We’ve been waiting for the final NAO report on the hospitals swindle. We’ve been waiting since at least 2019 when we filed and fought in court to start an inquiry into the crimes we were alleging happened in the hospitals concession. We filed in court because the police and the AG ignored the evidence, particularly the evidence published by Daphne Caruana Galizia.
On appeal a judge struck down the order to start an inquiry saying we hadn’t proved the crime. We filed again and this time the inquiry started. Konrad Mizzi sued the government he was a minister of to complain that his fundamental human rights were breached but when he understood that he would lose the case, he withdrew that too.
I won’t be quoting extensively from yesterday’s report because you can read all about it in the newspapers. Suffice it to highlight these three points that are relevant to the argument I want to make.
- The headlines scream that Konrad Mizzi misled Cabinet which, frankly, is the government’s spin because they need to scapegoat the guy who’s left the room while they walk away from this as reluctant heroes.
- The report says that Konrad Mizzi could mislead Cabinet because the prime minister, Joseph Muscat, enabled him to do so. Mizzi and Muscat had an unorthodox relationship, the report said, which fully authorised Konrad Mizzi to act outside the strictures of government. Mizzi used his personal lawyers to represent the government instead of the lawyers hired according to the constitution. He replaced the line minister, whose responsibilities are determined by the constitution, because he was allowed to do so. By Joseph Muscat.
- The VGH deal was already decided before the tender for the hospitals concession was published and the high level terms of the deal were fixed in a document signed by Chris Cardona, another personal and power extension of Joseph Muscat.
So here are my observations:
- Cabinet was not merely misled by Konrad Mizzi, it allowed itself to be misled. I am sorry but this does not absolve them of responsibility, especially the direct responsibility of today’s Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne. The report shows that if Chris Fearne did not know the details of what Konrad Mizzi was negotiating he did know that Konrad Mizzi, and not he, the Health Minister, was negotiating the management of three hospitals on the national health service. It was his duty to tell the prime minister that either he was going to be allowed to do his job as Health Minister or he would resign. And then it was his duty to brief Cabinet that as Health Minister he was blind to the negotiations on the management of three national health service hospitals.
- Cabinet endorsed the agreement even though they had not seen and were not shown the entire set of terms. It was their responsibility to ask to see the terms. Their blind approval is both negligent and complicit. Chris Fearne publicly announced the agreement calling it “the real deal” warning us off criticising it. They have a responsibility for that that they must carry.
- Joseph Muscat did not only run the government. He ran a parallel criminal organisation that included among others Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona, and Keith Schembri who formed a conspiracy to commit crimes of bribery and corruption at the expense of the state and, or so the self-proclaimed victims claim, at the expense of VGH and eventually Steward. If Malta had in place the anti-mafia law that Repubblika proposed to the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry, and which the inquiry endorsed and made its own recommendation, Joseph Muscat and his gang would be charged under it.
- Ram Tumuluri told the Auditor that he wanted whistle-blower protection status to give evidence against the government ministers and officials who applied duress to force on VGH the sale of the concession, something he claims he did not want to do. The Auditor explains he has no legal power to grant whistle-blowers protection even in pursuit of his work. In fact, as we have explained ad nauseam, Robert Abela would in effect be the one to decide whether Ram Tumuluri would get immunity to testify against his former and present colleagues. Good luck with that.
- It is clear now that the Auditor General too thinks that what Konrad Mizzi agreed with the hospitals concessionaires is of manifest disadvantage to “Government” for which read ordinary tax payers and hospital patients. He did not serve our interests as it was his duty to do, which means that he served somebody else’s, presumably his own. Joseph Muscat was fully aware of this and enabled it which means that Muscat’s personal interests took precedence over the public interest which spent nearly half a billion euro for sweet fuck all. There are laws under which this behaviour should be punished but Repubblika’s recommendation to the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry, which it then made its own, was that we should have a specific law punishing abuse of power. The government has rejected the recommendation.
- Konrad Mizzi, Joseph Muscat, and Keith Schembri did not cooperate with the Auditor’s investigation. That’s not just a failure to be nice. The three put themselves between the truth and those whose job according to our constitution is to seek it. That’s the textbook definition of obstruction of justice except that we have no law to punish the obstruction of justice in this country. Repubblika recommended it to the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry. The inquiry made the recommendation its own. The government rejected it.
Robert Abela is bullying the public into accepting him as the saviour of the country who rescued us from Konrad Mizzi, the scapegoat of a scandal the like of which this country has never seen. Few countries have.
The fact of the matter is Robert Abela did nothing to have Konrad Mizzi (and Keith Schembri and Joseph Muscat) removed from office. Days before Joseph Muscat’s resignation, Robert Abela appeared behind him sneering at the press. Weeks before he accused Daphne’s sons of hating their country with more intensity than their love of their mother. When it became necessary to do so, he took that back.
While Robert Abela advised Joseph Muscat and publicly defended him, we were out in the streets everyday demanding Joseph Muscat resigns, branding him and his gang, with no inhibition, as “mafia”. It wasn’t a figure of speech. It was an accusation.
We went to court to have them investigated for crimes and Robert Abela’s client, Joseph Muscat, led the appeals to have our requests denied. Fortunately, ultimately, they weren’t. For that, until just lust Sunday, Robert Abela calls us “extremist” which means that in his judgement we should not refer politicians who commit crimes to the authorities for investigation and due process.
It is not thanks to him that Joseph Muscat and his gang are not still in office perpetrating their vile crimes. Robert Abela propped Joseph Muscat up. For crying out loud, Robert Abela leads the party that that gave us Joseph Muscat the Invincible, Konrad Mizzi the Star Candidate and Super Minister, and Keith, for so he was known.
We fought to have them removed. He fought to keep them on.
He also rejected changes in the law that would have empowered institutions to act against the criminals and the crimes documented by the Auditor General (and before him, Daphne Caruana Galizia and the journalists who followed up on her work after she was killed).
When Robert Abela was faced in Parliament with a bill that would have made these recommendations into law, he mocked it and instructed his MPs to vote against it.
He is complicit. He is heir to the mafia. He is it.