MidSea Books published this morning Robert Aquilina’s new book “Pilatus: A Laundromat Bank in Europe”. The book is an intimidating 734 pages, but it won’t be necessary for you to read it all because as of its 265th page the book places you in possession of evidence that should form the basis of the prosecution of a bunch of criminals who have committed serious crimes in Malta and has been buried and hidden by our authorities.

You can read the nearly 500 pages of evidence if you’re so inclined, but the real drama here is in the mere fact that you possess the evidence, and it will be on your bookshelves for ever.

For one thing it’s only fair. €7.5 million worth of tax money went into the drawing up of all that evidence. The evidence was not used by the prosecution service against the criminals identified by it. The least you can expect is that you get to keep a souvenir copy of all that work on which so much of your money was spent.

More seriously, taking possession of this evidence is an act of protest. Robert Aquilina leads his readers and the buyers of his book in an act of defiance against corruption and the complicity of state actors in it. It is a formidable and more than merely symbolic response to state secrecy and the burial of evidence. It is the physical act of people, ordinary citizens, readers who no longer meekly accept the official story but who instead personally and directly take possession of the facts.

Some of the evidence is represented as directly scanned images. Some of it is transcribed by the author’s hand to avoid the persecution of the sources and who helped Robert Aquilina piece together this grand conspiracy.

I was particularly struck by an internal exchange of emails within the police department. The trail of emails shows without any hint of a doubt that the police had decided not to prosecute two people identified by the inquiry for criminal prosecution. They decided not to prosecute them, but they couldn’t say why. So, they sat down in committee, after the fact, to come up with legal reasons that could justify the Attorney General in letting them off the hook.

You should read the relief of Deputy Commissioner Alexandra Mamo at having the problem solved for her by her staff: “Thank you would be an understatement,” she gushes. One can only imagine the delight of the criminals as they get a call telling them they didn’t need to worry that the evidence against them would ever be used.

This is the making of a grand and grotesque cover-up.

Most of the Directors of Pilatus Bank are far away from Malta, conveniently beyond the reach of the Maltese prosecution service. The ones within its reach because they live here or because they still need the Maltese court to recover money they claimed is owed to them, have been given a certificate of immunity by the attorney general.

It’s not unlike the clean bill of health issued by the then acting director of the FIAU to Pilatus Bank despite the mountains of evidence of industrial scale money laundering happening there. That Acting Director all those years ago was Alfred Zammit, who is today, you’d better believe it, Acting Director of the FIAU.

This is the making of a grand and grotesque cover-up.

Repubblika didn’t ignore the fact that the prosecution service was discarding evidence which cost the country €7.5 million. We took the matter to court challenging the Attorney General’s decision. There the Attorney General, represented by her lawyer the State’s Advocate, insisted that the proceedings are heard behind closed door and that the public is not allowed to hear Robert Aquilina present the evidence which is now part of his book.

This is the making of a grand and grotesque cover-up.

What Robert Aquilina has done is blown the lid off this cover-up. The investigation is not his. He didn’t have €7.5 million to do it. But the investigation was done on your behalf and in your interest because the crimes of the owner and directors of Pilatus Bank cost you and your country its reputation in the world.

It is just not fair that all this is buried just in case some irate Iranian faking his nationality as something else spills the beans on Joseph and Michelle Muscat and whatever transactions did or did not go through their bank. Joseph Muscat’s impunity is just not important enough to justify the impunity for the perpetrators of the crimes exposed in Robert Aquilina’s book.

You don’t get a refund if you read all 500 pages of evidence but if you’ve ever wondered what you can do to protest corrupt institutions like the police and the prosecution service covering up for big-shot criminals, now’s your chance to do something useful. Go to any bookshop and get your copy of the evidence Angelo Gafà and Victoria Buttigieg wanted no one, especially no court, to see.

Hold the book up high and say it loud in the general direction of all those stooges of Joseph Muscat and Ali Sadr even as they are allowed to get away with it all: “I know what you did”.