A case of conspiracy fatigue

Do I see a conspiracy here? Of course not: all that would be correct and above board so long as it was not Malta’s Attorney General making similar statements! 

Socialist MEP Ana Gomes had the gall to say she had doubts in the whole Maltese judiciary system: if she wants to see a conspiracy in spite of the truth glaring in our eyes, she has a right to do so...
Socialist MEP Ana Gomes had the gall to say she had doubts in the whole Maltese judiciary system: if she wants to see a conspiracy in spite of the truth glaring in our eyes, she has a right to do so...

The ‘Egrant’ inquiry might have proved to be the most expensive magisterial inquiry in Malta’s legal history but its effect on the population has hardly been earth-shaking.

The inquiry conclusions have had no effect; either on those who had immediately rebutted the allegations without thinking or on those who had decided to embrace them and to consider them as the gospel truth, also without thinking.

The inquiry only satisfied the few who, like me, had adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude.

In other words, the majority of people were not moved one way or the other – as can be seen from the torrent of comments on the social media about the inquiry and its conclusions.

This is the result of the current intransigent wave of political polarisation, the likes of which people like me thought was a thing of the past. Instead it is bad, as bad as it has ever been.

There are people who not only question the Attorney General’s motives – which I do not – but also question every sentence in the conclusions of the magisterial inquiry, trying to prove that there is something suspect behind it in an effort to pour scorn on the magistrate’s conclusions and keep believing what they want to believe.

The fact that the foreign consultant company that concluded that the signature on the document was forged had made changes in its administrative set-up, between the time it was engaged by the Magistrate and the time the inquiry was concluded, was blown up to throw doubts on its seriousness and that of its conclusions.

The person whose signature turned up to be a forgery – Jacqueline Alexander – was also attacked with several reported accusations regarding incidents and allegations – in connection with her role in several documents unearthed by the Panama Papers – that are irrelevant to whether her signature was forged or not.

Volumes have been written on the reliability – or otherwise – of the so-called whistleblower, Maria Efimova, the Russian wife of a Greek citizen. She must have known – or pretended to have known – a lot, of course!

Socialist MEP Ana Gomes then had the gall to say she had doubts in the whole Maltese judiciary system when asked by The Malta Independent what her thoughts are about the Egrant inquiry conclusions, saying: “I know the limitations of the judiciary in the Malta case.”

Well, if you want to see a conspiracy in spite of the truth glaring in your eyes, you have a right to do so. You can believe that the New York twin towers fell as a result of a controlled explosion and ignore the two planes flying straight into them on that infamous 11th of September.

Enough of this nonsense!

If these self-appointed investigators have any proof – rather than a list of unconfirmed episodes that are irrelevant to the inquiry on whether Michelle Muscat owned Egrant – they should publish it – or hand it over to a magistrate.

Malta is fed up of these stories after stories containing allegations, and innuendos without any proof. Those pushing them should have the grace to accept the result.

If the result was the other way round would they be arguing about Jacqueline Alexander’s CV? I doubt it!

No wonder that many in Malta are suffering from conspiracy fatigue!

Meanwhile those who ‘knew beforehand’ that the Egrant allegation was false are talking as if all accusations against Joseph Muscat’s administration are invented lies.

As if the Egrant inquiry absolved everybody on Labour’s side of wrongdoing and proved that whatever the other side says is just a concoction of lies intended to upset Joseph Muscat’s applecart.

For Carmelo Abela, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, ‘the truth’ is this was a frame-up, a conspiracy to destabilise a whole country without care of the risk to our international reputation.

And Pilatus Holding Ltd believes that the ‘underlying motivation for this witch-hunt against Pilatus Bank stems from the fact that the Bank was chaired by a successful Iranian businessman that the short-sighted and racist politicians of Malta are determined to see fail.’

Again, imagination takes over and the truth is nowhere to be found.

It is ironic that among those pushing for the certainty of some huge conspiracy behind the Egrant inquiry conclusions there are some MEPs – not just Maltese.

Ironic because the European Parliament is refusing to make public documents that were used to prepare the decision to introduce only a minimal reform of its MEP office expenses system, citing a risk of “self-censorship” – whatever that means.

The European Parliament’s secretary-general, Klaus Welle, was reported to have said that publication of the requested documents “would seriously undermine the institution’s decision-making process.”

Do I see a conspiracy here? Of course not: all that would be correct and above board so long as it was not Malta’s Attorney General making similar statements!

Social due diligence

Bloomberg this week highlighted the fact that at least 475 high-profile executives and employees in the US have been accused of harassment or other wrongdoing during the last 18 months, according to Temin & Co., a consultant that daily updates the figure.

Companies have slashed the time between the first public report of alleged misdeeds and a subsequent dismissal to just over two weeks on average this year, compared with six weeks last year.

As a result, in certain merger agreements advisers are adding guarantees that legally vouch for the behavior of a company’s leadership.

In some cases, buyers have even negotiated the right to get back some of the money they paid if subsequent revelations of inappropriate behaviour damage the business.

A company that has been advising on acquisitions for 25 years, said that it is only over the past six months or so that sellers have been asked to make legal representations about the behaviour of their management teams.

They are being asked to confirm that nobody has accused certain managers or directors, as well as certain executives who manage a large number of employees, of sexual harassment.

At least seven deals announced this year involving public companies include such representations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, across industries as diverse as entertainment, real estate and hospitality.

Social due diligence has suddenly become more and more important.

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