Anglu – Oh, please, not again!

The Mosta Speaker of the House of Representatives flagged the apparent discrepancy in mileage and fuel consumption for Simon Busuttil’s car and cried ‘WOLF’.

Is there ever a dull moment?

And I guess this very week Dr Anglu Farrugia could not have appeared duller or dumber.

The Mosta Speaker of the House of Representatives flagged the apparent discrepancy in mileage and fuel consumption for Simon Busuttil’s car and cried ‘WOLF’.

No one in his entourage of ‘yes’ men plucked up courage to let him know that his ridiculous police report would render him a veritable first class fool.

More so when one considers all the material waste that swirls around government and has gone round the running of our parliament, the operations of parliament and the construction of parliament.

The timing of the police report – a day after Simon Busuttil’s good governance declaration – was downright diabolical but I am sure that Dr Farrugia, a former police superintendent who is not on the very best of terms with the Labour Party, could not quite see the implications of his Inspector Clouseau-like concerns.

At most places of work, individuals are given a fixed fuel allowance. It is fixed, and availed of against receipt. No one goes about checking whether one uses the fixed amount for bona fide business trips or for personal use. Surely some individuals spend more or perhaps less. But the fuel allowance remains the same.

And even if over-consumption were the case, Farrugia should have asked himself if he was embarking on the right track by seeking to take Simon Busuttil to task.

The prerogative of how much the allowance turns out to be, is determined by the general rules depending on the job description (JD) of the employee. That is whether the person has a senior, middle management or lower management position.

Simon’s ‘JD’, as the management professionals would say, is one that requires daily car journeys, long and short, all times of the day, every day of the week. His position in a parliamentary democracy is in the upper reaches of the system.

Now Simon’s car has a fuel allowance of €70 a week. His driver drives every morning and evening from his Birgu home to Simon’s residence in Lija, to and fro, and then drives his boss around on a week of endless meetings which are consonant with the busy schedule of a leader of the opposition. They also include holidays, Sundays, and regular visits to Gozo.

Now, to my knowledge, the driver never demanded an allowance increase over the stipulated €70. And anyone who happens to drive a big car and makes it a point to travel along our delightful Maltese roads knows that fuel expenses are high.

More so if you have a fuel-guzzling car and are caught in traffic jams.

Anglu Farrugia is either very busy doing nothing and needs to get his hand on something exciting, or else was misguided by his director of corporate services who highlighted this “very major and serious misappropriation of funds”.

My words of course, because if to the director of corporate services this is a serious offence, he should really get his head checked.

If it turns out that his head is okay and there is nothing wrong with it, then I have good reason to believe that the motivation is political and suspect.

Dr Farrugia, selected by the prime minister as Speaker of the House not for his ‘unique’ innate abilities to be a good Speaker but rather as a sop for having been ejected from the deputy leader’s post on the eve of the last election, went further: he passed on the heinous crime details to the Commissioner of Police.

‘Il-bravu l-iehor’, Police Commissioner Michael Cassar, as we would say in Maltese, then exacerbated the whole issue by asking a magistrate to head an inquiry into this very, very serious matter!   Oh my God!

Cassar could have had enough flexibility and common sense to send the ‘complaint’ back to Farrugia and ask him to settle the matter internally, and not to waste the time of the police.

Instead, he did what he did. Which goes to show that when the police complain that they have too much to do, they should start by blaming themselves for serving as stop cocks.

The whole farcical episode reads like a badly scripted slapstick Italian seventies film with Pierino peeping through a keyhole panting and salivating at Edwige Fenech’s picture-perfect bareness.

Now let us return to the magisterial inquiry. I am quite sure that magistrates and judges know all too well what cars and allowances are all about. Most of them use their cars for their own personal use.  

The same perk seems to be an acceptable freebie for the many middle and lower management members in many agencies such as EneMalta and MEPA. Not to mention the ministries, government departments and, as far as I know, the Speaker’s office.

Across the board the amount of fuel allowed for official taxpayer paid cars is simply phenomenal. It must add a not insubstantial amount to government costs.

And yet no permanent secretary or chief of staff has felt the need to present the Commissioner of Police with a report.

I cannot help noting the number of those in the judiciary who use their official car for their own personal needs. And this includes everything, from attending so called social events to giving lifts to their children to school.  Private schools, of course.

So, the magistrate assigned to investigate this calamitous malfeasance must feel rather perplexed that they have to waste their time on such a subject.

Now, if we thought that this was a concern, the other people concerned in this Anglu Farrugia-driven investigation would be Castille.

And for very obvious reasons. 

At Castille the last thing they would have liked to nail Simon Busuttil on is for some allegation that he is fiddling with the receipts for his weekly car fuel allowance.

They would hope to uncover some bigger scandal. Instead they are pissed off, and that is putting it mildly, that Anglu Farrugia has basically painted Simon Busuttil as a victim, earning him some much needed and coveted sympathy from Joe Public. 


The government has commissioned British marketing giant M C Saatchi to measure the advertising return of the Migration Summit and CHOGM held in Malta. The accumulated figure works out at €550 million of advertising.

The two events, which cost the taxpayer some €12 million, came under a barrage of criticism, especially for failing to come up with tangible solutions to the challenges posed by migration and climate change.

Surely, everyone should agree that it was a wonderful showpiece for our country though a bloody waste of time. The Commonwealth especially, and then the penultimate talking shop, the African Europe Summit.

Now the greatest irony, is that this government turns to M C Saatchi, the same people who so skilfully propelled Margaret Thatcher into power with their inimitable line: Labour is not working, to quantify the return of these summits.

Pity Saatchi cannot quite quantify what came out of the summits in real terms.

Now, we all know what advertising and marketing agencies stand for, it is best summarised by the iconic quip: Money talks, bullshit walks!