The Malta Independent 14 November 2018, Wednesday

The Egrant Inquiry: A quibbler's fest

Sunday, 5 August 2018, 08:05 Last update: about 4 months ago

The publication of the Egrant Inquiry really sprang a surprise.

When 50 pages were mentioned, my reaction was: "Was there the need for the report to be so long?

Didn't the owner, Mr Brian Tonna of Nexia BT, last year, in the run-up to the General Election's public declare that Egrant was his?

Then why the need for so much paper- (and, no doubt, leg-) work?"

Fifty pages I thought was going overboard for a mystery that was already cleared up. Who would incriminate one's self publicly in such a way? It would be amazing of someone to do so if it were true, but very strange if such a statement were not true.

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But then I realized that those 50 pages were an encapsulated version of 1500 pages.

And here the plot begins to sicken.

Common sense dictates that the best place for the Inquiring Magistrate to have begun was Nexia BT.

It seems that the Magistrate was not provided with sufficient documentation to be convinced that Egrant is really Brian Tonna's.

So much so, that he resorted to that Dubai bank and was snubbed by the authorities. Which really is no surprise, but more of that later.

What is surprising is that the Inquiring Magistrate did not also consult the Panamanian authorities, especially since the police there not only raided the offices of Mossack Fonseca, but also drove the company into liquidation.

The Panamanian authorities, in their frenzied efforts to try to salvage what was left of the country's reputation, would have been more inclined to help the authorities of another country, especially since their own police brought about Mossack Fonseca's premature demise.

The Panamanian authorities would have been more inclined to help the Inquiring Magistrate than those of Dubai were disposed to.

Dubai, unlike Panama, had no problem with their financial sector bringing the UAE into disrepute, and hence they would have scoffed at the idea of meddlesome foreign authorities trying to stir up a hornet's nest.

Since the report has the Inquiring Magistrate also turning to the UK for assistance, one can safely assume that Panama was not mentioned, the simple reason being that Panama was not asked for help.

How could Panama have helped?

In MF's offices, sealed under police guard, sits Egrant not only gathering dust, but also detailing all that is necessary to establish unequivocally to whom it belongs.

Yes, it was a glaring omission not to have resorted to the Panamanian authorities.

Malta had nothing to lose and everything to gain in the name of justice all round.

The worst that could have happened was to receive a second snub in the wake of Dubai's.

And Malta's authorities would have been back to square one.

But if full co-operation would have been forthcoming, then that report would have been unassailably conclusive and not one that raised more questions than it answered and bred only suspicions without allaying any.

For that's what we have now: a quibbler's fest.

And the quibblers have already started making merry.

 

Joe Genovese

Birkirkara


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