The Malta Independent 23 June 2024, Sunday
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Caught in the act

Kevin Cassar Sunday, 26 May 2024, 08:32 Last update: about 29 days ago

Roderick Galdes was caught in the act.  The courts concluded that “voters were deceived, led to commit criminal offences”.

99 people were registered as living in Siġġiewi in order to vote there in June’s local council elections while living in other localities. All 99 applicants committed fraud when they falsely claimed to be living at Binja Silvio Parnis. All applications were countersigned by the same person from Identità (previously Identity Malta) confirming that all lived there.

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Minister Roderick Galdes was in on the scam.  He told journalists “everything (in the apartments) is ready, water meters…there are people living there”. Galdes was lying.  When the magistrate visited the site it was clear nobody lived there.  The whole block was locked.  When the magistrate managed to get inside with the help of the police, the unoccupied apartments were filmed.  That footage was presented in court as evidence confirming that Galdes had lied. A Housing Authority official testified that none of the prospective tenants had been given keys to the apartments.

Minister Galdes surely knew that none of those prospective tenants had moved in.  He’s been known to call applicants personally  to inform them that their application for social housing had been accepted.  He even defended his shameless practice. “I contact people who have come to me for help to inform them of their request,” he bragged, even claiming credit for his accessibility: “I choose not to remove myself from people and keep to my desk without listening to them."

The whole story is scandalous.  Even the court, utterly disgusted, commented that “voters were shamefully manipulated to change their address to the Siġġiewi flats even though they were uninhabitable”. Those voters were induced to make false declarations exposing them to criminal prosecution.

They were called to go to Binja Silvio Parnis, “precisely room 711 entrance 7 in order to change their ID card address” even though they weren’t living there. A member of staff from Identita’ testified that Jennifer Falzon, the CEO of Malita Investments, the government company responsible for the social housing building, personally sent several members of her own staff to greet the prospective tenants to change their ID cards.

Jennifer Falzon issued a company announcement denying any wrongdoing, but admitted that “the only meetings organised by the company were with prospective tenants specifically for the purpose of handing over the premises and completing the necessary forms for the changes in water and electricity services”. 

Those 99 persons filled in false applications and Identità staff countersigned those false documents, knowing full well none of them lived there.  The court found those applications were made in such haste that mandatory fields, such as dates of birth, gender and place of birth, were left unfilled. Despite missing key information the applications were processed in record time and within less than 48 hours utility meters had already been installed. All those applications were submitted just 48 hours before the electoral application was filed.

This fraud has Labour’s fingerprints all over it.  It’s a repeat of the disability benefits scandal.  Labour abuses of vulnerable people, exploiting them for their vote and exposing them to criminal prosecution.  The court even ordered investigation of one of those prospective tenants for perjury.  He falsely claimed, like Minister Galdes did, that the apartment was finished, save for the furniture.

The pity is that those prospective tenants have been waiting for accommodation for years.  The court noted that one of them was promised accommodation in October 2021, just before another election. Now they’re facing potential criminal prosecution for perjury and making false statements to a state official.

The court went one step further. The magistrate recommended that the police should identify and investigate those public officials who induced those vulnerable people to commit crime.

Identifying them should not be difficult.  Those Identità officials who countersigned the false statements are known.  So is Malita investments CEO, Jennifer Falzon.  So are the people who processed those applications for services despite missing key information.

Those officials are unlikely to have worked on their own initiative.  Somebody higher up must have instructed them to falsely register those 99 voters as Siġġiewi residents. That’s another thing the police must look into. 

After the damning court ruling Minister Roderick Galdes didn’t express shock or disgust at what was happening in his ministry.  He didn’t request an investigation.  Instead he launched a tirade against the opposition and the courts.  “You have power in the courts, we have the people’s trust,” he shouted in parliament.

For weeks Galdes had been attacking journalists who exposed the criminal scheme. “This is media spin,” he rebutted, “this is the spin you’re trying to give it” he told the Maltatoday reporter who confronted him outside parliament. The reporter repeatedly asked Galdes “Aren’t you worried that the same person filled all the applications (to change the addresses on the ID cards)?” Galdes ignored the question. 

“Do you deny it?” the reporter insisted. “I don’t need to go into that detail. The Identity Malta clerks don’t work with us,” Galdes rudely replied before dashing off.

The court is right.  Those 99 voters “were manipulated and exploited by those who were meant to safeguard their interest and well-being”.  That is what Labour does, over and over again. It exploits citizens to cement its power. 

Nobody amongst Labour’s ranks condemned the exploitation of those vulnerable individuals.  None of Labour’s MPs or prospective MEPs expressed their shock at such rampant abuse and election fraud. Some even defended it.  The Minister responsible for housing attacked the opposition and the court.

The whole country is so accustomed to Labour’s abuse that nobody’s surprised. Everybody shrugged their shoulders and carried on with their life.  Everybody knows that’s what Labour does.  They have no red lines, no limits, no qualms, no respect for anything or anybody. They lie, cheat, manipulate and exploit.  Anything goes for Labour. After all they know Angelo Gafa won’t be scrambling to investigate and prosecute the masterminds behind Labour’s latest fraud.

 

 

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