Joseph Muscat would have been comfortable in a cubicle at the Ministry of Truth right there behind Winston Smith. Yesterday he was busy casting into the fires of oblivion what we all remembered witnesses tell the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry. Almost all the evidence the inquiry heard was heard in public. We can dispute some of the recommendations the judges made but if we are to dispute what they say they heard we must also contradict our own ears.

Muscat told the PAC yesterday the inquiry misheard what former finance minister and incumbent central bank governor told it.

I’ll reproduce here Times of Malta’s summary drawn up a tempo vergine right in the courtroom after a blow-by-blow account of what Edward Scicluna said in one of those many “live blogs” the country followed so keenly:

  • Edward Scicluna says he was not part of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ or ‘inner core’ that influenced Joseph Muscat’s government and ‘bypassed the system’;

  • He named former prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri as being part of that core, along with former minister Konrad Mizzi, on some projects;

  • He said he advised Joseph Muscat to remove Konrad Mizzi from cabinet after his secret offshore company was revealed in the Panama Papers leak;

  • He admits there were weaknesses in the system that allowed a series of controversial ‘Schedule 3’ projects to go ahead without his ministry’s oversight;

  • He defended his role in controversial projects, saying it was limited to allocating funds and ensuring they were budgeted;

  • He would advise against the Vital Global Healthcare hospitals deal, were he consulting privately on it;

  • Scicluna says his only role in the Electrogas power plant project was providing a bank guarantee “at a late stage”;

  • He did not know Yorgen Fenech, the businessman behind the Electrogas power plant, owner of secret company 17 Black and the man accused of conspiring to kill Caruana Galizia.

We can reproduce the transcripts of his testimony if Joseph Muscat insists but the outcome will be no different. Edward Scicluna did say these things and the inquiry did not mishear or misunderstand, let alone misconstrue what he said. Also, what Edward Scicluna said was corroborated by others which is not an insignificant detail.

Joseph Muscat is gaslighting the country, making us doubt our clear recollections. He can do that because despite this evidence against him given in court, despite all the evidence against him that has been published since 2016, despite inquiries into his conduct that have been going on for years, no one seems willing to put handcuffs on him.

The only regret he expressed yesterday? That he didn’t take journalists with him to Baku on that notorious meeting with Ilham Aliyev before the whole swindle started. It’s one of those false regrets that in themselves amount to a protestation of innocence. Why, if I had been smart enough to bring journalists with me they would have seen for themselves that I had nothing to hide, Joseph Muscat implicitly reassures us.

It’s not like if he did have journalists with him, he couldn’t keep them from listening in to his conversations with Aliyev. Even more significant than the absence of journalists is that the prime minister went on an official visit to another country without any accompanying (non-partisan) officials, no ambassadors, no permanent secretaries, no protocol officers, nothing. It was him, Keith, Konrad, and Kurt like an episode of the Three Stooges and a guest star.

That’s what makes that trip the best representation of how a gang of criminals captured the Maltese state, discarded all manner of internal controls within it, and used it to pursue their criminal objectives.

Incidentally on the trip to Baku he didn’t take his finance minister Edward Scicluna with him either. It was a trip for Muscat’s kitchen cabinet.

We can’t let this guy wipe our memories and rewrite history.