When Robert Abela inherited Joseph Muscat’s poisoned chalice in 2020, Robert spread the narrative that he did not have the mandate to take strong decisions. He simply positioned himself as someone who was responsible to manage the pandemic crisis, although the reality is he didn’t manage anything, but this is another story.
Now, Robert Abela has a mandate and although it’s a much weaker mandate than what Joseph Muscat had, Robert Abela is still the legitimate Prime Minister with a mandate that gives him executive power. This means that now, Robert Abela can’t bring up any excuses about the lack of action on rule of law, corruption and rent-seeking. After Malta went into the worst political crisis in its recent history, Robert Abela’s government did practically nothing to revert the downward spiral in rule of law. This is not an opinion, but a fact. Robert Abela even introduced two laws that would clamp down on freedom of speech and protected the Joseph Muscat cabal. Now he has put them in the background, yet his alliance with them is still intact with Rosianne Cutajar and Edward Zammit Lewis still in parliament.
Two years into his role as Police Commissioner, Angelo Gafa hasn’t prosecuted anyone over corruption despite the vast number of corruption cases and the swathes of evidence backing them. This is also where I disagree with Mary Muscat, a previous police inspector who said that some cases may be problematic since police officers willingly and consciously allowed evidence to disappear.
Since the financial crisis of 2007 banking transactions have all been digitised and bank records archived. So, basically, most of the corruption which took place under Joseph Muscat’s administration via bank transfers, can be easily dug out and investigated. Nothing has been lost. Most of the evidence relating to the Panama Papers still exists. We have transactions of 17 Black. We have Rosianne’ Cutajar’s bribe. We have a long list of corrupt practices which have been recorded at the Malta Tourism Authority. Then there are the police officers who willingly and consciously refused to take action over 17 Black. An Attorney-General who even advised the police not to carry out proper investigations on Nexia BT. The list is endless. Then there is the alleged involvement of politicians in various criminal activities including Daphne’s murder, the contraband Libyan fuel trade and even the heist of HSBC Qormi. Then there are Joseph Muscat’s payments from the same people he sold Malta’s hospitals to, and other payments which can be suspected of corrupt payments. And what about the corrupt police officer Silvio Valletta and his ex-wife and her permanent secretary who have both been referred to as potential criminal suspects by the Standards Commission?
So far, Angelo Gafa and the police force he leads have not prosecuted one single politician or bureaucrat from all of these cases. The new chief of the economic crimes unit, Alexandra Mamo has prosecuted Keith Schembri and Adrian Hilman, but that was only because of a magisterial inquiry which was initiated thanks to the submission of evidence by Simon Busuttil. Since being promoted to the top ranks of the police, Alexandra Mamo still needs to make her mark.
Since the beginning of the Joseph Muscat administration, Angelo Gafa has been trusted by Joseph Muscat and his government (he was made the first and one CEO of the police). Basically, at this stage Angelo Gafa’s legacy will be strictly binary with no middle road in between: he is either a corrupt crook sitting as police chief to defend the indefensible and convolute justice as a result, or rather he will leave his mark in his own way, independently of everything and everyone. There is a limit though to how much one can wait, and I think three years should be enough. Like Angelo, I too was a government executive and three years is basically the time frame of every executive contract. Logic tells you that if you don’t deliver in three years in your job, then you have to leave so that someone else does the job instead. As a previous CEO himself, Angelo should know this.
The same logic also applies to Robert Abela. Like Angelo Gafa, Robert Abela has no excuses now. Robert has shown that he doesn’t need the Joseph Muscat cabal to get elected to office. Now that it is clear and visible even to the illiterates that Robert Abela doesn’t need Joseph Muscat to govern, Labour has no incentive whatsoever to keep its alliance with the Joseph Muscat cabal. If Labour doesn’t turn now to address the collapse of the rule of law, then it will be clear that Labour is destroying the rule of law intentionally and impunity and total cover-up was the original plan, and have remained the plan all the way.