“Valletta l-oħxon”

In a recording played in court in the proceedings related to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assasination, a “Valletta l-oħxon” was mentioned. The middleman in the assassination – Melvin Theuma – explained that this was a reference to Silvio Valletta: 

“Mr Fenech used to tell me that Mr Valletta used to pass on information to him.

MelvIn Theuma (middleman in Daphne Caruana galizia assassination) sworn testimony

Silvio Valletta was a deputy commissioner in the Malta Police Force and the chief investigator in the case of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, till the Caruana Galizia family had him forcibly removed from the investigation by the law courts.

He was the one who set up unprecedented briefings on the investigation with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his chief of staff Keith Schembri. 

Valletta also sat on the Board of Governors of the Financial Analysis Unit (FIAU), the national central agency in Malta that is responsible for the collection and analysis of information to combat money laundering.

FIAU Board of Governors (photo from 2014 Annual Report)

The Caruana Galizia fought hard to have him removed from the investigation.

The government fought hard to keep him in it…

The Caruana Galizia won the legal battle to have him removed.

It turns out that the Caruana Galizia family were very right to want him removed. Valletta had very close ties with the alleged mastermind (or one of the masterminds) behind the assassination, Yorgen Fenech.

The former deputy police chief Silvio Valletta holidayed abroad with Yorgen Fenech when the business magnate had already been identified by the police as a person of interest in the murder investigation.

They travelled to London together on a business class flight to watch a football match from a private box on September 29th 2018.

Valletta was taken off the case in June 2018; Fenech had been identified as a suspect by May 2018.

Valletta holidayed with Fenech when he knew that Fenech was a person of interest in the investigation into Caruana Galizia assassination case.

The Times also reported that when Mr Valletta travelled abroad with Mr Fenech, the FIAU had just handed police an intelligence report detailing how Mr Fenech, the Electrogas power station director, was the owner of mystery Dubai company 17 Black, which was to pay the then Minister for Energy Konrad Mizzi and the then prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri some €5,000 a day each.

We now know that the ex-prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri was involved in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

We now know that Valletta, then one rank away from the top job in the police force, was leaking information about the investigation to help those involved evade justice.

Malta IS a Mafia state. It’s impossible not to realise this. And if you think that this has nothing to do with you, you’re very wrong. It does, so don’t look away or sit on the fence.

 

The best that ever was and that ever will be

Nexia BT’s managing partner Brian Tonna heaped glowing praise on disgraced and discredited Joseph Muscat on Facebook when Muscat announced his resignation.

Commenting beneath a Facebook post by Labour diehard and former GWU boss Tony Zarb, Tonna said:

Here are a few background facts on Nexia BT:

  1. In 2011 Nexia BT company turnover was €1.6 million. By 2018 it had risen to €9.7 million.
  2. An analysis by The Shift News revealed that between 2013 and 2017 Nexia BT was awarded €2 million in direct orders.
  3. Nexia BT was the advisory company that opened Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri’s Panama companies – Hearnville and Tillgate – as well as their New Zealand trusts.
  4. It also set up the company Egrant, whose ultimate beneficial owner is still in question.
  5. Nexia BT sat on both the hospital deal and the power-station deal adjudication committees.
  6. Nexia BT are the auditors of Kasco Holdings Ltd, owned by Keith Schembri, who is currently under investigation for complicity in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and a litany of other offences.
  7. They are also the auditors for New Energy Supply owned by Yorgen Fenech, who is the alleged mastermind behind the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The company was described by retired auditor Godfrey Leone Ganado as a possible vehicle for kickbacks in a detailed analysis.
  8. The Egrant inquiry report recommended that the Commissioner of Police should investigate the discrepancies in the testimonies of Karl Cini, Nexia BT partner, as it appears that he may have perjured (given false testimony).
  9. The Maltese government attempted to have a paragraph in a Council of Europe report on the Rule of Law in Malta deleted. The paragraph highlighted the “key role” played by Mr Tonna and Nexia BT in the Panama Papers, Electrogas, Egrant, Hillman ‘golden passports’ affairs, the lack of disciplinary action taken against them by the Accountancy Board and how Mr Tonna and Nexia BT received numerous lucrative government contracts.

