Opinion: ‘men of honour’

The ‘Ndrangheta is the richest of Italy’s three major criminal organisations – the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, the Neapolitan Camorra and the Calabrian Ndrangheta – with an annual profit of €40 billion.

For decades, it was practically impossible to prosecute.  The organisation’s immunity and power depended on its basic unit, the ‘Ndrina, formed by father, son, wife, sister-in-law – all relatives.

No member of the Ndrangheta would betray their own family. “When you’re baptised into the organisation, you give your life for it, and you know betrayal means death.” The ‘Ndrangheta translates to “men of honour,” and betrayal is not an option.

Yet, in March 2018, Emanuele Mancuso, a senior ‘Ndrangheta and the infamous Mancuso family member, turned police informant. He was arrested while running a lucrative cannabis farm and charged with participation in a criminal association.

Mancuso’s wife was expecting their first child.  He decided he didn’t want his child to become a mobster.  He wanted a better life for his daughter.

On 19 December 2019, as Muscat’s sleazy premiership approached its ignominious end, the Italian police mounted a huge raid based on Mancuso’s testimony. Three hundred people were arrested.

In January 2021, a massive trial labelled ‘La Rinascita’ (the rebirth) kicked off.

By November 2023, 207 people had been sentenced for crimes including criminal association, fraud and money laundering – the same charges Muscat faces.  Together, those 207 faced over 2,100 years in prison.

That was the biggest blow to the ‘Ndrangheta ever.  The ‘Ndrangheta wasn’t destroyed, but that trial was a symbolic victory.  It showed that the ‘Ndrangheta was not untouchable; it could be challenged and brought to justice.

That trial made Calabria a safer place.  After years of organised crime, Calabria can at least hope its children will have a better future.

Malta faces its own maxi trial. The people in the dock are the leaders of the governing party — the disgraced former prime minister, his deputy prime minister, his finance minister, his energy and tourism minister, Muscat’s chief of staff, and more of Muscat’s friends.

Sadly, Malta had no Emmanuele Mancuso from within Labour.  Like the ‘Ndrangheta, Labour did not betray its friends.  Instead, they covered for each other, even under oath, before the Caruana Galizia inquiry board.

Through thick and thin, one scandal after another – from Vitals to Electrogas to Socar to the ITS DB deal, the St Vincent de Paul quarter billion extension, the Marsa flyover, the American University of Malta, the Mozura windfarm, the disability benefits scandal, the Transport Malta licensing debacle – Labour stuck together.

Even those now lauded for their integrity colluded in Labour’s scams.  Chris Fearne hid the Vitals contracts for years, tabling in parliament a document so heavily redacted it wasn’t worth the paper onn which it was printed.

Minister Miriam Dalli, lined up to take Fearne’s EU Commissioner post, concealed the Mozura windfarm report.

Prime Minister Robert Abela concealed the disability benefits scam for years, retaining Silvio Grixti as a consultant in his office and rewarding him with tens of thousands of taxpayers’ money.

Like the ‘Ndrangheta, Labour has its own ‘Ndrina – a tightly knit unit that ensures total secrecy.  “When you’re baptised into the organisation, betrayal means death”.

Former Labour MPs Godfrey Farrugia and Marlene Farrugia know that.  For their betrayal, they were targeted and persecuted, intimidated and insulted. They’re still paying the price.

For those outside the organisation,  Daphne Caruana Galizia’s brutal end is a stark reminder of how far Labour will go to pave the way for the daylight extermination of anybody who dares expose its criminal schemes. Magistrate Gabriella Vella is getting a taste of it too.

Malta’s maxi-trial is not thanks to a Labour MP or minister who felt the pangs of guilt or moral repugnance or who dreamt of a better future for his unborn daughter.

It was the fruit of a small group of determined fighters for justice who requested the magisterial inquiry into Malta’s biggest criminal scheme. That we’ve come this far is a symbolic victory.

We have no illusions that the path ahead is clear.  We know the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner are beholden to Labour.  We know they’ll do everything to wreck the trial and exonerate the accused.

They know that’s what Abela wants from them.  He’s left no doubt in anybody’s mind that he sees this trial as an affront to his and his predecessor’s iron grip on power.

He knows the contents of that inquiry risk bringing his whole edifice down.  But he’s counting on Victoria Buttigieg and Angelo Gafa.

They’ve colluded to get Pilatus officials their nolle prosequi.  They’ve studiously avoided prosecuting former commissioner Lawrence Cutajar and his deputy Silvio Valletta.

They’ve closed both eyes to the rampant criminal schemes on several major deals. They even orchestrated the acquittal of Evarist Bartolo’s chief canvasser.

They’ve let Rosianne Cutajar off the hook. They’re letting Keith Schembri’s sharing of privileged information with Yorgen Fenech become time-barred.

And when it comes to Muscat being convicted, we know Labour will continue throwing spokes in the wheels of justice.

But we have one consolation.  That trial is open to the public.  We’ll find out what that inquiry uncovered.

The whole nation will get to know what Muscat was up to.  Those 78 boxes aren’t empty pizza boxes.  Those €11 million weren’t spent on phantom jobs.

Those international experts did their work diligently, without fear or favour. That’s precisely why Abela is attacking them, and Labour’s ONE TV is systematically attempting to discredit them.

On 24 December 2019, the people of Calabria organised a huge march to the prosecutor’s office and the police station in Vibo Valentia to thank those loyal servants of the state for their courageous work protecting them from the ‘Ndrangheta’s crimes.

Sadly, on 8 June 2024, most Maltese voters will march to the polling booth to thank Labour for engineering the biggest fraud in Malta’s history.

We can only hope that Malta’s own maxi-trial will reveal that no one is immune, no one is untouchable and that Malta’s rebirth has begun.


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Jay Ho
Jay Ho
1 month ago

A perfect and detailed description of exactly why the awful current government is exactly like any mafia family. The sooner they leave, or preferably rot in jail with all the stolen money returned, the better for every single honest person left on this island.

S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
1 month ago

Depressing but so very true and accurate, as usual.

1 month ago

I was immediately frozen when I saw the picture at the start of the article, my first thought was I have never seen so many criminals in one room apart from the trials you mentioned in Italy. Like the Ndrangheta the “current government” operates using their philosophy and strictly enforced Omerta especially to control the AG and PC to ensure they are untouchable. We desperately need a Federal / Financial Police force to operate outside of government and the regular Police so they can work independently to eradicate this cancer that has overtaken much of the population and is out of control. I think Abela should be tasked (as he likes builders) to commission a very large prison on the planned DB site as it would definitely be needed and all the inmates would have a room with a view for the rest of their miserable lives.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mick
Carmel Sammut
Carmel Sammut
1 month ago

We need the Italian Carabinieri to come over here and do Gafa’s and THAT woman’s job…otherwise the Ndragetha will continue to flourish over here!

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