Meta Pilatu ħasel idejh

L-istorja dwar il-Bank ta Pilatu jidher li hi ħafna iktar kumplessa milli naħsbu. L-informazzjoni ħierġa ftit ftit u nimmaġina li hemm ħafna iktar xtoħroġ, apparti l-ħafna li qatt mhu ser jara d-dawl tax-xemx.

Tgħallimna li Pilatu ħasel idejh.

Il-Bank ta Pilatu wasal sa hawn għax kien hawn min ħasel idejh u ħeles mis-serjetá. Il-Bank mhux ser jagħti informazzjoni pubblika dwar il-klijenti tiegħu. Imma anke l-iktar ħarsa ħafifa lejn il-lista żgħira tal-klijenti tal-bank magħrufa sissa twassal inevitabilment għal xokk kbir.

Qed jingħad li l-bank hu effettivament il-Bank tal-Azerbaijġan, l-iktar pajjiż korrott fid-dinja. Possibli li l-Awtoritá dwar is-Servizzi Finanzjarji qatt ma kellha l-iċken suspett dwar dan? Anke l-fatt li Bank ta dan ix-xorta jingħata liċenzja, fiha innifisha tqanqal suspetti kbar li t-tmexxija tal-Awtoritá dwar is-Servizzi Finanzjarji ma tafx xinhi tagħmel, jew, agħar minn hekk taf iżżejjed xinhi tagħmel.

Ilkoll niftakru l-kritika qawwija li kien hemm minn Evarist Bartolo dwar iċ-Chairman tal-Awtoritá għas-Servizzi Finanzjarji l-Professur J. Bannister xi xhur ilu. Illum wieħed jifhem ftit iktar għalfejn kien iddefendieh ħafna l-Onor Prim Ministru liċ-Chairman.

Dan kollu isaħħah l-argument li bosta ilhom jagħmlu, li l-kawża tal-problemi kollha tagħna huma l-istituzzjonijiet fMalta li huma kompromessi: kemm bil-mod li jinħatru kif ukoll bil-persuni li jinħatru biex imexxuhom.

Għax f’Malta ħafna affarijiet jiddependu fuq li Pilatu jaħsel idejh. Għax jekk u meta Pilatu ma jaħsilx idejh, iżda jiddeċiedi li jagħmel xogħolu, jibdew il-problemi għal ħafna nies.

 

The financing of Fawlty Towers

Townsquare.Fawlty Tower

The saga of the Mrieħel and the Townsquare towers is now entering a new phase, with the planning appeal stopwatch due to start ticking shortly –  most probably towards the end of the month. It is known that, so far, Sliema Local Council and a number of environmental NGOs will be appealing against the 4 August decision of the Planning Authority to approve the “Fawlty Towers” at Mrieħel and Townsquare Sliema .

Financing of the projects is next. The banks cannot increase their already substantial exposure to loans that are dependent on building speculation. Consequently, the developers will inevitably have to seek the involvement of private citizens and, possibly, institutional investors. Most probably, the process for financing the projects has already commenced; it will involve the issuing of bonds to the public and will normally be sponsored by a bank and a stock-broking agency.

The bank or banks and stockbrokers sponsoring the bond issue will have to ensure that the bonds are subject to an “appropriateness and suitability testing” subject to such direction as the Malta Financial Services Authority  may consider necessary and suitable. Also, in the light of past local unpleasant experiences, the Authority will undoubtedly be guided by the need to ensure  that prospective investors fully understand the inherent risks of the proposed investments.  It will also ensure that detailed information is published in the form of a suitable prospectus in which the small print is both legible and understandable.

Those who finance the high-rise projects should shoulder responsibility for their impact together with the Planning Authority and the developers. They will potentially make it happen, so they should carry the can. It is important to get this message through: those who will invest in the Gasan and Tumas bonds intended to finance the “Fawlty  Towers”  should receive more than a monetary return on their investment. The moment they sign up they will also assume co-responsibility – with the developers, the Planning Authority, the bank or banks and the sponsoring stockbrokers – for this projected development .

Word is going around on the need to boycott the services and products placed on the market by the Gasan and Tumas Groups. Journalist Jürgen Balzan, writing in Malta Today described these services and products as being wide-ranging (hotels, car-dealerships, gaming, finance and property) which easily impact on the daily life of a substantial number of Maltese citizens. However, such a boycott’s only link with  the “Fawlty  Towers”  would be through the owners.  It would be preferable for a boycott to have a direct link with the offensive action.  In this context, the forthcoming bond issue to finance the “Fawlty  Towers”  presents itself as a suitable opportunity.

