Transparency International gives one clear and simple reason for this. Five years ago, a journalist was killed in Malta for investigating and reporting on corruption. By now, we should have shown some signs that we’ve learnt our lesson.
By now, we should have addressed the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators she exposed. By now, the schemers exposed by the Panama Papers should have served a substantial portion of their sentence behind bars. By now, the man accused of ordering the killing of the journalist so he could continue to profit from an illegal power station contract, would not still be making profit from an illegal power station contract.
And by now, we should have put in place laws to prevent the same thing from happening again. We’re not just talking about laws meant to protect journalists here. We are talking about laws that would properly address the wrongdoing a journalist in this country died documenting while law enforcement agencies munched pop-corn. Or rabbit legs.
By now, we should have adopted a system to take away from anyone, even if not convicted of a crime, all the wealth in their possession that they could not explained acquiring. By now, we should have criminalised the abuse of politician’s powers. By now, we should have adopted a law that protects whistle-blowers, not a law that places them in greater risk. By now, we should have a law that gives back assets taken away from criminals and given instead to the community for society’s profit. By now, we should have criminalised the act of obstructing the course of justice. By now, we should have adopted into law the criminalisation of the act of association in a mafia organisation, what we still think is a business or a family interest that uses bribes and intimidation to secure public land, public contracts, and effective economic monopolies.
These, in brief, are recommendations that a public inquiry drew up and published in July 2021. That was already two years later than it would have been had Joseph Muscat and some of his ministers who are also Robert Abela’s ministers not blocked the process for two years after Daphne was killed, incredibly attempting to convince themselves and the world that the killing of a journalist had not been a symptom of the corruption that had captured our country.
Under the pressures of November 2019, they allowed the inquiry to start.
But now they are suppressing it, not by preventing it from happening, but by refusing to adopt its findings.
When, on 17 October 2017, we woke up and realised that the nightmare we were living would not go away we comforted ourselves, and attempted to reassure the world of our genuine intentions, by saying we didn’t know Daphne had not been exaggerating for effect. We didn’t realise just how corrupt our country was and how much needed to be done to fix that.
What’s our excuse now?