Tonna described Muscat as the best that ever was and that ever will be.

Given Nexia BT’s relationship and good fortune with the Muscat government, one shouldn’t be surprised that Tonna thought so highly of Muscat…

There’s only one point

The Constitutional Court ruled that minister Owen Bonnici breached Manuel Delia’s fundamental human right to free expression when he (Bonnici) ordered the removal of flowers, candles and messages of protest that Delia placed at the foot of the Great Siege monument in Valletta as part of the campaign for truth and justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Manuel Delia filed the protest in his name out of legal necessity, but had every protester who ever placed a candle, a flower a photo, a picture or a message at the foot of the monument filed the same case, they would have received the same judgement.

The Labour Party spin machine is working at full capacity to downplay the ruling, so let’s make sure that no-one loses sight of what the one and only point is:

Owen Bonnici breached human rights.

The rights of several people for several times.

He did this with the full blessing of the then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

He did this with the full blessing of Joseph Muscat’s cabinet, which was made up of pretty much the same people who are in Robert Abela’s current cabinet.

Abela says that he wants to set a new standard of governance. But he can never make it happen. Nor does he want to. 

 

 

Rule of law or musical chairs?

The rule of law is fundamental to protecting people’s rights and freedoms, and is foundational to curbing corruption, restraining the abuse of power, and to establishing the social contract between people and the state.

Contrary to popular belief, the goal of the rule of law is to control the abuse of power, not to ensure citizens submit to formal legal processes; the latter happens even in dictatorships.

The World Justice Project developed a working definition of rule of law based on four universal principles, the first of which is that government officials must be accountable under the law.

This means that government officials get sanctioned for misconduct such as using public office for private gain.

So it’s not enough that government officials that were close to Keith Schembri such as Neville Gafa resign or get transferred from OPM to some ministry.

The work they did needs to be scrutinised for bribery, improper influence by public or private interests, and misappropriation of public funds or other resources.

Bear in mind that these are the minions of a man under investigation for murder and a litany of other offences which include corruption, leaking extensive information about the investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination, obstructing justice, and acquiring a phantom job for middleman Melvin Theuma.

If this does not happen then what we are seeing is merely a charade, a travesty of rule of law, of justice, a game of musical chairs with a few expendables as collateral damage.

Putting whipped cream on cow dung and calling it a culinary delicacy

If you dress cow dung with whipped cream and call it a culinary delicacy, it remains cow dung.

In case it’s not clear, I’m talking about Robert Abela’s attempts at hiding his government’s corruption behind a veneer of good faith and a semblance of good governance.

The same people who were in in Joseph Muscat’s cabinet which was mired in corruption are nearly all in Robert Abela’s cabinet too. That includes Abela himself.

The same people who failed to stand up to Joseph Muscat’s defence of the indefensible, of the corrupt, are in Robert Abela’s cabinet too. That includes Abela himself.

Asking the Police Commissioner to resign may seem as though Abela is trying to do the right thing, but that’s bullshit.

Doing the right thing would mean firing Lawrence Cutajar, not asking him to resign, and asking the acting or new police commissioner to investigate Cutajar.

Cutajar’s serious omissions of duty resulted in the assassination of a journalist and the transformation of a country into a heaven and haven for criminals and money launderers.

Robert Abela’s asking Justyne Caruana to resign (of course he asked her) because her husband – an ex-deputy commissioner of the police and who sat on the board of directors of the FIAU – consorted with the alleged mastermind behind Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination may seem as though Abela is trying to do the right thing but that’s bullshit.

Did Abela ask Caruana whether she was aware of her husband’s intimacy with a person mired in corruption and accused of complicity in murder? If she did, he should have a big problem with her. She deceived him. She deceived everyone.

Terminating Adrian Hillman’s contract with the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and Lou Bondi’s contract with the Arts Council may give the impression that Abela is trying to do the right thing.

