L-irċevuta tal-Bank of Vassallo

 

Mela issa nafu li l-Bank of Vassallo ġabar lura flusu. Dawk il-250,000 li kien silef lill-kumpaniji kummerċjali tal-Partit Nazzjonalista. Skond rapport fil-gazzetti tal-lum intqal li dan is-self ilu li tħallas lura minn Awwissu li għadda.

Mhux magħruf jekk tħallsux interessi fuq is-self. Fil-fatt l-aħbar kienet li tħallsu il-250,000. Imkien ma issemmew il-ħlas ta interessi. Probabbilment li dan sar minħabba li ma tħallsux flus. Sissa ħadd għadu ma qal jekk l-interessi tħallsux fxi forma oħra. Fkaz li dan sar ma naħsibx li ser ikun hemm xi irċevuta.

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Koalizzjoni: mhux kontra Muscat imma favur il-governanza tajba

 

Muscat + Busuttil

 

Simon Busuttil qalilna li l-PN jrid imexxi koalizzjoni kontra l-korruzzjoni. Bil-passat riċenti tiegħu il-PN mhux postu fdin ix-xorta ta koalizzjoni. Koalizzjoni kontra l-korruzzjoni mhiex kredibbli bil-PN jifforma parti minnha.

Bħala riżultat tat-telfa madornali tal-2013, il-PN jippretendi li l-passat tiegħu hu maħfur. Hawn sejjer żbaljat għax għad baqa ħafna xjaqta bi snienu sakemm jikseb lura l-kredibilitá.

Għad hemm ħtieġa ta ħafna spjegazzjonijiet dwar każi li l-fatti dwarhom sissa huma mċajpra: dwar l-iskandlu tażżejt, dwar l-artijiet tal-Gvern, dwar is-self mill-Bank of Vassallo u tant affarijiet oħra. Avolja, oħroġ il-għaġeb, donnu ħadd ma jaf xejn.

Il-fatt li feġġew skandli simili kif ukoll skandli agħar (bħal tal-Panama) li għalihom hu responsabbli l-Gvern ta Joseph Muscat, u probabbilment Joseph Muscat innifsu, ma jfissirx li issa l-PN jista jqis ruħu mnaddaf u lest għat-tmexxija tal-pajjiż. Il-passat imċajpar tal-PN hu viċin wisq biex ninsewħ. L-iskandli tal-lum u l-iskandli tal-bieraħ, flimkien, ifissru li ma hemmx xtagħżel bejn il-PN u l-PL. It-tnejn li huma responsabbli għal tmexxija ħażina.

Jiena kontra l-korruzzjoni, imma ma nħossnix komdu fkoalizzjoni li fiha jkun hemm il-PN, għax fis-siegħa tal-prova l-PN baqa ċass quddiem il-ħmieġ. Faċli titkellem mill-Opposizzjoni. Imma jekk dwar dak li jiġri meta tkun fil-Gvern twaħħal fta taħtek u fta madwarek ħadd ma jista jemmnek.

Jiena kontra l-korruzzjoni imma l-koalizzjoni li rrid nara mhiex waħda kontra Joseph Muscat, imma favur il-governanza tajba. U dwar din mhemmx post għall-PN. Għad baqagħlu ħafna xjitgħallem.

A Christmas carol for Jason Azzopardi

i-am-the-ghost-of-christmas-past

 

Just like Ebenezer Scrooge, Jason Azzopardi is haunted with scenes from his past. Scrooge had to deal with the Ghost of Christmas Past while Jason has been spotlighted by the Auditor-General in three separate reports. These deal with issues forming part of the political responsibilities which he shouldered when part of the Lawrence Gonzi Cabinet.

The first report was presented one year ago and dealt with the issuance of encroachment permits on the eve of the 2013 general election.  The Auditor-General then commented on Minister Jason Azzopardi’s intervention in the issuance of encroachment permits, emphasising that his intervention was “unwarranted”.

Pompous as ever, Jason Azzopardi insisted that he acted within the parameters of the law. He was not capable of recognising that he erred. Nor was he publicly chastised in any way by his own political party which has called for everybody’s resignation, except his own.

Two other reports were published by the Auditor-General last week.  Both deal with government land: its acquisition in one case, its transfer in another.

