Vincent Muscat, Il-Koħħu, is refusing to name the minister allegedly involved in the HSBC heist. It is Robert Abela who is to blame for Il-Koħħu’s reticence. In fact, it was Abela and his cabinet who gave Il-Koħħu the power to keep silent.

Last year, Il-Koħħu filed for a pardon in exchange for revealing all he knew about all cases he had information about. However, for some reason or another, Abela and his ministers refused this.

What is Abela’s interest in not wanting to know all information concerning so many bomb attempts and other crimes?

Abela had been clearly warned by Il-Koħħu’s lawyer, Marc Sant, that the prime minister and some other minister had a severe conflict of interest and should not take part in the decision on granting Il-Koħħu a global pardon in exchange for revealing all he knew.

Indeed, in an interview with Malta Today in October 2020, Sant sounded out a very clear warning: “Abela should not be cavalier about the decision. I hope he is aware that his is not the only conflict of interest among the current cabinet members”, referring to his client’s recent court application in which he alleged that “prominent individuals” yet to be publicly named are involved in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder and other crimes.

Il-Koħħu’s lawyer was basically telling Abela, in a clear and public way, that he and another minister should abstain from deciding on Il-Koħħu’s pardon because of conflict of interest.

But Abela and the alleged HSBC heist minister did not listen to Il-Koħħu’s lawyer’s words. They participated fully in the cabinet discussion on a pardon in exchange for all revelations for Il-Koħħu and they cast their vote. And their vote was a very clear ‘No’ to pardoning Il-Koħħu and gaining all the information.

Why was Abela so keen on ensuring that certain killings and heists Il-Koħħu was involved in are not revealed? Today, we know what conflicts of interest Sant was referring to in October 2020.   

While the Ta’ Maksar brothers were allegedly importing bombs from Sicily between 2010 and 2017, with five brutal murders happening in this period, Abela was their lawyer between 2012 and 2016.

Today, the Ta’ Maksar brothers have been arrested and are being tried for having fabricated the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia and for having taken part in the killing of the lawyer Carmel Chircop.

The other minister with a possible blatant conflict of interest would be the minister involved in the HSBC heist. Il-Koħħu has repeated the accusation recently in the compilation of evidence against the Degiorgio brothers but he has cunningly kept the name close to his chest in order to use this chip in future plea bargaining.

We are in this tragic situation where it is Il-Koħħu who calls the shots because of Abela’s obstinacy in not granting a wider pardon with wider revelations.

A reduction in sentencing to 15 years in exchange for revealing peanuts- Arnold Cassola

Now, even the Degiorgio brothers are trying to play the same game. But who wants their revelations on an ex-minister... whose name we already know, thanks to Il-Koħħu?

Strangely enough, on February 24, a pardon with very limited conditions was granted to Il-Koħħu by Abela: Muscat had to identify persons who had commissioned and executed Chircop’s murder; he had to provide details with regard to the money paid and he had to disclose what happened to the firearm and car used in the assassination. That’s all. Only that.

A reduction in sentencing to 15 years in exchange for revealing peanuts.

Why only such a limited pardon? Why not a pardon that obliged Il-Koħħu to reveal everything about everyone? Why was Abela adamant against this?

On February 24, I was asking myself this question because I could not explain to myself the reason behind the strange decision limiting knowledge only to one assassination and not opening up to all the other car bomb assassinations and failed assassinations that had never been resolved by the police.

Today that we know a bit more, I begin to fear that this limitation on revelations might have been dictated by somebody’s interest in protecting somebody in cabinet.

The result is that, at the moment, because of Abela’s ‘conflict of interest’, no, it is Il-Koħħu who dishes out the bargaining chips

Il-Koħħu is now asking to be pardoned in return for revealing details on one other murder and two heists.

No, sir. Mr Koħħu. You must reveal all you know about everything.

Abela would then have one last chance of showing that he has no

conflict of interest, as lawyer Marc Sant had alleged a few months ago, by granting Il-Koħħu the pardon for full disclosure.

This way Il-Koħħu would be obliged to name not only the minister he is always referring to with regard to the HSBC heist but also all other details and names in all bombings and heists he was involved in.

If, however, Abela and his cabinet say no to granting the pardon for full disclosure, then my suspicions that cabinet is trying to protect one of their own would be reinforced.

Arnold Cassola, independent candidate, former secretary general of European Greens.

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