The right thing to do would be to also fire the ministers who employed/contracted them back then. If it’s a bad thing now, it was a bad thing then. Clearly the objective of these terminations is merely that of keeping up appearances, a PR strategy.

Good governance can never be half-baked or in bad faith. There can be no compromises when it comes to justice and integrity.

It’s the little foxes that ruin the vines.

A brilliant career not

Mary ran to the police station bruised and bleeding.

She had just been savagely beaten up by her ex-partner.

She reached the police station, rushed to the desk, and told the police officer behind the desk what had happened.

The policeman calmly wrote out a report on the incident.

He opened a file.

“Thank you, we’ll look into it,” he told Mary, as he put the file away.

Mary stared at him. The violence had happened a number of times before. Each time it happened she filed a police report. Each time the police officer – Lawrence Cutajar – opened a file on the incident and told her that he would be looking into it. He never did.

Three weeks later she was dead. Buried six feet under the ground.

Replace “Mary” with “Malta”.

It is the story of Malta. A Malta that was raped, ravaged and pillaged by corrupt politicians, criminals and money-launderers. While its police commissioner chose to wilfully ignore it all.

Thanks to him, Malta’s reputation is in the mud, it’s economy endangered.

Thanks to him, impunity and lawlessness have become the order of the day

Thanks to him, a woman was assassinated.

What he did was criminal.

His resignation must not be the end of the story.

Will the next commissioner investigate him?

Arnaud investigates Arnaud

I nearly fell off my chair when I read that Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar said that Inspector Arnaud had been tasked with finding who was leaking information on the investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination, given the possibility that Arnaud was the person leaking the information.

In a normal country a police officer is not tasked with investigating himself.

In a normal country it is protocol and policy that anyone above the rank of inspector is investigated by an officer of a superior rank, and definitely not by himself.

In a normal country, it is protocol and policy that such a matter would be investigated by a unit dedicated to such matters. Arnaud contradicted the commissioner and said that it was in fact the Economics Crime Unit that was tasked with investigating the leaks, which is baffling, since it is the remit of the Internal Affairs Unit not that of the Economic Crimes Unit to investigate such matters.

The remit of the Economic Crimes Unit (together with its parallel unit the Money Laundering Unit) is to investigate the Panama Papers, Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi, Adrian Hillman, Brian Tonna etc.

The number of people who would have known the full details of the case, including who the suspects were, and any planned actions should not have exceeded three or four persons. Other members of the team would be acting on a “need to know” basis.

In the UK this group of people would be known as the knowledge group. The people within the knowledge group for this case would normally be Arnaud’s immediate superior – Assistant Commissioner Kevin Farrugia , the Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, Inspector Arnaud himself, and possibly Arnaud’s right-hand man.

Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri should not have been privy to the information, but they were. That’s five or six people in all.

It shouldn’t be hard to figure out who leaked the information.

Call a spade a spade

Disgraced and discredited ex-prime minister Joseph Muscat said that he is paying the highest price possible for “whatever mistakes I made or were made by others”, whilst freshly appointed prime minister Robert Abela is continuing in the same vein, assuring all that “mistakes will not happen again”.

But “mistakes” were not what bought down Joseph Muscat. Crime and corruption bought him down. Crime and corruption which he allowed to happen under his watch bought him down.

Premeditated murder is not a mistake. It’s a crime. Earning millions of euros illicitly (off taxpayers’ money) is not a mistake. It’s a crime. Corruption in the prime minister’s office is not a mistake. It’s a crime.

Whenever we allow people to relegate corruption and crime to mistakes, we allow them to rationalise and justify corruption and crime and even to trivialise them.

Crime and corruption are not mistakes. Crime and corruption are exactly that – crime and corruption. They should be called crime and corruption and they should be treated as crime and corruption.

And the new prime minister speaking of crime and corruption as mistakes does not bode well.

Good riddance to bad rubbish

Rather than taking delight in the removal of a person on whose watch:

  • Malta became a heaven and a haven for criminals and money-launderers,
  • corruption and crime prospered,
  • rule of law was replaced by impunity, lawlessness and mob rule,
  • freedom of expression deteriorated,
  • and a journalist was murdered for uncovering the corruption of his best friends and closest collaborators, corruption of which he was aware and which he defended,

they gave him a hero’s send-off.