The first report investigates the acquisition of 233, 236 and 237, Republic Street Valletta.  The Auditor-General, in this investigation identified significant shortcomings in the process of negotiation, critically and negatively conditioning Government’s negotiating position. “This serious shortcoming,” states the Auditor-General, “was raised in concerns raised by the Permanent Secretary,” who was over-ruled.

Notwithstanding the corrective measures subsequently taken, the process remained flawed. This, emphasised the Auditor-General, represented a fundamental weakness in the process of negotiation (with HSBC), “effectively limiting Government’s bargaining power”.  Bad governance at its worst!

The second report deals with the investigation on the transfer of land at Ta’ L-Istabal, Qormi.   The Auditor-General concluded that “failure in terms of good governance, to varying degrees, is a recurring theme that emerged” throughout his review of the matter. The Auditor-General also noted “extraordinary haste” when as a result of problems being identified authorisations were obtained and contracts signed in a matter of two days.

The Auditor-General lists a number of public officers as being responsible for the mess created when conditions attached to a contract concerning government property were cancelled illegally without Parliament’s approval in terms of legislation regulating the disposal of government land.

Describing this mess, the Auditor-General states that he “did not find any direct evidence of political pressure exerted in the processes reviewed.” The emphasis obviously is on the words “direct evidence” as reading through the report it is amply clear that a selection of the top brass within the civil service would not act in such blatant defiance of the law unless they had at least tacit approval of the holders of political office to which they were responsible. The civil service officials mentioned by the Auditor-General as being directly responsible are: The Director General, the Notary and the Assistant Director Contracts of the Government Property Division.

The Auditor-General makes this very important consideration: “ …………… an element of political pressure was asserted by the Chair Vassallo Builders Group Ltd, who alleged that Marsovin Ltd had prior agreement with the ‘Minister’ and the GPD. The Director Marsovin Group Ltd negated this allegation, as did the Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investment and the Parliamentary Secretary for Revenues and Land, who indicated that they were not aware of the case at the time. Queried in this respect, the Chair Vassallo Builders Group Ltd indicated no knowledge of who the ‘Minister’ was. While the NAO cannot rule out pressure being exerted by any of the aforementioned, or possibly by other persons who did not come to this Office’s attention, the facts of the case render immediately evident that pressure was in fact exerted to the detriment of Government’s interests.”

Ultimately the responsibility for this mess lies on Jason Azzopardi’s lap. He has a lot of pending explanations. He will obviously not resign as clearly he only pays lip service to good governance.

In addition, this report from the Auditor-General possibly throws some light on another incident: the loan of €250,000 by a certain Nazzareno Vassallo to the PN’s commercial arms on the eve of the 2013 general elections. We were then informed that the loan was of a commercial nature on commercial terms.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. How can anyone believe Jason Azzopardi and his political party preaching adherence to good governance when as recently as 2012 they made a mess on all that they could lay their hands on?

Referring to Joseph Muscat’s gross administrative incompetence and the scandals popping up every other day is no solution. The more we unravel from the past the more clear it becomes that both the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party, each in its own way, as a result of their shady methods of operation, cannot be trusted with the reins of power.

published in The Malta Independent : Tuesday 27 December 2016

Mill-Bank of Vassallo għaċ-ċedoli 2016

Bank of Vassallo

Qabel l-elezzjoni ġenerali li għaddiet il-Partit Nazzjonalista kien issellef kwart ta’ miljun euro mingħand Żaren Vassallo. Dakinnhar kien intqal li dak is-self kien ta’ natura kummerċjali. Ma kien ippubblikat xejn u allura xejn m’hu magħruf dwar dan is-self: la l-kundizzjonijiet u l-anqas jekk tħallasx lura, inkella jekk inħafirx.

Din hi informazzjoni li l-Partit Nazzjonalista għandu l-obbligu morali li jagħti.

Issa l-PN beda skema ta’ self imsejħa ċedoli 2016 li permezz tagħha numru ta’ persuni jsellfu €10,000 (r-ras) għal għaxar snin u ta’ dan jitħallsu imgħax ta’4% fis-sena.

