Ignoring corruption doesn’t make it go away | Iggy Fenech

    Ian Abdilla outside depot

    Remember when Trump said the USA has the world’s highest number of coronavirus cases because it’s been doing a lot of tests? And that if it had to stop testing, it would have fewer coronavirus cases than other countries do? It sounded stupid, didn’t it? Of course it did, because testing doesn’t change the actual number of COVID-19 cases, just the number of confirmed ones. The disease is there whether we acknowledge it or not.

    Well, we’re pretty much in the same waters here in Malta: not when it comes to COVID-19 though, but when it comes to corruption.

    You see, as it transpired during this week’s court proceedings in the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry, even the judges are baffled as to why Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri were not properly investigated.

    “How could you not send for Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi?” Judge Lofaro asked Ian Abdilla, who until last week was the Head of the Malta Police Force’s Economic Crimes Unit. “They were not Joe Public. These were politically exposed persons. The Panama Papers scandal broke out worldwide, and you tell us you didn’t send for these people? It just doesn’t make sense. Police must investigate, that’s why you’re there.

    I have no doubt that the majority of police officers do their job to the best of their abilities, but such instances completely discredit the Force as a whole. Not to mention that it continues to erode trust in our institutions and in the state, as well as to reinforce the obvious, which is that we are not all equal under the law.

    Sadly, that is not even the worst part. The trust our country has worked so hard to build over the past thirty years is now hanging by a thread so thin that a sneeze could sever it.

    And, for the sake of all that’s sacred, this isn’t the fault of people who exposed the gross misconduct of those who are meant to govern us, but of those who refused to shoulder the responsibility that came with their roles and engaged in corrupt practices.

    • Now, Malta has been downgraded to a ‘flawed’ democracy by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual index.
    • Now, Malta is of ‘exceptional concern for press freedom,’ as stated in the 2020 council of Europe report on press freedom, which also said that ‘impunity often reveals wider, systemic flaws in the rule of law.’
    • Now, Malta risks being included in the Financial Action Task Force’s money laundering grey list unless it cleans its act up by October, as we’ve been told by a Malta financial services watchdog.

    But what do we worry about? Boris Johnson calling us fat (which statistics show we are).

    People in this country need to realise that economic stability and prosperity are not a given. The life we live today is the result of choices we as a country made in the past, and the choices we are making today will shape our (very near) future.

    So, please, be angry at what is being revealed. Be angry at all the corruption. Today, you can do that while you still have a job and there is still some semblance of stability in the country; tomorrow, you may have to be angry about having those taken away, too.