Repubblika to Abela: investigate Electrogas and Vitals contracts

NGO that led anti-corruption protests calls on Robert Abela to clean up public administration from corruption

Repubblika has led anti-corruption protests in Valletta in the wake of the arrest of Yorgen Fenech
Repubblika has led anti-corruption protests in Valletta in the wake of the arrest of Yorgen Fenech

The NGO Repubblika has written an open letter to new Labour prime minister Robert Abela, urging him to clean up public administration from corruption and abuse of power.

In the letter, Repubblika president Vicki-Ann Cremona accused Abela’s predecessor Joseph Muscat of allowing “mafia infiltration into the Maltese state and collaborated with it by weakening the very institutions which could have impeded this from happening”.

Cremona said Abela has to act over the fact that in 2016, both former minister Konrad Mizzi and Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri were caught out in the Panama Papers, which were an indication, later proved, of corruption and unlawfulness. “We want to see you exclude from your cabinet whoever is suspected of corruption or of unethical behaviour.”

The NGO accused Muscat of having abused of his power by protecting “cronies when they were caught receiving bribes” and friends who obstructed investigations in the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

“For two whole years, he resisted the opening of a public inquiry into her assassination, despite government’s obligations according to the European Convention. He employed persons in his office who, it appears, participated in the plot to have the journalist killed. He abused of the power to select the judiciary. He abused of his power and changed and dismissed permanent heads of public administration. He abused of power when he employed parliamentary members, including yourself, and transformed parliament into a simple rubber-stamp for the executive powers.

“He abused of power when he repeatedly changed the Police Commissioner to ensure that he and his cronies would be above the law. He abused of power to manipulate investigations into allegations of his own corruption. He wanted to persecute witnesses who informed journalists and deprived them of the protection offered by law to give testimony freely.”

Repubblika said it wants an investigation into the award of the gas plant contract to Electrogas, and the Vitals Global Healthcare privatisation.

“Before assuming your role as Prime Minister, you promised that you would ensure continuity. If this continuity is to mean that you intend to pursue your predecessor’s corrupt policies, we find this unacceptable, just like the former Prime Minister’s conduct was unacceptable to us,” Cremona said.