A land of nosy parkers – Arnold Cassola

In February of 2016, Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote a post about New Zealand lamb which nobody – except for Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri – understood.

A few days later, she posted about a Panama hat. Again, all gibberish for us normal mortals.

A couple of months later, we had the full unfolding of the Panama Papers saga and we finally understood what the lamb and the hat had stood for.

The Panama revelations sent shivers all over the world, in both political and financial circles.

In Malta, instead, our notorious two Ks, together with their crony Brian Tonna, were granted total immunity and impunity, courtesy of our Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, who took it upon himself to protect and defend his three bosom friends.

And this he did, at the cost of sacrificing any human being who dared question or investigate the three buddies.

Since Daphne’s first portrayal of Konrad Mizzi’s New Zealand lamb, 22 months have passed. In this lapse of time, while ironically Mizzi, Schembri and Tonna still stand proud and tall, others have had to bite the dust, give up their careers and hang up their boots.

In April 2016, Police Commissioner Michael Cassar resigned with immediate effect, citing health reasons.

The man who had shown courage and leadership and who had withstood the violence of a bomb planted at his home by drug traffickers was forced to terminate his career in order not to prosecute Mizzi and Schembri.

Four months later, in August, Manfred Galdes, described by his present employers as one of Malta’s foremost anti-money-laundering and compliance specialists, was forced to resign from his post of chairman of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit.

We have escaped officially being classified as a tax haven by the skin of our teeth

His mortal offence? Having investigated the Maltese protagonists of the Panama Papers case thoroughly.

A few days later, it was the turn of Court of Auditors hopeful Leo Brincat to be humiliated in the European Parliament, with a negative vote of 381 against, 229 in favour and 58 abstentions. His sin: having voted in favour of Konrad Mizzi in the vote of confidence taken in Parliament.

In May 2017, Jonathan Ferris was kicked out of his job at FIAU. Why? He was being too much of a nosy parker, investigating Mizzi and Schembri’s behaviour and insisting on their being prosecuted.

December 2017: It was the turn of the distinguished academic and Finance Minister Edward Scicluna to be vilified by the Brussels Eurogroup. Despite his being fully qualified for the post of president, he was not even allowed to propose his candidature. Reason? His having had to obey Muscat’s orders to vote in favour of Mizzi in the parliamentary vote.

And the punishment even becomes a collective one. Because of Mizzi, Schem-bri and Tonna, the international press unjustly describes all of us Maltese as financial crooks.

Moreover, in 2017, the European Parliament debates the situation in Malta twice and sends parliamentary committees another two times to Malta to investigate us, as if we were all criminals.

And we have just escaped officially being classified as a tax haven by the skin of our teeth.

In the face of all this, the Prime Minister mysteriously continues to stand up for his three protégés despite risking the triggering of Article 7 of the EU Treaties, which could deprive Malta of its voting rights.

Muscat, how much more collective humiliation must our country be subjected to so that you can keep on protecting and defending your three cronies?

Arnold Cassola
Published on the Times of Malta​ – 20 December 2017