A boycott is a non-violent instrument of protest that is perfectly legitimate in a democratic society. The boycotting of the forthcoming bond issue would send a clear message that people will not be complicit in further ruining the  urban fabric of Sliema and ensure that development at Imrieħel is such that the historic landscape is fully respected.

A social impact assessment, if properly carried out, would have revealed the apprehensions of the residents in particular the residents on the Tignè peninsula. But, unfortunately, as stated by Sliema Green Local Councillor Michael Briguglio, the existing policy-making process tends to consider such studies as an irritant rather than as a tool for holistic management and community participation.

We have had some recent converts on the desirability of social impact assessments, such as Professor Alex Torpiano, Dean of the Faculty for the Built Environment at the University of Malta. Prof. Torpiano, in an opinion piece published by the Malta Independent this week, stressed that spatial planning in Malta needs a social-economic dimension. Unfortunately, I do not recollect the professor himself practising these beliefs as the leading architect in the MIDI and Cambridge projects on the Tignè peninsula,  a stone’s throw from Townsquare!

Investing in this bond issue is not another private decision: it will have an enormous impact on the community.

Responsibility for this ever-increasing environmental mess has to be shouldered by quite a few persons in Malta. Even the banks have a very basic responsibility – and not one to be shouldered just by the Directors: the shareholders should also take an interest before decisions are taken and not post-factum.

I understand that the Directors of APS Bank have already taken note of the recent  statements regarding the environment by  Archbishop Charles Scicluna. As such, it stands to reason that APS will (I hope) not be in any way associated with the financing process for the “Fawlty  Towers”.  However, there is no news as yet from the other banks, primarily from the major ones – ie Bank of Valletta and HSBC.

This is a defining moment in environmental action in Malta. It is time for those that matter to stand up to be counted – and the sooner the better.

published by the Malta Independent on Sunday – 21 August 2016

Il-parabboli ta’ Varist

Evarist-Bartolo.irrabjat

It-tradizzjoni politika Ewropeja, li f’kull partit politiku jkun hemm mhux biss min jaħseb b’moħħu imma, iktar minn hekk li jkun hemm min jitkellem ċar fil-pubbliku, għad ma rabbietx l-egħruq fil-fond f’pajjiżna. Kieku dan seħħ, il-ħajja politika f’Malta forsi hi ftit aħjar.

Minflok politiċi li jitkellmu ċar, għandna l-parabboli ta’ Varist li waqt li l-opinjoni pubblika qed tiffoka fuq il-Panama jippreferi jikkritika l-imġieba tal-Professur Bannister inkella  li jitkellem dwar xi stedina għal fenkata f’razzett fin-nofsinnhar tal-pajjiż. Messaġġ għal min irid jifhmu, imma ferm il-bogħod minn dak mistenni minnu.

Jiena nitkellem ma membri parlamentari miż-żewġ naħat tal-kamra. Wieħed minnhom, min-naħa tal-Gvern, riċentement qalli li Marlene Farrugia għaġġlet meta rriżenjat għax kieku stenniet ftit kienet issib appoġġ mhux żgħir mill-backbench.

Iva, wara l-istorja faċli tgħid x’seta ġara, kieku …………… nitkellmu ċar u mhux bil-parabboli.

 

Imma dan ma ġarax b’kumbinazzjoni għax tajjeb li niftakru li Joseph Muscat ħaseb minn kmieni biex jassigura ruħu li jkun jista’ joħnoq id-dissens fil-grupp parlamentari biex jipprova jevita dak li ġralu Lawrence Gonzi.

Id-daqs kbir tal-Kabinett (l-ikbar fl-istorja) kif ukoll l-inkarigi lil prattikament il-backbench kollu (min Chairman hawn u min konsulent hemm) huma fost il-miżuri intenzjonati minn kmieni biex id-dissens ikun regolat. Pero minkejja dan, il-grupp parlamentari laburista xorta kellu diskussjoni imqanqla dwar il-Panama Papers. Kien hemm min, bil-bibien magħluqin ħass li seta jkun kritiku ta’ kif saru l-affarijiet u diversi talbu r-riżenji ta’ Konrad u Keith. Il-kuraġġ tal-ftit instema imma ma kienx biżżejjed. Kellhom il-kuraġġ imma illimitaw ruħhom għall-kritika interna, li hi neċessarja ukoll.

