Konrad Mizzi has finally been forced to resign from the PL’s Parliamentary Group: while he still (incredibly) remains an MP, he no longer represents the Labour Party. The science-fiction plot line we have been living in for the past seven years finally has a sub-plot that feels somewhat normal.
But why doesn’t it feel like a victory? Why doesn’t this feel like, hey, maybe all the corruption that has become commonplace on this speck of dust of an island may soon be coming to end?
Well, because while it was necessary and the right thing to do, the decision did not “set the highest standards for ethics and political behaviour,” as Abela told one journalist on Tuesday. Not unless you have the memory of a goldfish.
Konrad Mizzi has reeked of corruption from the moment he took office seven years ago.
- Konrad Mizzi, along with other Labour heavyweights, opened offshore accounts shortly after the PL was elected in 2013, not to ‘populate his assets’, like he told us, but, as it later transpired from an email by his own accountants, to receive €5,000 daily from 17 Black. And that’s not to mention that he tried to open more accounts in the Bahamas nine days before Daphne Caruana Galizia went live with the Panama Papers. Mizzi has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
- Konrad Mizzi colluded with some of the most dangerous and corrupt governments on numerous deals, including that of Azerbaijan. That should have been bad enough in itself, but it’s just one thread in a web of crazy, shady business deals. One in particular, which involves our gas supply, is now seeing the Maltese taxpayer fork out tens of millions of euro a year unnecessarily.
- Konrad Mizzi flew to Montenegro eight times in two years at the time the now-infamous energy deal involving wind farms was being cooked up. It’s now transpired that it, too, is mired in corruption. Again, Mizzi denies any wrongdoing.
- Konrad Mizzi gave his own wife a package worth €13,000 a month (almost €160,000 a year) to run an office in China which does not exist.
- Konrad Mizzi, as Health Minister, waived a €9,000,000 performance guarantee on the running of three of our hospitals, even though Vitals had zero experience in the health industry.
I could go on, but honestly, if that isn’t enough to get someone fired and investigated, then nothing will be. And, you know what, it wasn’t.
Do you know what many people in the Labour Party and in the Government did while all this was happening? Do you know what they did when a million other scandals involving the disgraced ex-Prime Minister Muscat, his ex-Chief of Staff Schembri, and a host of other Ministers, MPs and officials were being uncovered? Nothing at all.
Well, actually, I’m not being fair. They did a few things.
They kept publicly declaring their confidence in, and pledging allegiance to, these people through Parliament and Party structures, openly betraying the principles of the once-socialist Labour Party and the people of Malta. They gave them standing ovations. They made the people who asked for accountability look like they were insane. They set the stage for the political assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia to take place with impunity.
So, no, Prime Minister Abela, you have not set the highest standards for anything. You have done the bare minimum once your back was against the wall. But, I guess, in a country where a new Police Commissioner has to state that he or she will actually bring politicians to justice (an implicit part of the job description), what Abela did is indeed ground-breaking.
What a sad, disappointing time in our history.