Friday the 24th of February 2023 is marked as the day of criminals. It was the date of the landmark judgement in the case instituted by MP Adrian Delia against the criminals who lay behind the planned and executed fraudulent deal between members of the cabinet of the Maltese government led by Joseph Muscat and fronted by Konrad Mizzi, the finance ministry, the contracts office and others on the Maltese side and Vitals and later Stewart on the foreign side.
We all know the details of this national disaster. How could over 300 million euro from the national purse be paid out over a period of eight years to a pack of swindlers without any attempt by the government following the forced resignation of Muscat, Mizzi e bella compania? Whether the government of 2015 had been party to the fraudulent deal, probably actually setting it up with the Indian go-betweens and the Indian con man Mr Tumuluri, which is what Daphne indicated and which I believe is the case, or whether the con men swindled and fooled over a score of Maltese qualified ministers, MPs in cabinet, civil servants at the contracts office and the ministries of health and finance which nobody in his own mind can swallow as even vaguely possible, is irrelevant.
The court did not believe it either. The court found clear guilt of fraud and criminal intent and unlawful enrichment on the part of Vitals and later Steward and annulled all the contracts and side guarantees putting an end to what had been planned either by Muscat, Mizzi, Schembri, Scicluna et al from the very beginning or set up by Tumuluri and Ernst, two con men tal-prima klassi, who pulled the wool over everybody’s eyes, does not really matter.
All are guilty of a crime of commission or of omission and certainly of negligence and careless misuse of national funds potentially also of receiving or preparing to receive bribes.
This is an extremely serious case, and one wonders why international newspapers have not picked it up. When international crooks execute a plan to rob an EU country of 4 billion euro over 30 years and when, in spite of street protests, formal complaints from the union of doctors and nurses and even a damning report by the auditor general, the government that entered into the agreements in question had to resign and when the successive governments of the same political party, many of whom were in cabinet at the time of this fraudulent deal, continued to perpetrate the fraud with full knowledge of the ongoing court case, of the auditor’s report and of the feeling of the medical professions and the Maltese and Gozitans, should make world headlines.
Like a house of cards if one card falls then the whole house tumbles. Is that why the present government did not act despite all the evidence? Were they afraid because of their own involvement?
When one also considers that Steward is already being investigated by the FCPA, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, I call upon the US authorities as a former Associate General Counsel and Director of European Affairs of GE and Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Microsoft for a total of 17 years, to institute an investigation into Steward’s activities in Malta.
Did they enter into fraudulent contracts to make unlawful gains to the detriment of the population of Malta, an ally and friend? Did they resort to pre-contractual agreements to obtain undue guarantees and unsecured bank loans? Did they pay bribes and if so to whom and how were these bribes transferred ? Was a Swiss subsidiary which received cash transfers from the sums paid out to Steward by the Maltese Government, transferred in the form of consultancy fees to Maltese politicians and ex-politicians?
These are very serious investigations which should have been carried out by our own police force or by our advocate general who would rather write secret nolle prosequi for selected financial criminals instead of investigating and proceeding against fraudulent con men.
If, on the other hand, as Steward is currently hinting in their defence, they were hoodwinked by Vitals and by the Muscat government working together in the fraudulent deal, then one can understand the dilemma that PM Abela is in. He cannot sue Steward for repayment because they seem to hold all the cards and are indicating that they may have proof of collusion to defraud between the Maltese government and Vitals; proof that they would make public in a court of law. If Abela does nothing and lets Steward off the hook in some strange agreement he may concoct then he will have to face an even angrier electorate which is already deserting him.
Why is he defending his predecessors or even himself and his cabinet? He is cornered.
Malta has had con men albeit on much smaller scales in the past. These were peanuts when compared with the Vitals/Steward robbery. This time we were not fooled but our own government officials actually took part in the scam and continued to support it . Even today, after the court judgement, all the ministers do is smile in their gelled hair and blue ties in their Armani suits and ignore questions and are not ashamed to just continue in government as though such a robbery is the normal business of elected officials. Shame on them. Resign or call a general election.
I also call on the EU to start investigations on all uses of EU funds from 2015 until today to investigate if these funds were spent without proper procurement procedures, and whether they are tainted like this one.
Everyone is surprised that Malta seems to be off the radar of the EU. Is this a case of de minimis non curat praetor? Is the EU using two weights and measures when it comes to small countries in the south. Do they consider us a mafia state and a lost case leaving us to wallow in our own filth? The EU Commission is letting us down badly.