Il-liġi dwar il-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi li daħlet fis-seħħ fl-1 ta’ Jannar li għadda tirregola s-self li jagħmlu l-partiti politiċi b‘mod limitat. Dan tagħmlu billi jekk fost il-kundizzjonijiet tas-self ikun hemm kundizzjonijiet favorevoli, il-vantaġġi li jakkwista l-partit jitqiesu bħala donazzjoni, u  allura jkunu regolati skond ir-regoli tad-donazzjonijiet. L-ammonti ta’ interessi huma żgħar (€400 kull ċedola fis-sena) u l-vantaġġi minn kull ċedola li jistgħu jitqiesu bħala donazzjoni huma għaldaqstant ferm żgħar. Dan meta tqabblu mal-ammont ta’ €7,000 fis-sena li hu l-ammont li jekk jinqabeż bħala donazzjoni (minn persuna waħda f’sena) jkun meħtieġ li jkun dikjarat (anke l-isem tal-persuna li tagħmel id-donazzjoni tkun ippubblikata).

Il-mistoqsijiet li qed isiru huma diversi. Fosthom hemm mistoqsija dwar jekk il-lista tal-ismijiet ta’ dawk li ser isellfu lill-PN hiex ser tkun ippubblikata. Il-liġi li approva l-Parlament fl-2015 ma toħloqx dan l-obbligu. Imma huwa ċar li l-lista ma tistax tkun sigrieta. L-awdituri tal-PN ser jagħmlu l-verifiki tagħhom. Biex jagħmlu dawn il-verifiki jkun meħtieġ  li jeżaminaw id-dokumentazzjoni dwar iċ-ċedoli. L-istess jistgħu jagħmlu l-awdituri tal-Kummissjoni Elettorali li ukoll għandhom l-awtorità li jagħmlu l-verifika jekk ikun hemm ħtieġa għal dan.

Dan naħseb li mhux biżżejjed u jkun għaqli li l-liġi tkun emendata biex dawn it-tip ta’ skemi ta’ self ikunu trasparenti. B’żieda ma dan,  l-obbligu li l-flus jintraddu lura għandu jkun garantit, preferibilment b’insurance. Dejjem sakemm ma jkunux garantiti mill-Bank of Vassallo.

Tiftakru l-Bank of Vassallo?

Bank of Vassallo

Il-White Paper ippreżentata mill-Gvern il-bieraħ dwar il-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi hu pass tajjeb il-quddiem li dwaru Alternattiva Demokratika  tkellmet f’kull programm elettorali tagħha mill-1992 lil hawn.

Naqbel 100% mal-prinċipji ta’ trasparenza u kontabilita’ li l-White Paper tmexxi l-quddiem iżda hemm ħtieġa ta’ diskussjoni fil-fond fuq id-dettalji, ċjoe fuq kif ser titħaddem l-eventwali liġi.

L-ammonti dwar donazzjonijiet li huma proposti fil-White Paper huma għoljin wisq u għandhom jonqsu,  bħalma għandhom jonqsu l-limiti dwar l-infieq permissibli minn kandidati fl-elezzjonijiet diversi. Naħseb li hu esaġerazzjoni illi l-obbligu ta’ reġistrazzjoni jibda ma donazzjoni ta’ €10,000 kif tipproponi l-White Paper. Tajjeb li niftakru li €10,000 huma ftit iktar minn paga minima ta’ persuna waħda għal sena sħiha. L-ammont li jekk jinqabeż ikun hemm notifika dwaru għandu jkun ferm iktar baxx minn hekk. Fil-programm elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika għall-elezzjoni ta’ Marzu 2013 ipproponejna li dan it-threshold għandu jkun ta’ €4,000. Jidhirli li dan hu ferm iktar raġjonevoli minn dak li tipproponi l-White Paper.

Il-White Paper ma titkellimx dwar self li l-partiti politiċi jista’ jkollhom minn żmien għal żmien. Konna smajna ftit qabel l-aħħar elezzjoni ġenerali kif il-Partit Nazzjonalista kien issellef madwar kwart ta’ miljun euro mingħand il-Bank of Vassallo. Dakinnhar kien intqal li din kienet transazzjoni kummerċjali u li dan kien self li kien ser jitħallas lura.  Jekk tħallasx lura jew le ma nafx. Imma jibqa’ l-fatt li hu mċajpar fejn qiegħed il-punt ta’ diviżjoni bejn l-attivita’ kummerċjali  u l-ħidma politika tal-partiti politiċi. Il-White Paper m’hi xejn ċara dwar dan.

