A lawyer on Facebook has just explained why Arnold Cassola’s report to the electoral commission and to the OSCE over Robert Abela’s cheques can have serious legal implications. Christian Grima argues that if a politician is found guilty of a corrupt practice during an election campaign, the politician may be disqualified and forced to resign according to the Electoral Polling Ordinance.
Arnold Cassola is arguing that Robert Abela’s €100 cheques handed out to everyone on the eve of the general election constitutes a corrupt practice according to the General Elections Act. Amongst its provisions, the Act states (article 56) that persons handing out gifts and money with the intent to buy votes constitute a corrupt practice. This provision has been broken many times over but no politician has ever faced its consequences. The police haven’t even taken action on any of the wide-ranging corruption allegations involving the previous Labour government. So, of course, no one has any hope that Robert Abela and his Minister of Finance will be indicted over corrupt practices let alone forced to resign over this. Our expectations and standards are so low that we are still waiting for the police to prosecute Konrad Mizzi (ex-Minister for Energy) and Keith Schembri (the ex-PM’s chief of staff) for attempting to launder money through their companies in Panama. In the Rent-Seeker’s Paradise, corrupt practices are accepted and they are in our code of law only to keep up appearances.