‘Taxpayer is funding government’s scandalous corruption’ – Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says separation of MEPA will make it simpler for government to be involved in scandals.

Barely two years into the Labour administration, a web of corruption has been built with the blessing of Castille and the taxpayer is footing the bill for the government’s “scandalous cases of corruption,” Opposition leader Simon Busuttil insisted today.

Speaking in a telephone interview on Radio 101 this morning, the PN leader pulled no punches in denouncing the government’s latest scandals and cases of corruption, arguing that whereas people close to the government were being treated preferably, the Maltese taxpayer was getting the short end of the stick.

“It is worrying that after just two years, this government is already drowning in its scandals. Not even the most corrupt government during the Mintoff and Lorry Sant had gotten to this stage in just two years,” he argued.

The Opposition leader argued that during its administration, the government has overseen the Australia hall scandal, the €4.2 million payment to the Café Premier, and the Gaffarena scandal, amongst others.

“All these cases smell of corruption. The taxpayer is funding all of this; the workers who were given a meagre 58c COLA increase are being made to pay higher taxes, while those living on social benefits and single mothers who were felling a squeeze on their wages have also bore the brunt of the scandals,” Busuttil said in an attempt to pitch in as the guardian of the working class and the marginalised.

Busuttil also lambasted the “preferential treatment” given to parliamentary secretary Michael Falzon, and also insisted that the investigations into the sons of former police commissioner Ray Zammit are shedding a bad light on the police force.

“Honest police officers re being painted in a bad light because of the government’s corruption,” he said. Similarly, he said, the Labour Party was also guilty of being corrupt while in opposition.

“Prior to the election, the [then-Labour] Opposition had pledged that it would make the people its protagonists. However, two years later, it has reverted on its promise and instead made the Gaffarenas and the Zammits the protagonists,” he said.

Lambasting the current proposals within the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED), the PN leader argued that the three new laws through which the Malta Environment and Planning Authority would pave the pay for more scandals.

“The government is trying to get the bills through parliament quickly before the summer recess to the detriment of the environment,” he said. The proposals have also been criticised by environmentalist NGO Din l-Art Helwa, after the latter called on the government to remove the “ambiguous clauses” that allow development on outside development zones.

Busuttil also echoed the Front Harsien ODZ’s call for the government to be transparent and publish its agreement with Sadeen Group for the development of a new university at Zonqor Point.

“We have a right to know what this agreement entails. This was an agreement reached with a businessman no one knows and which was reached without any public calls,” he said. The Opposition leader also dismissed Muscat’s earlier comments that not all the project would be in Marsaskala

“Joseph Muscat showed that he does not listen, and that he would prefer ruining half of Zonqor Point. Does this government expect us to congratulate it for ruining half and not all of Zonqor?” Busuttil quipped.

Turning his attention on the Greek referendum, Busuttil explained that the country was brought on its knees because of institutionalised corruption and years of overspending. Accordingly, Busuttil said that he would not stand idle if Malta were to be led in a similar direction.

Conversely, the Nationalist Party would be the catalyst for change and would present an alternative choice to the Labour administration, Busuttil continued.