Hemm imbagħad it-taparsi self li jista’ jsir lill-partiti bħalma ġara fl-Ingilterra xi snin ilu. L-iskandlu fl-Ingilterra dakinnhar kien li dawn ma kienux każijiet ta’ self imma ta’ għotjiet sostanzjali moħbija biex jevitaw li jkunu dikjarati bħala tali. Dwar dan it-tip ta’ logħob il-White Paper hi siekta ukoll.

Fil-White Paper ma hemm l-ebda referenza għall-infieq permissibli mill-partiti politiċi waqt kampanja elettorali.  Nistaqsi: hu aċċettabbli li partit politiku f’Malta jonfoq il-miljuni f’kampanja elettorali? Jiena naħseb li dan it-tip ta’infiq hu esagerazzjoni.  Huwa nuqqas gravi li hu injorat. L- anqas ma huma raġjonevoli il-limiti l-ġodda proposti għal-infieq mill-kandidati.  L-€1,400 limitu tal-lum għal kandidat f’elezzjoni ġenerali hu redikolu u l-parti l-kbira tal-kandidati kienu jinjorawh.  Imma l-€25,000 limitu għal infieq minn kandidat għal elezzjoni ġenerali hu għoli wisq. Mhux għax m’hemmx min diġa jonfoq iktar minn hekk. Imma għax hu esaġerazzjoni li m’għandux ikun permess. L-elezzjoni mhiex battalja ta’ min jonfoq l-iktar, iżda battalja ta’ ideat. Eżerċizzju biex nikkonvinċu lill-elettorat mhux eżerċizzju ta’ l-isbaħ kuluri u parties. Biċ-ċifri proposti għal infieq li jkun permess il-White Paper qed tagħti messaġġ żbaljat.

Il-Kummissjoni Elettorali ma tistax tkun l-aħjar regolatur għax tul is-snin u għal raġunijiet storiċi ukoll ġiet ikkapparata mill-Partit Nazzjonalista u mill-Partit Laburista. Fil-Parlament bħalissa qed issir diskussjoni dwar l-istandards ta’ inġieba u etika fil-ħajja pubblika. Dak hu l-forum addattat. Hemmhekk il-Gvern u l-Opposizzjoni qed jaqblu li għandu jkun hemm persuna indipendenti li tissorvelja l-imġieba fil-ħajja pubblika. Tajjeb li l-finanzjament tal-partiti jkun regolat f’dan l-istess qafas.

Il-White Paper titkellem ukoll dwar il-ħtieġa tar-reġistrazzjoni tal-partiti u tipproponi diversi miżuri li bihom għandhom ikunu irregolati l-partiti politiċi. Naħseb illi f’dan il-qasam il-White Paper qed tidħol f’ħafna dettal żejda. Ikun għaqli li wieħed jillimita ruħu għal dak li hu essenzjali.

F’dawn il-ġranet il-Gvern permezz tas-Segretarju Parlamentari Owen Bonnici ser jibda proċess ta’ konsultazzjoni pubblika dwar il-proposti li saru fil-White Paper. Owen hu persuna li kapaċi tisma’.  Alternattiva Demokratika fi ħsiebha tiltaqa’ miegħu biex twassal proposti dettaljati dwar kif il-finanzjament tal-partiti jista’ jkun regolat b’mod adegwat.

B’hekk nassiguraw li mhux biss nagħmlu pass il-quddiem, iżda li dan il-pass ikun ukoll fis-sod.

ippubblikat fuq iNews l-Erbgħa 5 ta’ Frar 2014

Bla flus …………. la tgħannaq u l-anqas tbus

Bank of Vassallo

L-aħbar tat-Times dal-għodu li l-Partit Nazzjonalista m’huwiex f’posizzjoni li jħallas il-pagi tal-impjegati tiegħu m’hiex aħbar tajba.

M’huwiex ċar eżattament x’ġara minħabba li Pawlu Borg Olivier, Segretarju Ġenerali tal-PN, ma weġibx il-mistoqsijiet tal-ġurnalista tat-Times billi dak li ntalab tqies bħala kummerċjalment sensittiv!

