The ‘help’ given by government customer care officials by postponing the payment of voters’ ARMS utility bills is an example of “institutionalised corruption” as policies should only be introduced “through official channels”, according to opposition party members.
MEP David Casa and the opposition’s Energy Shadow Minister Mark Anthony Sammut have spoken out against yet another scandal stemming from ministerial and Office of the Prime Minister customer care officials, which saw voters given a second, third, or even fourth chance to settle long-overdue bills.
On Wednesday, The Shift revealed how yet another unofficial ‘system’ has been informally put in place at ARMS to satisfy ministerial demands in another possible vote-buying exercise.
Sources claimed customer care officials would contact senior ARMS managers to pressure the company’s credit control office not to enforce utility bill final notices. They claimed the ‘final decision’ was taken by ARMS financial controller Marisa Ciappara.
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Casa said such a system is another example of “how institutionalised corruption discriminates against citizens”.
This is how institutionalised corruption discriminates against citizens. If you're Labour enough, you don't have to pay your bills.
Meanwhile, honest taxpayers foot the bill. The police go after the small fry, and the criminals get away with murder.https://t.co/fMltPQbayZ
— David Casa (@DavidCasaMEP) October 4, 2023
“If you’re Labour enough, you don’t have to pay your bills,” he summed up, saying that while “honest taxpayers foot the bill”, the police “go after the small fry, and the criminals get away with murder.”
In comments to The Shift, Sammut said the ARMS ‘system’ is “another case where government’s resources are being used to create differential treatment for citizens who reach out to ministers and the Labour Party for favours.”
He said that if “the government wants to create a policy to give customers more time to settle their due bills, it should do so by the official channels and have this policy apply for everyone, not have it applied to selected citizens purely to serve as another vote-buying exercise.”
Following the latest scandals related to rackets in social benefits and driving tests, Prime Minister Robert Abela justified these unofficial ‘systems’ as “the way the Maltese politics work” at a press conference on Monday.