The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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It’s not a government. It’s a crime syndicate.

Daphne Caruana Galizia Sunday, 12 February 2017, 11:30 Last update: about 8 years ago

Over in Panama, Ramon Fonseca and Juergen Mossack have been in police custody since Thursday. Panamanian police have raided their offices and even their homes. Photographs of the two men accompanied by police officers have made the world news headlines. The reason is pressure from Brazil. Panama’s anti-corruption prosecutors have been under tremendous pressure to go after the two for the manner in which they helped, through the setting up of complicated ‘Russian doll’ nominee companies, a Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht, which is suspected of paying $800 million in bribes in different countries across Latin America.

If Malta had properly functioning institutions and separate powers, this would be the time for the police, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the fiscal authorities to request assistance from Panama’s prosecutors in an investigation into the identity of Egrant Inc’s ultimate beneficial owner, and to seize all documentation related to the companies owned by the Maltese prime minister’s chief of staff and his energy minister who claims to have no portfolio. But this is not going to happen, because Malta is governed by a crime syndicate, and the first thing that crime syndicate set about doing, when it achieved its suspiciously-funded objective of getting itself voted into power, was to set about dismantling, or undermining through shady appointments, every institution or investigative body it could. The public service has been demoralised, every state corporation and department loaded with fishy cronies, and highly suspect organisations like Identity Malta have been set up to avoid scrutiny and to put a rocket under correct procedure.

Had the investigative authorities in Malta been functioning properly, the Prime Minister, his chief of staff and his energy minister would all have been under investigation since February last year, leading to prosecution. And right now, those investigative authorities would have been in the perfect position to leap in and take advantage of the fact that Mossack and Fonseca are now under investigation in their own country. But none of that is going to happen, though we hope it will happen when these corrupt crooks are finally voted out, whether it’s next year or in five years’ time, and this anger against them is one of the reasons so many more people will be voting against them this time. The sight of them getting away with it because they have corrupted the system completely is revolting.

But we must bear in mind at all times that they thought their Panama companies would never be uncovered, that people who suspected that they were up to no good would never have evidence of that. The totally out-of-the-blue event that was the extraction of the entire contents of Mossack Fonseca’s servers blew that particular plan out of the water. When it became known that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, his ‘personal’ minister and a third man had started the process to set up companies in Panama just days after coming to power in March 2013, it followed that there would have to be an investigation, leading to prosecution, by the police and fiscal authorities. It will not happen while they are in power, because Malta is not democratically developed, but it will have to happen when they are no longer in power. Those three men – the prime minister’s chief of staff, Konrad Mizzi and their anonymous co-conspirator – know this. And that is why they are so desperate. Yet it is the one factor that so many routinely overlook. They will not be in power forever, they know they will not be in power forever, they know they can’t do anything to change that situation, and they also know they can’t fend off their investigation and prosecution beyond the point when they will no longer be in power. In simple terms, not only are we governed by a crime syndicate, but by a crime syndicate that is fighting for its life.

Those who tried to investigate properly have ended up resigning. The Police Commissioner is a stooge who, as somebody smartly described him, is far more interested in admiring the size of the Prime Minister’s private parts than he is in doing his job. And the country is going to hell in a hand basket. But the Police Commissioner will not be a stooge forever, the investigative authorities will eventually be beefed up and brought up to par, the crooks and cronies will be booted out, and the criminals who govern us will get what is coming to them. In 1987, they didn’t, and Malta is still paying the price for that catastrophic poor judgement until today. I don’t think the party led by Simon Busuttil is going to make that mistake. He knows that if he allows them to go unpunished, he will end up being punished severely by this very, very angry electorate.

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