S’issa d-dissens fil-Partit Laburista hu limitat għall-kritika interna u għall-parabboli ta’ Varist. Żewġ passi l-quddiem imma mhux biżżejjed biex tinkiseb lura l-kredibilità.

 

Parlament li jġiegħlek tirremetti

vomit

Smajt partijiet mid-dibattitu Parlamentari tal-lum dwar Keith Schembri l-Kasco. Nistqarr li qlajt l-istonku nisma’ lil Simon Busuttil u lil Joseph Muscat jitkellmu. Jekk ngħid li rriduċew lil Parlament għat-tejatrin tar-raħal inkun qed ninsulenta lit-tejatrin tar-raħal!

Bil-lingwaġġ li kontinwament juża’ Simon Busuttil (u oħrajn) iwassal mesaġġ li qed jitkellem dwar korruzzjoni ppruvata meta jaf li dan hu ferm il-bogħod mir-realtà. Ir-realtà hi ftit differenti: li hemm attività ta’ diversi persuni li qed jagħmlu użu mis-segretezza tal-qasam finanzjarju f’pajjiżi oħra (Panama u British Virgin Islands, per eżempju). Li dawn is-servizzi jintużaw minn persuni fil-politika (Konrad Mizzi) u minn persuni madwar il-politiċi (bħal Keith Schembri) jqanqal suspetti gravi dwar korruzzjoni. Suspetti jibqgħu suspetti. Imma l-politiku serju jaġixxi minnufih fuq suspetti ta’ din il-gravità. Il-fatt li Joseph Muscat ma aġixxiex turi li bla l-iċken dubju m’huwiex bniedem serju u ma jixraqlux li jmexxi dan il-pajjiż.

Dan hu l-argument kollu li jiġġustifika l-mozzjoni ta’ Marlene Farrugia.

Il-bqija, fl-opinjoni tiegħi kien kollu ħela ta’ ħin.

Imma sfortunatament il-Parlament Malti mhuwiex interessat f’diskussjoni serja. La l-Gvern u l-anqas l-Opposizzjoni.

Joseph Muscat : tad-daħq jew tal-biki ?

smilie_gr_201

 

F’Malta(s’issa)  hawn kunsens bejn il-Partit Nazzjonalista u l-Partit Laburista dwar il-qasam tas-settur finanzjarju. Dan il-kunsens jinkludi l-possibilità tat-twaqqif ta’ nominee companies li jippermettu l-ħabi tal-ismijiet tal-persuni involuti f’dawn il-kumpaniji.

Alternattiva Demokratika dejjem kienet kritika ta’ dan. In partikolari ipproponejna li s-servizzi fiduċjarji li permezz tagħhom l-identità tas-sidien reali ta’ uħud mill-kumpaniji hi moħbija wara l-isem ta’ xi avukat jew accountant jeħtieġ li jispiċċaw.

Jekk dan ma jsirx, inutli nitkellmu fuq it-trasparenza u fuq il-ġlieda kontra l-korruzzjoni. Il-korruzzjoni hi mibnija fuq in-nuqqas ta’ trasparenza, fuq il-ħabi, w s-servizzi fiduċjarji ma jagħtu l-ebda garanzija biex dan ikun evitat.

F’dan il-kuntest uħud mid-dikjarazzjonijiet tal-Prim Ministru Malti Joseph Muscat fil-konferenza tal-Commonwealth f’Londra ma nafx jekk humiex tad-daħq jew tal-biki.

Evarist Bartolo u l-politika tal-iskalora

skalora

Bħalissa qed naqraw fil-gazzetti l-argumenti li qed iġib Evarist Bartolo dwar il-posizzjoni taċ-Chairman tal-Awtorità dwar is-Servizzi Finanzjarji (MFSA)  l-Professur Joe Bannister. Varist qed isostni li l-involviment ta’ Bannister f’hedge fund fil-gżejjer Cayman hu konflitt ta’ interess li minħabba fih Bannister ma messux qiegħed jokkupa l-posizzjoni  sensittiva ta’ Chairman tal-MFSA.

Il-Professur Bannister isostni li diġa ta l-ispjegazzjonijiet tiegħu ħames snin ilu, li ġew aċċettati minn Lawrence Gonzi u Joseph Muscat.

