A court decision yesterday should rightly lead to Ian Borg’s resignation. He won’t resign and what’s more he’s arrogant enough to think, even to himself, that he doesn’t have to. But the court’s decision yesterday in a case in which he was a witness, certifies him as a character entirely unsuitable for public life.
Read this full report in The Malta Independent for the background. I will summarise the facts here.
Seven years ago, Ian Borg purchased a plot of land adjacent to his own property in Dingli where for some years Ian Borg had been Mayor and was now the local MP. He acquired the land from an individual Ian Borg says he had known for some 18 years.
In spite of the fact they knew each other for so long, the owner of the property was for a long time unwilling to sell it. But one fine Sunday morning, after a weekend drinking with two people acting as middleman hired by Ian Borg, the owner decided to sell Ian Borg the plot he coveted and a contract was signed, sealed and notarised in the space of 24 hours.
The vendor’s relatives were unhappy with the sale. They thought the price of the land was unacceptably low at €10,000. Some of them spoke to The Malta Independent telling them their relative was mentally ill, an alcoholic and a gambling addict. The Malta Independent reported that family’s belief that Ian Borg hired middlemen to exploit the land-owner’s mental health and get the sale of the property fixed.
Ian Borg did not sue The Malta Independent. One of the middlemen did and Ian Borg testified on his middleman’s behalf. When testifying Ian Borg said that like the middleman that was suing the newspaper, he also had had no idea the owner he bought the property from was mentally ill.
The case was decided yesterday. Magistrate Victor Asciak ruled that The Malta Independent’s report, albeit inaccurate in some details, was substantially true. The court did not mince its words. It did not believe Ian Borg.
The Court considers the testimony by the complainant (the middleman) and by Dr Ian Borg that they were not aware of the state of mental health of Anthony Scicluna (the owner of the land) as not credible. The complainant insists the families did not communicate which is why he could not have known. However, it is a very, very doubtful and incredible thing that in a small village like Dingli anyone could be unaware that a person who apparently was much loved and well known in all the village had mental problems so severe that he needed hospitalisation at Mount Carmel hospital for some time. This is especially true for relatives, particularly when they live in the same locality. The court also finds it extremely hard to believe Dr Ian Borg, who by his own admission knew Scicluna for around 19 years and knew of the issues within his family, but claimed he did not know about the state of mental health of this person.
The court effectively branded Ian Borg a liar. But that’s not why he needs to resign. What matter is why he lied because it would have to be because of what it was that he was denying happened.
The Malta Independent’s reporting from 7 years ago has been confirmed as correct and truthful. Ian Borg hired middlemen to ply with alcohol a vulnerable man he knew to be mentally ill and an alcoholic, in order to acquire from him a property that when sober and in his right mind he had refused to sell to him.
Ian Borg is not just a liar and a bully. He stole that land from his neighbours because that’s what he wanted to do. Because he wanted a bigger house and he didn’t want to pay what the land he wanted to build it on was worth.
In the strictest sense this is not about corruption because there’s no evidence he used his office for his profit. Although it can be argued that his standing in the community as a former Mayor, an MP and a junior minister, and therefore the massive disparity in the relationship between the buyer and the inebriated, mentally ill seller may have had something to do with the decision of the land-owner to sell him the land for less than it was worth. But that, admittedly, is arguable.
What’s not arguable is that Ian Borg is a slimeball who has no place in public life, who is incapable of acting responsibly and to honour his duty as a member of society to protect the interests of vulnerable people even when, especially when, they are incapable of protecting themselves.
And then some wonder how he doesn’t care for trees. The man will elbow the infirm out of the way of his own ambitions and greed.