Look again at yesterday’s Sunday Times headline about Robert Abela “cleaning up” the prime minister’s office after taking it over from Joseph Muscat’s smut: “Most OPM officials linked to Keith Schembri told to leave”.

Hold on one bleeding minute there. Keith Schembri was himself a staffer. Sure he may have had a driver assigned to him, and an assistant and maybe a secretary. But even though they reported to him all staff in a minister’s secretariat enjoy the trust and confidence of the minister.

They are not just “linked to Keith Schembri”. That sort of false decree of separation is a minor twist in the continued cover up. They are “linked” to Joseph Muscat. Their appointment is his direct responsibility. He must carry it.

True, it’s not like he can resign again. But his resignation cannot be a blanket that covers up what he was up to. We must be told all the truth in the sincere hope that Joseph Muscat’s remaining supporters – the sort that left a banner in Valletta this morning to say Daphne Caruana Galizia was the devil incarnate – can one day realise how they  have been deceived.

So, the present prime minister should say why staffers linked to his predecessor needed to be dismissed as rubbish, to use the metaphor in this discourse of ‘cleaning up’.

Why is this important? Because these people are criminals who cannot personally be called that, because the police won’t touch them. On the contrary the police seem keen to certify them all as beyond reproach.

Consider how it took the police less than 24 hours to investigate the accusation by minister Clayton Bartolo that Adrian Hillman “has been taking payments intended for a private company through consultancies from the Malta Gaming Authority”.

Clayton Bartolo announced he had kicked Adrian Hillman out at 9am on January 23. The next day in the afternoon Lovin Malta reported how the police told them the case was closed as they were satisfied there had been no misappropriation. If not “taking payments due to others”, what does misappropriation mean?

And is Clayton Bartolo happy looking like a complete idiot?

Consider how Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri appear to continue to exist above the plane of the legal bounds that govern the lives of common mortals. Robert Abela speaks of “cleaning up” their legacy but impunity continues to reign.

Repubblika commented angrily today about finding that Joseph Muscat has gone back into his old office just last week. It is unclear whether he was speaking on behalf of Steward Health Care or on behalf of the government during talks between the two. Either way, the scandal is shocking. It’s always hard to think that we can still be shocked at Joseph Muscat’s actions but the man never tires of surprising us.

But we need try to put on the headphones of applied imagination and think what Labour would have made of Lawrence Gonzi showing up at a meeting in Joseph Muscat’s Castille during a meeting with Skanska.

What really matters though is Robert Abela becoming ever more comfortable with the shocks Joseph Muscat continues to inflict on us. By pretending to draw the line on the corruption of the past Robert Abela is helping it persist. He is cementing impunity with the false pretence of being serious about doing away with it.

This is not how Malta will fix its problems. This is not how Robert Abela can clean out anything at all.