Simon Busuttil lambasts judiciary for sleeping on corruption inquiries

In farewell speech to Parliament, PN MP Simon Busuttil hits out at law courts for their failure to deliver justice

PN MP Simon Busuttil gave his farewell speech to Parliament on Tuesday
PN MP Simon Busuttil gave his farewell speech to Parliament on Tuesday

PN MP Simon Busuttil has, in his last address in Parliament, hit out at the law courts for what he claimed is their failure to deliver justice.

In his farewell to speech to Parliament on Tuesday, the former Opposition leader slammed the delays in magisterial inquiries, that he had asked be started, on corruption and money laundering cases involving people in power.

He accused magistrates of sleeping on their jobs, and therefore failing to ensure justice is done.

Busuttil will be stepping down at the end of February to take up the post of secretary general of the European People’s Party.

He served as a PN MEP from 2004 to 2013. He was elected to Parliament in the 2013 general election, and was later elected leader of the Nationalist Party, taking over from Lawrence Gonzi. Following his party’s major defeat in the 2017 election, Busuttil stepped down as PN leader, when he was replaced by Adrian Delia.

He used his final parliamentary speech, which he dedicated to Daphne Caruana Galizia, to touch on topics related to corruption, democracy, the functioning of Parliament and the courts, and his personal experience in politics.

“Our democracy is in a coma; it is on life support. This is not a state of normality as Robert Abela wants us to believe,” Busuttil said, as he underlined that Caruana Galizia’s assassination “was the biggest hit to our democracy, but it was not the only one”

Parliament, he said, was not carrying out its functions properly, and MPs should acknowledge this fact.

“Government backbenchers are bought out with public posts that make them unable to scrutinise their government,” he highlighted.

He said that the government had targeted him, and that he had suffered insults on the Labour media, social media and even in the streets. “Why did you divide the country on the issue of corruption, when we should have all been united in the fight against it?” he asked the government.

Busuttil said there was still too much blind loyalty to political parties in Malta. “Don’t let them abuse from your loyalty. If a party does something corrupt, don’t continue clapping for it. A political party is not a football team, it should have to work for your loyalty.”

On how he felt when former tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, ex-OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and former prime minister Joseph Muscat resigned, Busuttil said it was as if “we had been banging on a wall to push it down for a long time, and just as we were about to turn and go home, [PN MP] Jason Azzopardi came and kicked it, knocking the wall down.”

Busuttil promised that his fight against corruption would not stop.

In a long thank you list, Busuttil also mentioned the Opposition leader because "on this side there is one faction, not two". "One faction against corruption and in favour of justice for Daphne."

His thank you list included NGOs Repubblika and Occupy Justice, and independent MPs Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia.

Busuttil also showed photos of memorable moments in Parliament, including one when his son had attended.

He closed off with a quote sometimes attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”