Our anti-money laundering agency works Sundays. As taxpayers we would welcome such zeal if it was directed at finding criminals. But today’s over-time sheet has been stamped because our intrepid enforcers of propriety needed to defend their clients Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.
Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri were, according to a suppressed FIAU report David Casa says is in his possession, suspected of financial crimes that should have been and should be investigated by the police. In order for this not to happen, the FIAU’s head was replaced, two of its agents were fired and fresh reports were drafted to absolve those who control it.
The FIAU is waxing melodramatic because David Casa has said in an interview he is considering publishing the report after the facts it contains are verified.
Personally I think David Casa is being too cautious. He is a Member of the European Parliament. It is his duty to reveal what the executive would rather hide. That he is doing brilliantly. It is beyond the call of his duty to investigate and verify directly the information in a secret report in his possession. The police have that job and should be acting on it to investigate whether the findings of the report should form the basis of prosecution when corroborated with other evidence they find.
But David Casa does not expect the police to do their duty. Or the attorney general. After all the FIAU, in suppressing the report did not do its duty. Nor, of course did Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri whose office binds them to fight corruption, not wear the mantle themselves.
But we know and understand all this. What I am still getting used to is seeing the FIAU step in to the debate to publicly threaten David Casa should he reveal the investigations they themselves conducted and then suppressed; to see a law enforcement agency use the force of the law to threaten those who would reveal the truth about those who broke the law in the first place.
This is a real horror. This is just the spine-chilling scenario the Chief Justice described from his throne in October.
“[The FIAU] also warned that the disclosure of any information or document illegally obtained from it constitutes a criminal offence and will not only damage the FIAU and its ability to cooperate with foreign counterparts as a trusted partner, but will also prejudice any ongoing investigations.”
Let’s break this down, shall we?
“[The FIAU] also warned …”: this habit of the FIAU to “warn” adults of the possible consequences of their actions is so patronising and betrays an attitude on their part that is more than slightly suspicious.
“ … that the disclosure…”: the FIAU thinks it has the right to obstruct a Member of the European Parliament in the performance of his duty, an arrogance that has to be seen to be believed.
“… of any information or document illegally obtained …”: the FIAU has arrogated to itself the right to determine what is legal or illegal, ignoring the fact that it has been described itself as acting if not in breach of the law, at least in a manner that ignores the law.
“… constitutes a criminal offence …”: a phrase that shows that the FIAU, like its political masters, flies in the face of human rights law.
“… and will not only damage the FIAU and its ability to cooperate with its foreign counterparts as a trusted partner …”: that the FIAU is damaged is a given, and that it is acting in a way that it won’t be trusted likewise, but not by these disclosures, that ship has sailed long ago.
“… but will also prejudice any ongoing investigations.”: surely they mean “prejudice the interests of certain powerful people in Government”?
It is our right to know what the FIAU is hiding from us. If the institutions of the state with the responsibility to act fail in their duty, it does not follow that David Casa too should leave us in the dark.