Tista taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.
When you think President George Vella cannot stoop any lower, he does. This time, the head of state disappointed us all when he was asked about Labour’s driving licence racket and failed to condemn it in any shape or form. But did we expect any better?
Minister Ian Borg, with a squadron of Labour Party operatives, passed on details of driving test candidates to Transport Malta officials. Those candidates got preferential treatment and were pushed to the front of the queue, while others were made to wait for months.
Some passed their test despite being a dangerous threat to other road users, but Prime Minister Robert Abela declared Ian Borg and Labour’s customer care officers were ‘just doing their job’.
In this moral black hole, Vella was given the opportunity to condemn the deplorable clientelism and cronyism. He had the chance to denounce the erosion of citizens’ basic right to equal and fair treatment.
You would think the President would have been as appalled as the rest of us at Abela’s disturbing abuse of public office and its immoral defence.
This was Vella’s moment – to stand up for fairness, justice and decency, to condemn wrongdoing and Labour’s blatant betrayal of trust.
Instead, in his abrasive and belligerent style, he barked: “What does the President have to do with anything? So, should I be involved when it comes to morning traffic jams?”
This man should be our moral leader, but Vella reveals a moral hollowness that defies belief.
For our head of state, a morning traffic jam is equivalent to a cabinet minister abusing his office to obtain special privileges for a select few to the detriment of all others and the risk of their lives and limbs.
For the President, the rush hour frustrations are morally equivalent to a prime minister encouraging the manifestly criminal behaviour of his minister, chiefs of staff and customer care officers.
For Vella, the propagation of the culture of impunity by Abela poses the same moral challenge as a traffic jam.
As Abela bends the nation’s moral fabric beyond breaking point, Vella condones it by refusing to utter even the blandest condemnation for what is manifestly wrong.
Vella sees his role not as the father of a nation but as the shield of Labour’s reputation. Given the opportunity to do the right thing, he squanders it every time.
When The Times of Malta, in collaboration with international journalists, revealed Yorgen Fenech’s ownership of 17-Black – the target client planned to pump a million euros into Konrad Mizzi’s and Keith Schembri’s secret Panama companies – Vella defended them.
When Marlene Farrugia called a no-confidence vote against Konrad Mizzi, Vella attributed bad intentions to those seeking to restore decency.
Vella accused the opposition of “taking any advantage to tarnish the government’s reputation”. He attacked the opposition deputy leader for “mentioning the word corruption more than once”.
He shouted in parliament, “I challenge him to mention concrete facts”.
Vella has all the facts. He’s got WhatsApp messages from Ian Borg, hundreds more messages from Labour’s operatives – some vulgar, others obscene.
He’s got forged certificates from Silvio Grixti and has court evidence in over 120 cases of fraudulent disability allowance claims. Could the facts be any more concrete?
That “fraudulent deal” drained hundreds of millions of euro into a manifestly rotten project. Vitals was a scam fronted by Ram Tumuluri, a man who’d never run a clinic, let alone a hospital, but Labour still signed a secret Memorandum of Understanding with his dodgy speculators.
Thousands of pages of details, figures, accounts, investigations and testimony have been published, but Vella is still waiting “until I receive an objective report”. Maybe he’s waiting for the concrete facts.
The concrete facts lie in a crumbling St Luke’s hospital, an absent new Gozo General hospital, a missing new nursing school, a lack of 450 additional beds.
The concrete facts lie in the tens if not hundreds of millions of euro siphoned out and transferred to dodgy foreign companies like Accutor AG. Tens of thousands of euro from Accutor miraculously found themselves in Joseph Muscat’s BOV bank account, but Vella still insists the “objective report” he demanded “hasn’t been produced as of yet”.
Are we surprised? Of course not.
Vella refused to testify in court about vital information that Ganni Psaila, il-Pupa, had passed on to him, which was potentially crucial in solving Raymond Caruana’s murder.
Il-Pupa told Vella what happened on the night the PN Tarxien club was sprayed with machine gun fire. That same weapon was used to murder Raymond Caruana a few days later.
The police got hold of that weapon and planted it in Pietru Pawl Busuttil’s farm to frame the innocent Busuttil and falsely accuse him of murder. Vella still has that information. It could help Caruana’s family finally find peace, but Vella won’t budge.
George Vella was roundly condemned, together with his Cabinet colleagues, by the Caruana Galizia inquiry. “To the Board, the inaction of cabinet in these circumstances when they chose to look away and their failure to insist that steps were taken to preserve the rule of law means that all ministers individually subscribed to and backed the Prime minister’s decision to let everything go by”.
“This is an act of grave omission and amounts to sanctionable illicitness (illecita’ ċensurabbli). Such behaviour in a country that respects democratic values should carry political sanctions”.
But Vella still occupies the President’s office, from where he continues to give his “tacit approval, if not the blessing” to Labour’s obscene travesty of justice.
The President could be removed if infirmity of body prevents him from performing the functions of his office. Vella’s incurable spinelessness certainly meets that criterion.