No MP speaking during a debate on the Caruana Galizia inquiry brought up the inquiry’s warnings about the closeness between politics and big business, ADPD noted on Saturday.
“No one mentioned that the inquiry highlighted how big business and capital circumvent laws and policies, and control PLPN and state institutions,” Carmel Cacopardo, chairman of the Green Party, noted.
The inquiry, he said, had made it clear that high officials including ministers had “bent over backwards to serve monied interests instead of the country.”
Labour MPs had allowed former prime minister Joseph Muscat to do what he wanted and let him “roll out the carpet for big financial interests and lobbies.”
This, Cacopardo said, was a symptom of a state that was a quasi-dictatorial one and that was built on politicians whose primary concern was to “suck up to the boss”.
The ADPD leader cited three such examples who had all indicated, in one way or another, that they had not spoken out against corruption because they wanted to protect their own careers: Leo Brincat, now at the EU court of auditors, Edward Scicluna, now Central Bank governor, and Evarist Bartolo, now Foreign Affairs Minister.
The rot did not stop at government benches, Cacopardo added: “we also have an expert in tax evasion who today leads the PN. This too is impunity, which seems to be acceptable to lots of people in Malta.”
Published this week, the Caruana Galizia inquiry found that the Maltese state bore responsibility for the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia because it had encouraged a “culture of impunity” that spread throughout government, with Caruana Galizia isolated and dehumanised as she tried to highlight corruption involving politics and big business.
Among its several recommendations, the inquiry called for far stricter laws and rules to regulate lobbying and the interaction between politics and big business, including the introduction of unexplained wealth orders.
MPs debated the report in parliament on Friday, with government members insisting that there was no impunity in the country and Opposition ones arguing for accountability from all those found to have been complicit, even tacitly.
Ministers refused to comment on the report’s critical assessment of them, avoiding questions as they entered parliament.
One of those ministers, Evarist Bartolo, alluded to recommendations concerning lobbying laws in a Facebook post he published on Saturday morning.
“We need more transparency about where money for politics comes from, so that nobody can take advantage by giving money,” he wrote.
Need for a third party
Speaking at a press conference in Valletta on Saturday, ADPD leader Cacopardo said that some of the inquiry’s recommendations were not new and had been made by others, including ADPD, over the years.
It was now parliament’s job to scrutinise and implement them without delay, as the police gathered evidence to make anyone who was “complicit with the mafia” pay for their actions, he said.
The ADPD leader argued that Malta’s two-party parliament had abjectly failed at holding government to account.
“In the interests of a strong democracy, accountability and good governance it is essential to have a third party in parliament,” Cacopardo said.
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