‘In questo mondo di ladri’, (‘In this world of thieves’) sang Antonello Venditti at the Joseph Calleja concert in front of the Prime Minister.
Perhaps Mr Venditti should have been informed that in Malta such people are sometimes extolled, honoured and even called ‘soldiers of steel’.
Nevertheless, the soldiers of steel march on, under the command of their ‘Panama godfather’. But that’s business as usual we are told, notwithstanding the numerous scandals emanating directly or indirectly from Castille.
First we were told that it was due to the government’s haste and inexperience (i.e. the Australia Hall donation of some €12 million to the Labour Party, as well as the pre-election conceived scandal of Café Premier – €4.2 million of taxpayers’ money). But as scandal followed scandal (the Gaffarena affair takes pride of place) it became apparent that everything has been done by design and the stench of corruption is becoming unbearable.
The people have been meanwhile regaled by mega projects. A new power station is being built, no matter when it will be completed. It should have been privately funded, but it turned out that, again, taxpayers’ money had to be fronted, as the private parties could not come up with the funds. Secret deals have been carried out by the government involving millions of euros with foreign parties, not reputedly desirable, but apparently very accommodating.
And what was the upshot? Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, both of whom had been deeply involved in certain negotiations, established secret companies in Panama, hidden by stealth behind trusts in New Zealand. And among the reasons given for establishing these companies was to receive brokerage. As if this was not enough, it was subsequently reported that several unsuccessful attempts were made to open accounts at banks in Panama, and Dubai. The reason for their refusal was that the banks realised that both Mizzi and Schembri are politically exposed persons.
Throughout all this, the Prime Minister appears to be unperturbed (or at least he puts up an unconcerned stance) and Mizzi and Schembri have remained in charge of the mega projects, as they still have the trust of the Prime Minister.