After days and weeks of ignoring the question hoping it would go away, Robert Abela, perhaps shaken to his core by yesterday’s Malta Today poll, undertook to get out of Steward the money they were paid to repair the hospitals which they didn’t spend as they promised.
The fact it took him so long to say this is alone much reason to doubt his sincerity. But there are more reasons to be sceptical, however sincere he may be.
Firstly, the harder he battles them, the more he provokes them to use against him the threat to reveal the government’s misconduct in this affair. If Steward are in possession of evidence of corruption involving Vitals, now would be a good time to use it. If they’ve been given private assurances beyond the worthless promissory note of €100 million they’re not going to keep them to themselves.
Secondly, the only reason he’s talking tough about Steward is that Adrian Delia won the law suit he filed when he was leader of opposition. Until that case was over they fought on the side of Steward, defending the contract and challenging Adrian Delia’s right to contest it. No one trusts the motivations of a turncoat especially when they’ve just switched sides.
Thirdly, Robert Abela ran the government that for the last 3 years was responsible for managing the contract with Steward. If he’s so clear in his mind that they were paid funds which they misused why did he continue to pay those funds until now? How are we expected to trust the man who made the disaster to now clean it up properly, without covering up his own damned errors or malice?
Is any of this an argument for the government to hold back from trying to recover at least some of the hundreds of millions paid to Steward and Vitals before them? No. But it’s a reminder that asking for the money back is nowhere near enough.
Judge Francesco Depasquale assumed that the government’s agents working with Vitals and Steward were naïve, incompetent, and grossly indifferent to the national interest. And yet nobody has resigned because Robert Abela, Chris Fearne, et alia are wordlessly pinning all this on the political corpse of Konrad Mizzi. Clearly, after having cost the country so much, Robert Abela, Chris Fearne, et alia, still expect the country to be enthusiastically gullible, happy to be fooled in this way.
We know enough to make a different assumption, one that is harsher when compared to the one made by the judge. Politicians walked away with illicit money from this deal and other politicians, in office still, covered for them and continue to cover for them. Hopefully some of that will be established by the inquiry started at Repubblika’s instigation years ago and which should be nearing conclusion.
So, ask yourself. Do you want your interests represented in this issue by someone living under the shadow of a criminal investigation about just the issue he is supposed to be dealing with?
I saw Victor Calleja’s article in Times of Malta today and he’s right. Perhaps the most incredible thing about what is going on right now is that there isn’t a political crisis on. Perhaps it’s still in the making.