L-attakk ta’ Varist Bartolo f’dan il-mument, fl-opinjoni tiegħi, mhux daqstant attakk fuq il-Professur Bannister. Bannister huwa fil-mument l-aħjar medium għal Varist biex jiffoka fuq ir-responsabbiltà kollettiva tal-Kabinett bl-użu ta’ lingwaġġ li bih ma jkunx imdarras il-Laburist.

L-attakk reali hu kontra r-resistenza ta’ sħabu fil-Kabinett biex jiftħu għajnejhom dwar Konrad Mizzi u Keith Schembri. Resistenza li minħabba fiha m’humiex jirrealizzaw il-gravità tas-sitwazzjoni li timmerita rizenja immedjata ta’ Konrad Mizzi u Keith Schembri l-Kasco, inkella t-tkeċċija tagħhom.

It-Times tal-lum fil-fatt tirrapporta lil Varist jgħid “One sees someone defending somebody else, mentioning seriousness and principles, and then one finds that there are personal obligations and that the two are doing very well together.”

Dan Varist jgħidu fil-kuntest tal-kritika tiegħu indirizzata lejn il-Professur Joe Bannister. Il-mira reali iżda, fil-fehma tiegħi, hi Joseph Muscat u d-difiża li Muscat qed jagħmel lil Konrad Mizzi u Keith Schembri l-Kasco.

Din hi l-politika tal-iskalora li biha l-Gvern ta’ Joseph Muscat filwaqt li jiddefendi lil min mexa ħażin qiegħed, fl-istess ħin, kontinwament, ikanta favur is-serjetà fit-tmexxija imma mhux jirrealizza li qiegħed kontinwament jegħreq, imdawwar bl-iskalora. U kif qallu l-professur l-ieħor, Simon Busuttil, fl-iskalora diffiċli jsalva mill-għarqa.

Is-settur finanzjarju f’Malta hu mibni fuq ir-ramel

Mafia linked-companies

L-impiegi u d-dħul li s-settur finanzjarju f’Malta jiġġenera hu mibni fuq ir-ramel għax hu dipendenti fuq l-evazjoni (legali) tat-taxxa.

Is-settur finanzjarju f’Malta hu mibni fuq il-fatt li Malta toffri rati favorevoli ta’ taxxa. Jiġifieri rati sostanzjalment inqas minn dawk li kieku jitħallsu f’pajjiżi oħra. Dan flimkien mas-segretezza huwa dak li jiġbed is-settur finanzjarju Malti. F’ħafna każi huma kumpaniji leġittimi li jibbażaw ruħhom f’Malta biex iħallsu inqas taxxi. Xi drabi jkun hemm konnessjonijiet kriminali .

Il-Prim Ministru l-bieraħ qal fil-Parlament li hu ippreokkupat biex jipproteġi r-reputazzjoni taċ-ċentru finanzjarju f’Malta. Inkwetat li bħala riżultat tal-informazzjoni żvelata mill-Panama ser tiżdied il-presssjoni kontra dak li hu jsejjaħ “sovranità” fil-qasam tat-tassazzjoni.

Fir-realtà iktar milli sovranità hi eżerċiżżju ta’ evażjoni ta’ taxxa li bħala riżultat tiegħu kumpaniji kbar u żgħar jirnexxielhom jiżgiċċaw milli jħallsu t-taxxi dovuti f’pajjiżhom, u minflok iħallsu xi ħaġa żgħir f’Malta. Bħala riżultat ta’ dan joħolqu l-impiegi f’Malta għax jaħdmu minn hawn.

Għandu jkollna l-kuraġġ li ngħidu l-affarijiet kif inhuma: Malta (bil-kunsens kemm tal-PN kif ukoll tal-PL) bniet is-settur finanzjarju tagħha billi inkoraġġiet l-evazjoni tat-taxxa.

Għalhekk m’humiex kredibbli meta jitkellmu fuq il-moralità fiskali!

 

 

Taking care of tax evaders

HSBC Geneve

 

Joseph Muscat and the Labour Party pride themselves with emphasising that this Government has removed the statutory limitation (prescription) relative to corruption when holders of political office are criminally prosecuted.

