The Malta Independent 2 December 2023, Saturday
View E-Paper

Buying people

Kevin Cassar Sunday, 5 November 2023, 09:13 Last update: about 28 days ago

Robert Abela tried to buy the silence of Jean Paul Sofia’s mum. She was fighting for justice for her interred son. He was fighting for his own survival. Isabelle Bonnici, Sofia’s mother was causing Abela grief.  She wouldn’t be quiet. And her cause was steadily mobilising public opinion against Abela and his callous refusal to hear her pleas. Abela was seeing his once unassailable ratings dip.  The opportunistic vultures within his own party were already circling. Abela had to put an end to it.


So Abela offered her money. The rich kid who’s always got his way believes he can buy anything and anybody. For him, every man (and woman) has his price.  Witness the multitude of switchers who flipped at the mere flash of a shiny euro. Look at Lou Bondi. Or Kristy Debono. Or Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando. It would be easy, Robert Abela thought. And besides it would hardly be coming out of his own pocket would it. She’s only after the money, he reasoned to himself. All I need to do is meet her and figure out how much she’s expecting in return for her silence.

You can’t blame him for thinking everything and everyone’s for sale. He sees with his own eyes how cheaply people are bought - a hundred euro cheque, an expedited driving test, an unmerited driving licence, a phantom job, undeserved disability benefits. It’s true, some cost a bit more - two CEO jobs, direct contracts, a whole new Maltese language centre to head, government land, non-starter development permits. But ultimately they all take up the offer.  None resist too long, and when they do it’s just another part of their negotiation strategy. You just need to find the right price and they’ll sell you their soul. That’s the point of Abela’s customer care offices.  That’s why he’s got an army of customer care officers.  That’s the way our politics works, he insisted - and if anybody thinks this isn’t how our politics should work, Abela disagrees.

Abela’s politics is built on buying people. It’s an elaborate patron-client scam which benefits him, his party and his friends and exploits everybody else. And it always works.

That’s why Abela was so confident that the Sofia problem would evaporate. He was certain Sofia’s mum would back off - at the right price. Abela couldn’t imagine that somebody would be so stupid as to turn down good money.  Abela thinks everybody reasons like he does.

We know what drives the man - money, greed. When he was earning €17,000 per month in his plum job at the Planning Authority he had the cheek to claim tens of thousands more in overtime payment. And that wasn’t enough. He had other consultancies with several other entities - Airmalta, ARMS, and the Environment Ministry.

So blinded is he by greed that he entered into a slimy deal with Christian Borg, a man with a dodgy past, now charged with kidnapping, for just €45,000. Abela didn’t need that money. He wasn’t dying of hunger.

Christian Borg applied for a PA permit to build on a parcel of land he had no legal title to and on which Robert Abela held a promise of sale. Abela was legal consultant to the PA. Once the permit was issued for building of apartments and garages, Abela sold his rights on that land to Borg for 45,000 euro. Borg must have had some secret prior deal with Abela. Otherwise why and how could he apply for a permit on land under promise of sale to Abela? 

No wonder Abela keeps trying to evade the subject.  No wonder he got so furious when Jacob Borg asked him about it.  “It was just a small plot in Zabbar”.  No it wasn’t.  It was far more. It was a declaration of Abela’s insatiable greed.  No wonder he wanted to kill the subject when Mark Laurence Zammit raised it in his interview.

But the pampered kid was in for a big surprise. Sofia’s mother turned him down. She wasn’t going to sell out. This was her son, her only son.  This was his life. She would never, for a second, dream of betraying her own son’s memory.  A husband might betray his wife.  But a mother, her son? She couldn’t believe Abela was even trying this out with her. The disgust she must have felt at Abela’s shameless cynicism must have been overwhelming.

“How are you?”, he asked Isabelle Bonnici, putting on his charm offensive while escorting her into the parliament lift. “I am battling (“Nikkumbatti”) because I want the whole truth”, she replied boldly. She was thinking of her son’s cruel end, crushed under the rubble. Robert Abela, as is his wont, had other things on his mind “I’ll have to sign in otherwise they’ll charge me 50 euro”.


  • don't miss