The smokescreen – Kevin Cassar

“No visible disciplinary or criminal justice response to claims of impropriety even when some of them have been confirmed by subsequent audits… of the National Audit Office. The senior officials suspected of criminal or ethical misbehaviour are still in function,” The Economist reported on GRECO’s findings in Malta on 3 April 2019.

Almost four years later, they’re still in function. Despite Alex Agius Saliba’s hysterical protestations at the European Parliament, no action has been taken against those “senior officials”.

Konrad Mizzi hasn’t been charged, let alone convicted. Yet the State Department declared Mizzi was involved in significant corruption.  They had enough evidence to conclude he “used his political influence and official power for his personal benefit”. Labour’s Attorney General and Police Commissioner still haven’t taken action.

Keith Schembri is still doing well.  He’s still getting one direct order after another from Robert Abela’s government.

In May 2022, the Water Services Corporation issued a €10,000 direct order to a Kasco group company.

MCAST awarded Kasco Ltd another €52,650 tender.

In October 2022, the University of Malta awarded Schembri a €9,000 direct order.

Schembri is banned from entering the US because of “credible information” that he was involved in a corrupt scheme that entailed the award of a government contract for constructing a power plant in exchange for kickbacks and bribes.

Schembri still hasn’t been charged about Electrogas. And he’s still reaping the financial benefits of his links to Labour.

Chris Cardona, Edward Scicluna, Edward Zammit Lewis, Rosianne Cutajar, Anton Refalo, Silvio Schembri and Joseph Muscat continue with their lives, unbothered by police action.

The same applies to former police commissioner Laurence Cutajar, deputy commissioner Silvio Valletta, and assistant commissioner Ian Abdilla.

EU Commissioner Vera Jourova denounced Labour’s failures. “The length of proceedings has continued to deteriorate,”  she said.

Although Malta increased the allocation of resources to investigative and prosecution bodies, “the investigation into high-level corruption cases remains lengthy”.

Even more depressing is that “results in terms of final judgements are still lacking and remain a cause for concern”, the commissioner added.

The truth is that Labour simply appeased Europe by pretending to bolster the police and the judiciary. It’s been hoodwinking Europe for years.

While pretending to take action to rectify the severe deficiencies in the rule of law, convictions are never secured.  In most cases, no charges have even been lodged.

In those cases where key players have been indicted, as in the case of Keith Schembri, Brian Tonna, and Adrian Hillman, frozen assets have been thawed. Hearings are deferred, and the whole process is prolonged interminably, enabling the accused to continue their lives.

Schembri has even been awarded damages. Yet €250,000 he owed in taxes was not pursued for years.

Agius Saliba continues to make an utter fool of himself at the European parliament. He accused those who highlighted Labour’s perversion of justice of “repeating recycled information and misinformation”.

What misinformation? Maybe Agius Saliba could name a single high-profile member of Labour’s administration who’s been convicted and sentenced.

Nothing happens despite FIAU reports,  investigations by the National Audit Office (NAO), and incontrovertible evidence provided by journalists.

Mario Pullicino, the local agent for the LNG tanker fuelling the Electrogas power station, paid $200,000 to 17-Black.

Over $1 million was deposited into 17 Black via the Latvian ABLV Bank, which has since been liquidated after US authorities uncovered its large-scale money laundering.

The Dubai-based company 17 Black also received millions of dollars from the Mozura wind-farm deal. Now, we all know who owns 17 Black, which was listed as the “main client” and “possible payer” of Konrad Mizzi’s and Keith Schembri’s Panama companies.

GRECO warned that the state institutions and public administration must not “be a tool at the service of the ruling majority”.  That was four years ago.

Swift action was taken against Mark Camilleri.  Yet Pilatus officials haven’t been prosecuted.

The court ordered an investigation of former Police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, but nothing happened.

The Egrant inquiry ordered an investigation of Karl Cini. Nothing happened.

The German police issued a European Arrest warrant against Iosif Galea, Joseph Muscat’s travelling mate. The police ignored it.

The FIAU concluded damning reports about Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri. Still, no action was taken.

The court deemed the hospitals’ concession fraudulent, but the police failed to act. The institutions are nothing but  “a tool at the service of the ruling majority”.

GRECO was right when it said, “The police has the reputation of being traditionally heavily subjected to the executive branch of power”. It still is.

Malta “clearly lacks an overall strategy for ensuring government officials’ integrity,” The Economist reported in 2019.  It still does.

We know why. Because leading the government is a man so crooked that he not only condones the shocking sleaze of his MPs but rewards them with key responsibilities.

Anton Refalo continues to be a minister despite stealing a piece of history. Rosianne Cutajar was allowed to stand on the party ticket and appointed chairperson of the parliamentary health committee after being found guilty of ethics breaches and condemned by the Council of Europe.

Abela protects Silvio Schembri despite his unexplained use of district offices he doesn’t own. Abela defends Ian Borg after his swimming pool permit was declared illegal.

He appointed Edward Scicluna Central Bank governor. He’s still awarding Keith Schembri direct orders. He rewarded disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat with €120,000 euro, use of government offices, a laptop, printer, landlines and even a €36,000 euro car for his wife and all expenses paid.

Labour’s MEPs are outraged because the European Parliament is discussing Malta’s trampling of the rule of law. Look at all the investment Labour’s made in strengthening the independence of the judiciary, they protest.  Look at all the investment in the police.

That investment counts for nothing. It’s just a smokescreen to silence critics.

Labour’s MEPs cannot deny one simple truth. Despite the mountain of evidence provided by the court, the NAO and journalists – nobody’s been convicted. Nothing’s changed.

In Commissioner Jourova’s words, “Things have continued to deteriorate”.


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Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
1 month ago

Is it a case of saying “Malta l-ewwel u qabel f’kollox”?

Some would certainly say ‘Yes’ – if ‘kollox relates to all things improper!

1 month ago

The article’s summary proves that the lifting of Malta from the greylist was premature in the light of what has been revealed since this was done. I was always wondering what sort of tricks the govt has played to get this done.

The FIAU was fooled by this present government and as things stand, with matters in Malta only going worse than better, if they decide to take Malta once again (back) on the greylist, I think that the FIAU won’t be taken for a fool a second time.

With the prospect to have them still in power until 2027, I am sure that they will achieve it to have Malta’s reputation that damaged and dragged further down the gutter, so that it will take decades to recover from the PL era 2013 – 2027.

I can only hope that Malta, one day in the future, will see the daylight once again, because now it still remains in the darkness, led into by the PL politics of greed and corruption. I think that such a day would deserve to be called ‘Freedom Day’. Whenever that day will come and it will come because nothing lasts forever.

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