Commissioner is protecting her. Nobody finds the “several bags full of banknotes” discovered at her Brussels home remotely acceptable.

Over 600 MEPs voted to terminate her term as Vice President. Only one MEP voted against. All MEPs of her own Socialists and Democrats group voted against her. Contrast that with Labour’s MPs, who were ordered to vote in support of Konrad Mizzi.

Belgium’s prosecutors are not waiting for the prime minister to order an inquiry.  They weren’t caught eating rabbit stew while vital evidence was secretly whisked out of the country.  They immediately conducted raids at European Parliament’s offices to snatch IT equipment from staff before data could be wiped.

Kaili’s office has not only been raided; the Belgian police have sealed it. Belgium’s federal prosecutors seized hundreds of thousands of euros in cash as well as computers and mobile phones.  No lost mobile phones there. No waiting for years to raid suspects’ homes.

This was the Vice President of the European Parliament.  Yet, no deference was shown towards her.  She is a suspect, just like any other. She hasn’t posted hostile Facebook posts attacking prosecutors and magistrates for seizing her mobile phones, for raiding and sealing her home and offices.

She hasn’t got the prime minister to threaten the investigating magistrate.  She hasn’t incited her loyal PASOK supporters.

This is how suspected corruption is dealt with in civilised countries. This was about a few hundred thousand euros,  not the hundreds of millions linked to Vitals, Electrogas, Mozura, St Vincent de Paul, the Marsa flyover, SOCAR and innumerable direct orders.  There were no million euros a year to be deposited in accounts linked to Panamanian companies.

As Kaili lingers in jail, it’s worth asking where Konrad Mizzi is. Still a member of the Labour Party.

Where is Keith Schembri? Still running his businesses.

Where is Joseph Muscat? Chairing the professional football clubs and on the payroll of the Malta Developers Association president.

And where is Robert Abela? Prime minister.

                           
                           
                               
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Jacques Zammit
1 month ago

Couldn’t have said it better.

A. Fan
A. Fan
1 month ago

Bravo, Dottore! Incisive, as always.

Regrettably, the Shift will keep preaching to the choir and those most in need of the word will continue to wallow in their ignorance. Honest Abe purportedly maintained that you cannot fool all the people all the time, but he probably hadn’t met any Maltese Labourists…

carlos
1 month ago

Straight to the point as usual. Prosit.

Mick
Mick
1 month ago

An interesting precise article which must be said exposes totally just what a bunch of wankers we have “governing” this dystopian state. “Easy come easy go” as they say which I assume is the anthem of the AG, Police and various judges who are meant to prosecute these bandits. They all need to be taken down before the upcoming generation begin to think these things are normal.

Austin Sammut
Austin Sammut
1 month ago
Reply to  Mick

The upcoming generation already think that these things are normal!

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

One day we will have to pay the bill. Blinded by the light of slogans and hopeless optimism. Bravo dottore.

Vanni
Vanni
1 month ago

Meanwhile, in the real world:
The voted-out Frankfurt Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann (SPD) has, in the corruption process, before the regional court of Frankfurt, been found guilty. Feldmann has to pay a fine of 120 daily rates of 175 euros in two cases for accepting an advantage, as the court announced on Friday.
What happened?
The public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt had accused Peter Feldmann of accepting advantages in office. That means: corruption. On the one hand it was about the employment of his future wife in a day care center run by the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (Awo) in Frankfurt. There she is said to have received a salary above the tariff “without any objective reason”, a company car and a fuel card. She also drove the car during her maternity leave. Secondly, the managing director of Awo is said to have raised campaign donations for him in 2018. In return, he is said to have behaved “benevolently” towards the association.

Martin Christopher
Martin Christopher
1 month ago

Malta will continue to have its routine and regular orgasms of impunity so long as the mad masonic mafia continues to (dys)function.
Investigative journalists should start with the Malta Developers Association: founded and infested by pernicious and deplorable brood parasites.

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
30 days ago

THE WHOLE MALTESE POLITICAL SYSTEM IS CORRUPT.
NEVER, EVER, TRUST THE PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVES,
THEY WILL ALWAYS, UNFAILINGLY, DECEIVE YOU.

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