Niftakru imma li fi Frar 2013 kien hemm l-aħbar li Żaren Vassallo silef kwart ta’ miljun euro (€250,000) lill-PN. Dakinnhar kienu qalulna li dan kien arranġament kummerċjali proviżorju. Is-self kienu qalulna ser jitħallas!

Dan kollu jerġa’ jiftaħ beraħ id-diskussjoni dwar il-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi.

Il-Bank of Vassallo ċertament li m’huwiex  is-soluzzjoni. Huwa importanti li s-saħħa tal-flus ma tibqax tkun ċentrali fil-politika. Għax dak li fil-fatt ilu jiġri għal numru kbir ta’ snin (mhux biss f’Malta).  Hemm bżonn li tkun megħluba r-resistenza li l-PN kellu għal trasparenza fil-finanzjament tal-politka. Għal xi żmien anke’ l-Partit Laburista kellu din ir-resistenza, sakemm hu ukoll beda jiffaċċja d-diffikultajiet.

Alternattiva Demokratika fil-programm elettorali tal-aħħar elezzjoni kienet ċara, kif kienet f’kull elezzjoni ġenerali.

Il-posizzjoni illum suppost li hi committment min-naħa tal-Partit Laburista li waħda mill-ewwel liġijiet li ser jitressqu fil-Parlament li ser jiltaqa’ bħal-lum ġimgħa ser tkun dik dwar il-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi.

Nistennew u naraw.

A loan for the Nationalist Party

PN. arma imkisra

It is normal for a commercial company to take up a loan from a commercial bank for the purposes of its  activities.

But is a commercial company owned by a political party “a normal commercial operation”?  In my opinion it is not.

Hence the declaration that business tycoon Nazzareno Vassallo has loaned the sum of €250,000 to a media company belonging to the PN is bad news. It is an additional exercise in the financing of a major political party in Malta by a major player in local business activity.

The terms and conditons of the loan have not been disclosed.

The very existence of this loan proves, if any proof was needed, of how close the Nationalist Party is to the major players in the construction industry.

The Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationalist Party has assured one and all that this did not give rise to any sort of obligation of the Nationalist Party towards Mr Vassallo and his companies. This loan will be paid he said, and very shortly.

I do not know whether and how the loan will be paid. What I know is that public confirmation of this loan has sealed the view of many that business and politics are too close for comfort.

It was known by all that Dr Lawrence Gonzi and his PN have done a great disservice to politics in Malta by promising legislation on regulating the financing of political parties and not keeping to his word. The approval of this loan explains clearly what the Leader of the PN really thinks on the regulation of the financing of political parties.

Alternattiva Demokratika in Parliament after the March 9 elections will be submitting proposals for legislation to ensure that the finances of political parties are transparent and regulated by law.

PN and the PL Members of Parliament, in the outgoing legislature, had for their consideration a Private Member’s Bill on regulating the financing of political parties. They ignored it.

Alternattiva Demokratika will improve that draft and present it for discussion in the new Parliament.

originally published in di-ve.com on Friday March 1, 2013

Il-Parlament: meta ser joħroġ mill-but tal-kuntratturi?

corruption.100

Lawrence Gonzi f’attivita’ politika l-lejla kien rappurtat li insista biex Joseph Muscat jippubblika l-lista tal-kuntratturi li qed jgħinu u jiffinanzjaw lill-Partit Laburista. Ġie rappurtat ukoll li qal li jrid ikun jaf min huma l-kuntratturi wara l-proposti li l-Partit Laburista għamel in konnessjoni mat-tibdil propost mill-PL fil-MEPA kif ukoll dwar il-proposta tal-Power Station.

Lawrence Gonzi qed jagħmel sewwa jinsisti għal din l-informazzjoni kollha. Informazzjoni li Alternattiva Demokratika ilha titlob snin twal sa mit-twaqqif tagħha. Tajjeb li anke Lawrence Gonzi issa jħoss il-ħtieġa tagħha. Donnu qed jiftaħ għajnejħ għall-ħażen li hawn madwaru!