They depicted him as a saviour, a saint and a martyr, the ultimate politician and statesman.

They should have depicted him as he really is – reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive and revolting.

They should have told him “good riddance to bad rubbish”.

The fact that they didn’t shows that it doesn’t really make a difference who is elected as his successor. All we can expect is more of the same. Cut from the same cloth.

It’s time for change. Real change. But change doesn’t happen just by saying that we need change, or by thinking it. By doing nothing. Words are cheap.It’s time to stand up and be counted.

Mahatma Gandhi once said,

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”

I would add it also becomes complicity.

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Repubblika PR

09.01.2020

Repubblika will be holding a General Meeting on Saturday 11 January 2020 to discuss and consider the adoption of its policy document “Malta Ġdida: Repubblika Ġdida”. The meeting has been convened with the following agenda.

09:00 Registration

09:30 Call to Order   + Introduction by Robert Aquilina, President-Elect

09:40 Presentation of Policy  Document by Manuel Delia

10:00 Debate Part 1

10:45 Coffee Break

11:15 Debate Part 2

11:45 Vote

11:50 Concluding remarks by Vicki Ann Cremona, President

12:10 Closing

12.15 Refreshments 

The General Meeting is convening at the St Aloysius Assembly Hall, Birkirkara. Entrance through Triq il-Kulleġġ.

The Press is invited to attend any part of the meeting and committee members will be available for interview. A digital copy of the policy document in English and Maltese will be provided.

Nothing wrong Robert? Think again

Robert Abela says he sees nothing wrong for his legal firm to continue “competing” for government work if he is elected Prime Minister if he resigns from the firm.

He’s wrong. What he see as “nothing wrong” actually goes against the law. It’s illegal. Even if he resigns from the firm.

The aspiring Prime Minister of Malta does not understand that the possibility or perception of conflicts of interest are considered as actual conflicts of interest at law.

He never understood that good governance is not only about doing things in the right way, but also about being perceived to do things in the right way.

The EU has laws on conflicts of interest.

The applicable EU provision is Article 24 of the consolidated directive on public procurement, which applies as law and above any Maltese law within its scope.

Member States shall ensure that contracting authorities take appropriate measures to effectively prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest arising in the conduct of procurement procedures so as to avoid any distortion of competition and to ensure equal treatment of all economic operators.


The concept of conflicts of interest shall at least cover any situation where staff members of the contracting authority or of a procurement service provider acting on behalf of the contracting authority who are involved in the conduct of the procurement procedure or may influence the outcome of that procedure have, directly or indirectly, a financial, economic or other personal interest which might be perceived to compromise their impartiality and independence in the context of the procurement procedure.

DIRECTIVE 2014/24/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL Conflicts of interest


The conflicts here are obviously massive. Here are a few:

  • Abela has an interest in his wife, a member of his family, making money.
  • There’s a direct hierarchical relationship between all awarding officers and Abela as prime minister.
  • Employees of public authorities may have an interest in helping Abela and his family as that can have an impact on their career.

Effectively, Robert Abela is planning to break the law once he becomes Prime Minister.


Repubblika PR

09.01.2020

Repubblika will be holding a General Meeting on Saturday 11 January 2020 to discuss and consider the adoption of its policy document “Malta Ġdida: Repubblika Ġdida”. The meeting has been convened with the following agenda.

09:00 Registration

09:30 Call to Order   + Introduction by Robert Aquilina, President-Elect

09:40 Presentation of Policy  Document by Manuel Delia

10:00 Debate Part 1

10:45 Coffee Break

11:15 Debate Part 2

11:45 Vote

11:50 Concluding remarks by Vicki Ann Cremona, President

12:10 Closing

12.15 Refreshments 

The General Meeting is convening at the St Aloysius Assembly Hall, Birkirkara. Entrance through Triq il-Kulleġġ.

The Press is invited to attend any part of the meeting and committee members will be available for interview. A digital copy of the policy document in English and Maltese will be provided.