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’
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.