Imma Lawrence Gonzi kien ikun iktar kredibbli li kieku jagħti l-eżempju u jkun hu l-ewwel li jagħti l-lista tal-benefatturi tal-Partit Nazzjonalista. Għax il-Partit Nazzjonalista ilu mill-1995 ikaxkar saqajh dwar il-ħtieġa ta’ liġi li tirregola l-finanzjament tal-partiti poltiiċi. Qatt ma ħass l-urġenza li jieħu passi, probabilment għax dejjem ħassu li kien minn fuq!

Forsi Lawrence Gonzi ma jarax il-ħtieġa li jippubblika l-lista tal-benefatturi tiegħu minħabba li jidher li din ser tibda tippubblika l-Malta Today. Nhar il-Ħadd li għadda din il-gazzetta ippubblikat l-istorja tas-Sammaritan Żaren Vassallo. Storja li ġiet miċħuda kemm minn Pawlu Borg Olivier (li jidher li ippreżenta kawża ta’ libell) kif ukoll mis-Sammaritan innifsu.

Fit-tweġiba li Pawlu Borg Olivier ta’ dwar l-artiklu tal-Malta Today qalilna li l-PN dejjem uża servizzi tal-kumpanija tas-Sammaritan Vassallo (MFCC). Qalilna li “The party said it leases services from MFCC and other suppliers through commercial arrangements, including barter agreements, as is the norm for the two parties.” Jiġifieri, PBO qed jgħidilna li l-PN ġieli flok ħlas partat il-kiri ta’ tined ma affarijiet oħra. Interessanti din. Il-mistoqsija tiġi waħdha: x’kien in-natura ta’ tpartit? Għax ngħiduha kif inhi, Żaren Vassallo iktar hu assoċjat mal-Yellow Pages milli mat-tpartit.

Issa drajnihom lill-Partit Nazzjonalista u lill-Partit Laburista: meta jkunu fil-Gvern ma jieħdux passi dwar il-finanzjament tal-partiti politici għax ikunu minn fuq u meta jkunu fl-Opposizzjoni jokorbu għax qegħdin minn taħt.

Matul l-2012 it-tnejn li huma kellhom ċans tad-deheb meta permezz ta’ mozzjoni privata Franco Debono ressaq abbozz ta’ liġi propju dwar dan is-suġgett. Abbozz li kien fih xi affarijiet żgħar x’tirranġa imma li kieku l-PN u l-PL verament riedu jilleġislaw kellhom ix-xogħol kollu lest. Imma ma riedux u għalhekk qegħdin fl-istat attwali.

Din hi s-sitwazzjoni li Parlament magħmul u ikkontrollat minn żewġ partiti politiċi ġiebna fiha. Sitwazzjoni li nistgħu noħorġu minna biss bil-wasla ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika fil-Parlament. Għax Alternattiva Demokratika ma hi fil-but ta’ ħadd, kif inhuma l-PN u l-PL.

Jekk trid li l-Parlament ma jkunx fil-but tal-kuntratturi għażla waħda biss għandek: li tivvota Alternattiva Demokratika.

Fil-but tal-kuntratturi

euros-loads-of-money

L-infieq tal-PN u tal-PL f’din il-kampanja elettorali hu sostanzjali. Qed jintefqu l-miljuni. Jew biex inkun iktar preċiż qed jintużaw riżorsi li jiswew il-miljuni.

Jieħdu għalihom meta ngħidulhom li mill-politika tagħhom kif ukoll mill-mod kif jaġixxu huwa ċar li qegħdin fil-but tal-kuntratturi.

Wara li l-bieraħ kkumentajt dwar dan fil-konferenza stampa organizzata minn Alternattiva Demokratika, illum żewg rapporti fil-Malta Today u s-Sunday Times komplew jitfgħu iktar dawl fuq il-materja.

L-intervista ta’ Anġlu Farruga fis-Sunday Times u l-istorja dwar il-karita’ tas-Sammaritan Żaren Vassallo mal-PN fil-Malta Today jisjegaw ħafna affarijiet.

Il-PN qed jiċħad din l-istorja u qed jhedded lill-Malta Today b’azzjoni legali.

Forsi issa huwa iktar faċli li wieħed jifhem għaliex għad m’għandniex liġi li tirregola l-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi f’Malta.