The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

TMIS Editorial: Let’s not forget about these …

Sunday, 12 July 2020, 11:30 Last update: about 23 days ago

The headlines over the past week have been dominated by the pitiful situation the PN finds itself in .... with an Opposition Leader who has lost the confidence of two thirds of his MPs but refuses to go.

Of course, the dire situation at Dar Centrali is not a trivial matter. On the contrary, it is a very serious matter with repercussions on a national level.

But, unfortunately, it is serving as an unwitting smokescreen for the government scandals.

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There was one particular news story this week that hit the headlines but was quickly side-lined by the goings on at the PN HQ … the NAO report on the VGH agreement.

The report found evidence of collusion between representatives of the government and the investors behind the company that had no prior healthcare experience. Incredibly, the NAO found that the government had entered into an agreement with the company even before the supposedly competitive process started – it was a done deal.

The health Parliamentary Secretary at the time was left in the dark and the Finance Minister was not consulted. Everyone has denied having had knowledge of this famous Memorandum of Understanding which, which has unbelievably gone missing.

Abela said on Friday that he had asked to see the agreement, but the document could not be found.

How such an agreement can go missing is beyond explanation, and the matter cannot stop there. Agreements of this magnitude do not just disappear into thin air. Every effort must be done to not only find the agreement but also those who were behind it.

The NAO spoke of collusion between representatives of government and VGH. Who are these representatives that the NAO speaks of? Who will shoulder the responsibility for the millions lost to VGH?

The government said that the political responsibility had been shouldered when Konrad Mizzi was sacked. But that is a totally inadequate reply. First of all, Mizzi’s resignation from minister and his subsequent sacking from the Labour parliamentary group were unrelated to VGH. Secondly, even if they were, a dismissal alone is not enough.

The same goes for Joseph Muscat. Abela told us a few weeks back that the PL has created a new standard in Maltese politics, but it seems that the concept that the buck stops with the Prime Minister is still elusive in this country.

Prime Ministers abroad have resigned for much less yet, in Malta, no one gets to carry any responsibility for a corrupt deal that cost the taxpayer millions of euro.

The smoke coming out from Dar Centrali is not only covering the VGH report.

Let’s not forget that a few weeks ago we found out that Yorgen Fenech’s 17 Black made €4.6 million from the sale of a windfarm that was later acquired by Enemalta. And media houses have been faced with the prospect of SLAPP suits by one of the persons involved.

Let’s not forget that it emerged in court last week that the police admitted that they did nothing when the Panama revelations broke … that the Economic Crimes Unit did not send for Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi after it was revealed that they had set up companies in a secret jurisdiction.

Those companies, it later turned out, were linked to 17 Black and were to receive money from it. 

This is also a time when the Attorney General is once again under fire for having told investigators to thread carefully so as not to create unrest in the country.

And we also heard recently that the servers of Nexia BT, the company that set up the Panama companies for Mizzi and Schembri, were only seized a year after the revelations.

This is precisely why the farce that is taking place inside the Nationalist Party is causing great harm to the country.

Malta needs a strong opposition but, currently, there is no opposition at all. 

The PN is not only being ineffective against corruption but it is also unwittingly providing a smokescreen for the corruption it is meant to be fighting. It is a truly pitiful situation.

 

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