Just a couple of weeks after NGO Repubblika announced it will be instituting a court challenge against the police for their failure to prosecute Pilatus Bank officials, the police have announced that they are “at the stage” of issuing international arrest warrants against Pilatus Bank officials. As a historian, I have learnt that coincidences are rarely coincidences.
So far, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa has been consistent on one thing, for sure and that is he doesn’t rock the boat. Gafa hasn’t made any high-profile arrests which would have irked Labour supporters or its top-brass. Neither has Gafa made any headway with corruption investigations. Remarkably, we may be a rare historical case where our government resigned on corruption allegations and no one has ever been prosecuted.
It’s not as if the evidence for the corrupt conspiracies is not available. We get news about such evidence on a daily basis while Labour struggles publicly and explicitly to suppress the truth from coming out. The mistake on Labour’s part here is double-fold. On one side, Labour is deluding itself that covering up corruption won’t have any negative effects on the economy, while on the other hand, Labour is deluding itself that the suppression of rule of law won’t affect it either. On top of it all, Robert Abela thinks that this current system is sustainable.
The fact is that Joseph Muscat is getting increasingly more likeable again, like it or not. His comeback to public life has been successful and the police investigating him are also on the retreat. It is a well-known fact that Joseph Muscat promised Robert Abela he would never return to politics, yet Muscat already publicly said he may break his promise if he is forced with his back against the wall. “Jekk idejquni, noħroġ.” He said it himself and people still make the mistake of not taking him seriously. The arrangement that Joseph Muscat made with Robert Abela seems very clear. Joseph Muscat will not contest elections unless he is prosecuted in court. Angelo Gafa probably understands this but the problem is that Gafa may very well be playing this game by upholding this status quo. Then there is also the probability, that Joseph Muscat would contest elections even if he is not prosecuted and this I think may be the most probable case scenario. Muscat has nothing to lose by going back to politics.
Robert Abela is playing a dangerous game because if the economic crisis hits Malta deep, Joseph Muscat will have plenty of opportunities to attempt his comeback in politics. His support can grow again organically to the extent that Labour would accept him back in the fold, slowly, and by the time he is there, we would be left surprised. He is making it all along. Robert Abela may very well end up in history as our own little Medvedev: the caretaker of the King.