The Malta Independent 17 October 2018, Wednesday

Criminal?

Alfred Sant Thursday, 9 August 2018, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Egrant saga which is still making waves has raised a number of questions of an ethical, political and legal nature that might be getting lost in the din made by the arguments being pushed at us from at least three directions.

The fact is that very powerful allegations were made. They would have had the effect of totally destroying the reputation for integrity of the Prime Minister and his wife, while exposing them and their family to general contempt. It was established that the allegations were based on zero evidence, and indeed in part on fraudulent “proof”.

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Questions that arise then are: Did the person who made the allegations and who published them know there was no evidence, or that what evidence existed, was indeed fake?

If yes, the acts which this person launched would then amount to a criminal conspiracy.

If no, did the person concerned carry out any checks to verify the allegations?

If that person did not, it showed a criminal negligence.

If it did check and was tricked, then that person carries enormous political responsibility.

From all perspectives, the ethical question remains: how could a vilification campaign be mounted on the scale that was adopted when in any event, the corroborating evidence was insubstantial right from the start?

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The independent media

We were told that the independent media too needed to review how they are being run since on the Egrant case for sure, they allowed themselves to be guided by their inherent prejudices. I could see this for myself, since through personal experience, I know how in the past the same media would cover with prudence and scepticism scandalous cases revealed under the Fenech Adami and Gonzi administrations.

Still, it hardly appears that such a review has actually taken place. Or if it has, nothing about it has been made public.

The attitude seems to be: Hey! The Egrant affair ended in a crash. But let’s see how all the other cases that remain will turn out!

How do they know what we’re going to “see”?

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The Curia

On the left, the suspicion – which I think is justified – persists: the management of the Maltese Catholic church carried, and still does carry, more favourable sentiments towards the PN than towards Labour. I rarely comment about this claim – which the Curia routinely denies – for with the patchy exception of Latin America, the same happens in all countries where the Catholic Church has been long established.

The current Archbishop adopted an approach of commenting on the political and economic situation, even in a controversial way, when he feels the need to do so. Such an approach does not bother me but it did irk some on the left, who felt that in the main, the Archbishop’s comments appeared to criticise the government and some of its initiatives.

Again, this was hardly surprising as the Church, acting well within its rights, had come out strongly against the most recent IVF reforms. Still it was also true that quite a few of the Archbishop’s comments went well beyond this particular controversy.

Now, some of those who took umbrage at the Archbishop’s previous comments, pointed out how about the Egrant case, with its very serious implications, the Curia’s voice was practically nowhere to be heard. On this point, they are correct. At the time of writing this, and for as much as I can tell, the only comment that was made publicly appeared in last weekend’s “Leħen is-Sewwa” when three lay opinion makers were asked for their views.

 

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