The Malta Independent 21 October 2021, Thursday

TMID Editorial: PAC - Defending a ‘coward chicken’

Friday, 8 October 2021, 09:49 Last update: about 13 days ago

Former energy minister Konrad Mizzi on Wednesday brazenly refused to appear before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, where he was set to be grilled over his role in the scandalous power station deal.

That Mizzi chose to go down the path of arrogance and refuse to appear before a forum whose aim is to hold MPs accountable was, perhaps, not so surprising. After all, over the past years, Mizzi has consistently refused to answer the important questions and insist that he did nothing wrong … he always tried to justify the alleged corruption by saying that the energy project led to cheaper utility bills for families. He did the same in this week’s social media post, in fact.

Mizzi refused to appear before the PAC arguing that this was nothing more than a partisan exercise, even if we are speaking here about an official Parliamentary committee, not the PN executive.

Mizzi was wrong because one does not get to choose in such matters. If the PAC summons you for questioning over a scandalous deal, you go. He had the option of refusing to answer questions, as he has done in the past, but his refusal to even show up was a slap in the face of the country’s highest institution.

But enough about Mizzi. What is truly worrying is how the Labour MPs on the PAC defended the disgraced former minister’s no-show.

Konrad Mizzi has been an independent MP for nearly a year and a half now – he was unceremoniously kicked out of the PL in June 2020 – but his former colleagues, it seems, still find it hard to denounce him.

Wednesday’s sitting descended into a pathetic shouting match just because the PL members on the committee found it too hard to approve a PN-proposed motion that called out Mizzi for the disrespect he had shown towards the same committee.

It was not a motion to flog him in public, or to put him behind bars. The PN motion was only meant to ‘condemn’ Mizzi’s actions and call them ‘deplorable.’ Hardly a savage beating. Yet the Labour MPs felt that those words were too harsh to use against their former Cabinet buddy.

Mizzi, it turns out, was right about one thing: the committee did descend into a partisan charade, but only because the government MPs went down that path.

They insisted that the PN motion was “political spin” and, at one point, one of them even brought up Karol Aquilina’s driving court case. We will not even go into the fact that the Labour media – which spun the story out of proportion – has so far failed to report the important fact that the court cleared the Nationalist MP while admonishing the police force for even prosecuting him.

The simple truth is that Mizzi showed pure arrogance when he refused to appear before the PAC and his Labour friends refused to call him out for it.

The fact that they proposed (and approved) a motion to summon him again shows how right the PN was in criticising his behaviour.

So why is it so difficult for the PL to do the same? Why treat Mizzi who, after all, shamed the Labour Party and Malta many times over, with velvet gloves?

Does the Labour Party have any future plans for him, perhaps?

 

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