Angelo Gafa is slowly revealing his true self as more of his actions give us a better portrayal of his character and principles. Yesterday, it was revealed that when the Standards Commissioner asked the Police Commissioner for the phone messages between Tax Commissioner Marvin Gaerty and Prime Minister, Robert Abela, Gafa gave the Standards Commissioner a typical answer by a robot bureaucrat: the phone messages of the Prime Minister can only be accessed by a request from the Attorney-General. So why don’t you go ahead and make the request for the AG to issue the request, Gafa? Sure, you can’t help in investigations on the boss who has to appoint you. Kulħadd irid jiekol, hux? speċjalment jerk tixtri villa.
One of the most used replies by robot-bureaucrats to deny requests is by quoting legal articles and stating them as fact. It’s also a stupid reply and patronisingly offensive. Bureaucrats ought to know the law, and quoting the law to the Standards Commission is the equivalent of telling him he is stupid. It’s a sharp rebuttal, simultaneously stupid, banal yet factual.
Robot-bureaucrats that receive such replies from other robot-bureaucrats find this practice normal and fulfilling in their job as it delays work and processes making them feel more alienated and more detached from any responsibility. It’s the law, and it’s a fact but in most of these cases, it wouldn’t even be true, because as soon as you go to a court of law, the variables increase to such an extent that everything changes and your previous decisions are proved wrong.
Honest bureaucrats would usually get frustrated with such replies. Some bang their heads against the wall. The appropriate reply would be a long legal rebuttal invoking legal clauses and the principle of public duty to force the bureaucrat to act accordingly. I made many enemies with government bureaucrats in my previous life as a government executive with such replies. Many bureaucrats are unprincipled idiots without any sense of civic duty and are bureaucrats because they can’t do anything else in life other than ingratiating themselves with politicians to get jobs they don’t deserve.
Gafa’s rebuttal may be challenged in court, but a Stanislav would have called the Police Commissioner’s bluff, suspend his investigation and refer the Prime Minister to a police criminal investigation as the law prescribes. In such a case, the Police Commissioner would be obliged to report to the Standards Commissioner on his investigation.
And, why not? I would say.
This is a case of a Prime Minister who is using his executive power to manipulate public institutions and use them as weapons against his opponents. How low can you go when you sit in a strong and powerful position as the Prime Minister of Malta after raking in millions of Euros in corrupt public contracts, and then you use the tax department to censure your main political opponent for allegedly not paying tax on his student-rental?
That’s not all. Marvin Gaerty, the Tax Commissioner who communicated with the Prime Minister over Bernard Grech’s tax bill had previously gone on holiday with the fraudster and kidnapper Christian Borg. The same Christian Borg with whom the Prime Minister was involved in an insider trading deal at the Planning Authority which netted Robert Abela a profit of €45,000 overnight. Marvin Gaerty was recently replaced as Tax Commissioner and today still serves as an executive in the tax department.