Opinion: Justice is not a witch hunt

Joseph Muscat reacted to the damning court sentence calling it a “politically motivated witch-hunt” while his loyal puppet, Robert Abela, chimed in with “The Opposition’s policy is throwing people before the courts. I won’t say it’s because they’re playing home. People can reach their conclusions”.

The prime minister and disgraced former prime minister launched a public attack on the one “institution” that worked while insisting on letting the institutions work. But when one institution does, they butcher it, publicly and shamelessly.

The sentence isn’t a witch-hunt; it’s justice, finally starting to sprout through Labour’s ravages, and Abela and Muscat are livid.

The court finally exposed the shocking truth behind the hospital’s concession: this was a rotten deal from the start, and Muscat, aided by Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri who engineered the simulation to defraud the nation.

The court concluded that those meant to protect the national interest had more at heart the interests of Vitals/Steward, and despite the concessionaires’ utter failure to meet obligations, Muscat and Abela continued to pay them millions of taxpayers’ euros.

Muscat and Abela have been caught. The court condemned their governments for simulation, conspiracy, fraud and betrayal of the national interest, but instead of humbly apologising, the two mounted a blasphemous assault on the integrity of three impeccable judges.

Abela and Muscat’s lies just keep coming.  “There’s nothing new in the appeal court’s sentence”, Abela commented outside parliament. But the sentence clearly stated: “The conclusions of this court are different from those of the first court”.

Abela is trying to deceive to protect the lost cause, Joseph Muscat, and his own skin.

Muscat is panicking as his statements have proven false.  “Government was the victim”, he claimed. But it wasn’t, it conspired with Vitals to commit fraud.

Muscat launched more wildly weird claims on Facebook. “I firmly believed this agreement could bring numerous benefits to the nation”, he declared.

But anyone with any ounce of smarts knew that it wouldn’t.

Ram Tumuluri, a shady character with an even darker past, had never run a clinic or a hospital, nor had any of his secret collaborators. Besides, they had no money, and their total capital was €1,200. Muscat knew this and knew that Vitals could never deliver anything – and it didn’t.

Muscat cryptically shifts the blame for the scam onto “hidden vested interests”. The only things hidden were his secret memorandum of understanding, the Vitals contracts and their precarious financial situation. Muscat knew those deals stank, so he concealed them from Chris Fearne.

Fearne’s health secretariat wasn’t even involved in the project. When the deals were struck behind his back, Fearne hadn’t even seen the contracts- he was kept in the dark, like the rest of us.

Muscat refused to publish those contracts for years, and when they were eventually tabled in parliament, entire pages were blacked out.

Muscat actively undermined Fearne’s efforts to push Vitals to start to deliver.  Armin Ernst, Vitals CEO and then-Steward president, wrote to Keith Schembri to warn him that Fearne had contacted him for an update, but he had “not disclosed any information” – to the health minister!

When Adrian Delia lodged his court case, Muscat and Mizzi drew up the obscene €100 million clause to ensure that even if the court annulled the contracts, the concessionaire would make a killing.

That 100 million clause was kept secret – even from the cabinet. Muscat keeps getting caught lying – first, he didn’t know about it, then he knew, then all cabinet knew and approved it.

His own ministers, Evarist Bartolo and Chris Fearne, contradict him. Bartolo accused Muscat of using the cabinet as a “smokescreen”, while Fearne categorically declared that the cabinet wasn’t aware of the implication that taxpayers would have to pay Steward €100 million plus another €36 million of their BOV loans. The National Audit Office concluded Mizzi misled cabinet.

Muscat claims he wants the whole truth to emerge. What a liar.

Muscat hid the AG’s advice regarding the transfer of the sites from NAO, he hid his government guarantee on a €36 million BOV loan to Steward from cabinet. He hid Vitals’ due diligence, he hid the MOU, he hid the contracts.  The NAO was “unable to audit the negotiations process as information made available was severely limited”.

He spent all his time concealing the truth. No records were kept about meetings with Steward and his minister, Konrad Mizzi, who simply refused to meet the NAO or testify in court. Keith Schembri provided “curt replies” and The Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff OPM were economical in their submissions”.

Muscat provided only “limited disclosures”, and the NAO didn’t believe him – “the justification put forward by the prime minister…was not deemed convincing by the NAO”.

He hid that Keith Schembri met Armin Ernst in New York in September 2017. The NAO only found out about it from Steward. Accompanied by Konrad Mizzi and Mifsud Bonnici advocates, Schembri also attended other secret meetings in London with Steward.

Muscat cannot let the truth out- secrecy is his only protection. When Mizzi refused to meet the NAO, Muscat took no action. He didn’t order him to provide the information requested, he didn’t sack him, he protected him, and he conspired with him to hide the truth.

Muscat is now blaming “unidentified officials”.

The court sentence doesn’t mention “unidentified officials”. It says senior government officials (esponenti gholja tal-gvern), and we know who they are, and so does the court.

The NAO named them – Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, and Joseph Muscat. “The NAO established that the prime minister directed the Hon Konrad Mizzi”.

But Robert Abela is making Mizzi the sacrificial lamb,  pinning all the blame on him and bragging about sacking him – without daring to mention his name. “See what actions I took, and you will know who it is”.

Yet he keeps protecting the man behind it all – Joseph Muscat. Konrad Mizzi had no power – Joseph Muscat did.

Abela is mounting another cover-up- he’s attacking the court and defending criminals. That’s what he’s trained to do – to exploit the law to help criminals evade justice, and now, he’s abusing his office for the same end.

Abela should keep one thing in mind – his power won’t last. The day will come when he will answer for his actions and inactions.  The era of impunity will end.

The darkness of the past won’t be forgotten – crimes will be punished.

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A. Fan
A. Fan
26 days ago

There’s a legal concept called ‘constructive knowledge’ — which stands for ‘knew or should have known’ (with reasonable care and due dilignece). So I wouldn’t be quite so quick to let Dr. Fearne completely off the hook either. Far less culpable, no doubt, but let’s not forget the sage words of (J.S. Mill attributed to) Edmund Burke… Professed ignorance seems an inadequate excuse for inaction when you clearly should have known better.

26 days ago

In-nies ta’rieda tajba iridu jinghaqdu akkost ta’kollox kollha f’katina wahda biex is-sewwa jirbah zgur u WIEHED IRID JIQOGHOD ATTENT GHAL LUPU FL’ELEZJONIJIET. Ghax il-kelma mexxejja tal-lejber dejjem kienet li anke ghand ix-xitan jekk hemm bzonn immorru. Nies bla kuxjenza. Mohhom biss haga wahda il-partit fil-poter biex jaghmlu Malta bla ruh. Kollox kontra il-ligi t’Alla.

26 days ago

but I say… but how can one be thought of as stupid by corrupting these politicians and not guaranteeing justice

Laura Vassallo
Laura Vassallo
26 days ago

Like Pullicino their place is in jail. We will make sure they will get what they deserve.

23 days ago

L’aqwa c-cinga hamra biex jaghmel brain washing lill gahan li twieldu u trabbew taht is-saltna Mintoff.

19 days ago

So when are these people going to be held personally liable for their actions?!!

It’s far too easy to lay the blame on Government – and then it’s always The People who pay – because Government represents The People .

So who is going to defend The People in court? When are public officials including the prime minister going to be held personally responsible for actions they do which are deliberate and intended to defraud The People they are supposed to represent?

Marianna Galea Xuereb
Marianna Galea Xuereb
15 days ago

Funny how Kurt Farrugia does not feature at all in the above article.

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