Cor­rupt clique? Owen Bon­nici takes of­fence

Owen Bon­nici has taken ex­cep­tion to hav­ing his op­po­site num­ber, Ja­son Az­zopardi, call him and his as­so­ciates “a cor­rupt clique”. He has filed a breach of priv­i­lege com­plaint in par­lia­ment, a tac­tic much favoured by the mem­bers of this gov­ern­ment, who don’

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

www.daph­necaru­a­na­gal­izia.com This would be the same Speaker who saw fit to or­der an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Op­po­si­tion leader’s fuel con­sump­tion, fol­low­ing which the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice – the very same one who re­signed for health rea­sons when faced with the prospect of in­ves­ti­ga­tion Kon­rad Mizzi and Keith Schem­bri – asked for and got a mag­is­te­rial in­quiry, with all that waste of money and man­hours, and the at­ten­dant pub­lic cir­cus, to in­ves­ti­gate whether Si­mon Busut­til was spend­ing as much on petrol as he claimed to have been (he was).

He’s also the same Speaker who ac­cepted a cor­rupt ap­point­ment for him­self and de­manded an­other for his daugh­ter in re­turn for keeping his mouth shut about what­ever it was he saw on the in­fa­mous “fourth floor” of the Labour Party’s head­quar­ters, back when he was deputy party leader four years ago. Joseph Mus­cat cyn­i­cally got shot of him back then on a pre­text, so as to be able to bring in the switcher-and-talpepe mag­net Louis Grech.

The re­sult was a highly ag­gra­vated Far­ru­gia who gave the first in­di­ca­tions, in an in­ter­view with The Sun­day Times, of rum­blings that threat­ened to be­come a full­blown erup­tion of rev­e­la­tions about party bankrolling by busi­ness­men in search of favours.

They soon shut him up – not with threats but with un­de­served money and sta­tus, a form of cor­rup­tion in which pub­lic posts, even Con­sti­tu­tional posts like that of the Speaker, are used by govern­ments to re­ward cronies or buy the com­pli­ance (and com­plai­sance) of po­ten­tial en­e­mies.

Ja­son Az­zopardi is cor­rect in calling them a cor­rupt clique, of course.

They are clearly op­er­at­ing as a clique, and they are quite ob­vi­ously cor­rupt, which is why three of them – and those are just the ones we know about, and we don’t even know the ac­tual iden­tity of one of the three – started the process to in­cor­po­rate com­pa­nies in Panama even be­fore the new cabi­net min­is­ters had been for­mally sworn in.

And why they hunted round the shadier parts of the off­shore world for a bank that would agree to open ac­counts tied to those com­pa­nies.

And also – and this is the most per­ti­nent ev­i­dence of all – why the Prime Min­is­ter not only can’t sack Kon­rad Mizzi and Keith Schem­bri, but isn’t will­ing to even dis­tance him­self from them.

On the con­trary, he has gone out of his way to praise and cel­e­brate their spe­cial skills, and has brought Mizzi even closer to him by chang­ing his for­mal ti­tle to “Min­is­ter Within the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter”.

And now Kon­rad Mizzi is lead­ing a trade del­e­ga­tion to the Gulf States with no other than that other mag­nif­i­cent piece of gov­ern­ment up­right­ness and de­cency, Manuel Mal­lia, who was put out to pas­ture for a few brief months af­ter his chauf­feur chased, in the min­is­ter’s of­fi­cial car wear­ing its of­fi­cial GM plates, af­ter a pri­vate cit­i­zen and shot at him at night.

If your cor­rup­tion-alert­warn­ing-sys­tem isn’t flash­ing like mad at the thought of Kon­rad Mizzi and Manuel Mal­lia lead­ing a trade del­e­ga­tion to the Gulf, then it should be.

Why did those two go, in par­tic­u­lar? Mizzi has no port­fo­lio, and Mal­lia is the min­is­ter for ‘com­pet­i­tive­ness’, what­ever that means, re­mote gam­ing and casi­nos, both of which are il­le­gal in the Gulf States be­cause any form of gam­bling is pro­scribed by Is­lam.

Se­lect­ing the Min­is­ter for Gam­bling to lead a trade del­e­ga­tion to the United Arab Emi­rates is a diplo­matic mis­step that could eas­ily be con­strued as a cal­cu­lated in­sult, but he’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be pack­aged as the Min­is­ter for Com­pet­i­tive­ness.

Mean­while, we just have to won­der what they’re up to this time.

No doubt we will dis­cover, through leaks and bits and bobs, and per­haps the hack­ing of yet an­other server in one of the shadier parts of the off­shore world, some of what these shifty shys­ters are plot­ting now.

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