On Monday, a leading newspaper in an EU country published a damning report. It exposed the intended funding of a Labour Party-linked company by the person charged with complicity in the murder of a journalist. The revelations are earth-shattering, the implications devastating. Sadly, that’s Malta.
In April, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the state of Malta’s rule of law. That resolution stressed that “the possible involvement of government ministers and political appointees raises new questions about the Caruana Galizia murder”.
The report by Times of Malta reinforces those concerns. A Labour-linked company is accused of entering into an agreement with the man charged with complicity in the murder of the journalist to receive up to €200,000. Prime Minister Robert Abela remains evasive. Not a word of denial.
No hastily convened press conference detailing, point by point, how those devastating accusations are mistaken. When confronted about it by a journalist from Times of Malta he simply said this was an “allegation”.
The clock ticks – action-man Abela does nothing, thinking it will all blow over, like the other scandals: Rosianne Cutajar, Carmelo Abela, Edward Zammit Lewis. Abela has learnt nothing. Things don’t blow over. They slowly strengthen into a whirlwind tearing the country down. Panama didn’t blow over; it’s still lashing Malta’s coast.
Times of Malta exposed a 33-month consultancy draft agreement with Yorgen Fenech’s Tumas Group, drawn up by then Labour CEO Gino Cauchi. The agreement was worth €200,000. The agreement, purportedly on behalf of a company called B.E.D. Ltd, was authored on a computer used by a ONE executive. The agreement stipulated that, irrespective of what “services” B.E.D. Ltd provided, it would receive €6,000 per month for 33 months.
The then Labour CEO wrote to Fenech: “see how you want to go about it.”
That agreement must have been implemented. Two invoices were sent to Fenech from B.E.D. for “consultancy services”. Those invoices came from ONE’s address.
When Times of Malta started questioning B.E.D. Ltd they swiftly and frantically changed the registered address, in a clear attempt to cover up the links with ONE. It was too late. Times of Malta had the invoices.
Cauchi was in panic. Asked why he, as Labour Party CEO, drew up the agreement with Fenech, his lame reply was that “I was and still am a very good friend of the person who set up B.E.D. Ltd”. That’s no explanation.
Two invoices were sent to Yorgen Fenech from B.E.D. for ‘consultancy services’. Those invoices came from ONE’s address- Kevin Cassar
He was challenged. What is the link between B.E.D. Ltd and ONE?
Cauchi had no answer. “I can’t speak for ONE, ask them.”
That is exactly what the tenacious Times of Malta reporter did. Jacob Borg asked ONE Productions supremo, Jason Micallef. The man roundly condemned internationally for his insolent mocking comments about Daphne Caruana Galizia after her brutal murder, now refuses to answer why B.E.D at ONE’s address was issuing invoices to the man who allegedly murdered her. The charlatan, now tongue-tied, arrogantly ignored the burning questions about the shocking revelations.
Micallef has much more to answer for. In December 2020, ONE Productions set up a new company called Brand Expo Design, the very same name which the initials B.E.D. concealed.
Ray Fenech, Tumas Group’s current director, was “unable to trace any such agreement” but admitted that Tumas Group “had used B.E.D. Ltd for PR, design branding and other services”. Tumas Group admitted paying B.E.D. How much or when, Ray Fenech couldn’t or wouldn’t say.
What is certain is that Yorgen Fenech was to pay money to the company registered at ONE’s address.
The sordid scheming behind B.E.D. was shameless. Accountant Robert Borg took over ownership of B.E.D. in June 2018. Borg was so close to Labour that he was hand-picked to sit on the selection board that awarded Vitals the corrupt deal to run three hospitals. While owning B.E.D., his own firm, Reanda Ltd, audited his own company, a gross breach of auditing basic standards.
When Times of Malta started asking awkward questions in 2021, B.E.D. submitted re-audited accounts for 2017, this time by another auditor, four years late. Borg’s excuse was that there was “an oversight in signage date”.
As Borg’s delinquency was found out, he went to pieces. He quickly informed the Malta Business Registry in June 2021 that Reanda Ltd had resigned as B.E.D. auditor in November 2018. Borg is fooling nobody. Informing the business registry of a change in auditor three years late is nothing but a puerile attempt to cover his tracks.
As the incriminating report was published, the Labour Party was hysterical. In a ridiculously pathetic statement, it attacked the PN. Instead of addressing the damning evidence in the report, Labour resorted to flinging mud at its adversary.
“The PN has no credibility on this subject.” It singled out Chris Peregin for attack: “The media organisation owned by the PN’s strategist revealed how many times PN begged for money from the same persons.”
To muddy the waters and deflect attention, it questioned “why the PN leader twice offered a pardon to the person who allegedly commissioned Caruana Galizia’s murder”. “It would be better if Bernard Grech answers this question instead of fabricating false claims about others,” Labour concluded. Opposition leaders cannot offer pardons. And Labour didn’t address a single one of the serious accusations levelled against it.
Rudderless, Labour lost it, its leader nowhere to be seen. Instead of a calm, meticulous and detailed rebuttal of Times of Malta’s evidence, Labour deployed its favourite weapon – “the PN is worse”. An honest party leader of
integrity and courage would face the serious accusations head-on, inviting a thorough investigation and full co-operation with the police.
An innocent leader, unaware of the devious machinations of mavericks within his group, would be outraged and desperate to refute links to the alleged murderer.
He would demand immediate public explanations from Micallef and suspend him pending investigations. He would protect what’s left of the country’s reputation. Instead, Abela disappears, leaving the insolent Micallef to insult the nation once more.
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