The Times of Malta just exposed another massive scandal involving OPM staff, ministers and their closest aides who hijacked driving tests for their own benefit. “Ian Borg and the customer care teams were just doing their job”, the crooked Robert Abela declared.
Abela is plumbing new depths.
Ian Borg wasn’t just doing his job. He was engaged in criminal activity, trading in influence, as were the involved Labour canvassers, customer care officers, Transport Malta officials and chiefs of staff.
It’s not their job to help a few chosen ones jump the driving test queue while leaving the rest waiting months.
It wasn’t their job to help weak “OPM VVIP clients” pass the test when they didn’t deserve to. It certainly wasn’t their job to let dangerously incompetent candidates get their licence.
Those Transport Malta officials who informed Minister Borg that his preferred candidates had passed broke GDPR laws by releasing information about third parties without their explicit consent. This was lawlessness, and it indeed wasn’t their job.
It wasn’t their job to abuse, in the most vulgar terms, candidates who they suspected weren’t “with us”. “He probably isn’t with us, f*** him.. only his mother is with us! His father and sisters are unknown, as is he,” wrote Ray Mizzi, a customer care officer at OPM.
Anybody can see this was an entirely corrupt, well-oiled system whose sole purpose was to take advantage of a select group of people to win votes unfairly. When Robert Abela vociferously defends it, it is no longer mere lawlessness, it becomes institutionalised lawlessness.
“We need her vote, she’s important because she’s a delegate”, Minister Clint Camilleri’s chief of staff, Michael Buhagiar, wrote to Clint Mansueto, now facing prosecution for his part in the rotten scheme.
“Did she pass?” Buhagiar asked Mansueto. “I helped her as much as I could”, Mansueto replied, confirming later that she had passed.
“This is my daughter’s partner’s cousin, and I want to win his vote”, OPM official Ray Mizzi messaged. “Viva l-Labour dejjem!” Mansueto replied. “Always”, came Mizzi’s message.
Ian Borg was the Minister responsible for Transport. His job was to ensure driving licence tests were carried out efficiently and fairly. His job was to ensure only those safe to drive got their licence and that all citizens were dealt with equally, expeditiously and fairly, irrespective of their political views.
Instead, Borg personally corrupted the whole process, distorting it into a vote-winning enterprise. He intervened on behalf of particular individuals, exerting enormous pressure on Transport Malta officials to do his bidding, break the rules, and fast-track his people.
He wrote to Mansueto to expedite the test date of a barman from Dingli. He wrote to Mansueto about a certain Cauchi, a member of Pulse, who’d failed the test three times. “He’s saying they are not being fair with him..maybe they can see that they are fair with him”, Borg said.
The Minister was directly influencing the driving test process. That’s not his job.
“All OK,” Mansueto told Borg after the test.
So organised was the scheme that Ian Borg didn’t need to say anything to Mansueto except forward details of candidates due to sit the test the following day. The Minister wasn’t writing to Mansueto to expedite their test date. Mansueto knew precisely what the Minister was expecting.
“In my hands…we try our best as always….” Mansueto replied. He didn’t need instructions as he knew precisely what the Minister was after. He wanted his candidate to pass – whether they deserved it or not.
Shamelessly, on one occasion, Borg didn’t refer one candidate but twenty-two. These were asylum seekers and foreign nationals working with Labour’s main events supplier, TEC Ltd.
“I have some people who need a licence to check if they can speed it up and help them a bit”, Borg wrote. The Minister instructed Mansueto to unfairly take advantage of those 22 by expediting their test date. Even worse, he asked Mansueto to “help them a bit”. Everybody understands what “help them a bit” in a driving test means.
Borg now claims he always instructed TM staff to “help people within the parameters of the law”, but “speed it up” and “help them a bit” are not within the parameters of the law.
The Minister should never communicate with Ministry officials about specific individuals. He should be laying out policy, ensuring proper processes and adequate resources for efficiently running validated, reliable testing systems.
Any interference by any Minister, ministry official or customer care officer is an abuse of office, as is soliciting or providing an unfair advantage to particular individuals.
When a particular candidate referred by Clint Camilleri’s chief of staff was given a test date just days later in July 2021, Mansueto wrote, “Keep it low profile because we are giving appointments for September at the moment…”. Mansueto knew he wasn’t doing his job. He knew he was breaking the law.
So did Clint Camilleri’s chief of staff. And that’s precisely why he wanted to keep it secret.
Ian Borg knows his actions were abusive and criminal, as does Robert Abela and everybody else. But the pervasive patronage, nepotism and cronyism is what keeps Labour in power.
Labour’s edifice is built on abuse of office by stuffing government departments with dishonest party loyalists ready to break the law for Labour. In return, Labour guarantees them impunity.
Instead of serving the country and its people, Labour’s officials serve their minister and the party: “You know I have always been loyal to you, always will be loyal to you and only to you”, Clint Mansueto told Ian Borg.
That pathologically cultish loyalty stops Mansueto from revealing the whole truth even as he faces jail.