It has been quite a few bad weeks for our premier, his ministers and his trolls. We had three men confirming that a sitting minister was involved in a bank heist some years ago and a former minister and deputy leader of the PL involved in the plot to eliminate Daphne Caruana Galizia. The same ex-minister was also arrested in connection with the failed bank heist, in which a sitting minister is alleged to be involved.
We are still waiting for the result of the investigation by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life, George Hyzler, into the alleged involvement of Rosianne Cutajar in a property deal with, guess who, the omnipresent Yorgen Fenech. The complaint raised by Arnold Cassola goes back to December 2020, and we are still waiting for the outcome. Because these things take time.
Not to be outdone, Justyne Caruana, just back to Cabinet after her resignation because of her corrupt ex-husband Silvio Valletta, again stole the show by giving her boyfriend and close aide Daniel Bogdanovic a €15,000 consultancy direct order. Even though her office denied that the ex-footballer and current Għajnsielem team manager is a member of Caruana’s secretariat, the government’s own internal IT system shows that Bogdanovic works as a ‘secretariat officer.’ When questioned on the case, after giving Justyne a second chance, Robert Abela said that the consultancy contract had been withdrawn. No action against Justyne Caruana. Just a little smack for being naughty. And Robert Abela expects the public to take him seriously when he insists ‘institutions are working.’
The answers to the media flocking near Castille, near every ministry and in any media event called by the DOI have all been the same as if the first email or message ministers and parliamentary secretary see every morning is headed “here are today’s answers to the media.” And obey it they do as they parrot the same answer to any question even if it is about the weather in Kyiv.
Last week we learnt that the legendary ‘Whistleblower Act’ enacted with so much pageantry by the ‘movement’ (of which Robert Abela remains proud) has only been used once. The status was granted to a contractor, Joseph Cauchi, who accused Anthony Debono, the husband of Giovanna Debono, of corruption. The magistrate acquitted Mr Debono of all charges of corruption. Moreover, the magistrate blamed the police (read Ian Abdilla) for its conduct in the case. Meanwhile, Cauchi was given hundreds of thousands worth of direct orders by the government. Robert Abela was counsel to Joseph Cauchi. No, it was not a good week for our Premier.
Robert Abela is wearing outsized shoes. He looks fragile, somewhat flaccid, and he is always on the defensive. As Konrad Mizzi might say, he is not fit for purpose. He has lost control of the situation. He has lost control over his ministers. His sense of State continues to kneel in front of his slavish partisanship.
When he was asked recently about Keith Schembri he simply replied that Schembri is not part of the PL anymore. How did that matter to the head of the Maltese government when asked about someone who had such a prominent government role?
Keith Schembri says that he reached out to Joseph Muscat in 2008. They started preparations to take over the government. They devised their famous road map. That road map made Keith Schembri the most powerful man in Malta and that was from a position of State. Does the prime minister have no view on this?
Simon Busuttil’s tenacity led to inquiries. Remember him walking into the Courts of Justice carrying box files with heaps of evidence. Remember Joseph and his goons making fun of Simon Busuttil, saying the box-files were empty or stuffed with pizza.
Four years later and the magistrates ruled they had seen more than enough Keith Schembri to be charged.
This is not Joseph Muscat’s kingdom anymore. He and his wife with her Louis Vuitton handbags and Valentino pumps are now a nullity. They’re a couple of have beens in Burmarrad. His arch-enemy Simon Busuttil is now the secretary-general of the EPP group in Brussels.
Remember something Magistrate Aaron Bugeja wrote as part of his Egrant inquiry: “Se nagħmililek ċara. It-terms of reference tiegħi mhumiex li nindaga Egrant ta’ min hi. Biex anke int ikollok l-idea ċara.” (‘I want to make this clear for you. My terms of reference are not to investigate who Egrant belongs to. Just so you have the correct understanding’).
But the arm of the law is long. One day it will finally reach Joseph Muscat and all Malta will see him for what he really is, a crook.