It certainly was a step in the right direction. It still however requires the test of time to verify whether it is compatible with the human rights provisions of our Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights as was explained by former Strasbourg Judge Giovanni Bonello in his article Bribery and Genocide : the same? (Times of Malta April 20, 2013)

Such a clear stand against corruption contrasts with the provisions of Legal Notice 256 of 2014 entitled Investment Registration Scheme Regulations 2014 which launched the latest amnesty that can be utilised by Maltese citizens who evaded payment of income tax. Camouflaged through the use of Orwellian terminology as an “Investment Registration Scheme”, this amnesty, as others before it, did not treat holders of political office any differently from other tax evaders. It afforded them the same opportunities to be able to “regularise” their position absolving them from having committed an economic crime.

Apparently, this government considers tax evasion to be a crime which is substantially inferior to corruption. In fact, the recent cases brought to light by Swiss Leaks have revealed the ease with which former Cabinet Ministers have wriggled out of their tax evasion crimes that they had successfully concealed for around 40 years, including when in office.

During all these years, most of the funds which were accumulated in various bank accounts until they ended in an HSBC Genève account, reaped interest at varying rates depending on market conditions, which, as a result, increased the quantum of the undeclared funds. Had both the funds originally invested as well as the accumulated interests  been appropriately declared to the tax authorities in Malta , they would have been subject to between 35 per cent and 65 per cent  taxation in terms of Income Tax legislation. Yet the Investment Registration Scheme of 2014 allows self-confessed tax evaders off the hook subject to a  maximum 7.5 per cent registration fee! They even get a discount if they repatriate the funds! Apparently it pays to be a tax evader.

There are, however, some matters  which are not at all clear, yet.

Before insisting on his imaginary “right” not to be pestered by the press, former Minister Ninu Zammit had informed The Malta Independent on Sunday  that all his affairs were now “regularised”, having  made use of the 2014 amnesty to reap the benefits of his hoard stacked in Genève. He was also reported as having stated that the sources of his hoard was income derived from his professional activity  as well as various deals in landed property.

It is public knowledge that Zammit’s land deals were negotiated through the Malta registered limited liability company by the name of LENI Enterprises Limited of which he was both a shareholder and a director.  It is logical that any income from land deals would not only have a bearing on Ninu Zammit’s tax status but also on the reported performance and possible tax liabilities of LENI Enterprises Limited. In this respect, the  company’s financial reporting would certainly make very interesting reading.  Have its audited accounts been submitted to the Malta Financial Services Authority or its predecessors in terms of law?  Who has certified these accounts? What about the role of the auditors of LENI Enterprises Limited?  Is there the need to revisit the audited accounts of LENI Enterprises Limited due to the fact that at least one of its directors has benefited from the latest tax evasion amnesty?

As far as I am aware,  Legal Notice 256 of 2014 only absolves self-declared tax-evaders resident in Malta from their non-observance of income tax legislation. Other crimes could still be actionable .

Such other crimes would include false declarations to Cabinet in terms of the Ministerial Code of Ethics. There may also be other issues should these result from the investigations which the Commissioner of Inland Revenue is currently carrying out on the basis of the information which is now known.

There is however one important thing which we should never underestimate. The benevolence of the state towards tax evaders has no limits. It knows how to take care of these small details too.

 

published in the Malta Independent on Sunday – 1st March 2015

Sal-ponta ta’ imnieħru

nose2

Għall-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni Simon Busuttil, il-mod kif żviluppat l-istorja tal-bejgħ taċ-ċittadinanza għall-prezz ta’ €650,000 hi sħaba sewda għax il-Gvern irrombla minn fuq l-Opposizzjoni. Simon Busuttil kompla jgħid li dak li ġara hu ta’ theddida għad-demokrazija.

Il-Gvern wasal għall-konklużjoni li l-iskema tal-bejgħ taċ-ċittadinanza  hi mezz tajjeb biex bih jiġbor il-miljuni għal numru ta’ snin, biżżejjed biex ikollu l-mezzi ħalli jiffinanzja l-programm politiku li jrid iwettaq mingħajr ma jżid taxxi. Jidher li ngħata pariri dwar dan kemm mill-konsulenti tiegħu kif ukoll minn dawk li nirreferu għalihom bħala lobbyists.

Il-Gvern geżwer il-proposta tiegħu fis-segretezza. Fatt li saħħah l-argument li minkejja d-due diligence kollha li jista’ jkun hemm xorta hemm il-possibilita ta’ karattri mhux mixtieqa li japplikaw għal u jakkwistaw din iċ-ċittadinaza.

Li kieku l-Gvern aċċetta s-suggeriment li jneħħi s-segretezza, proposta li saret mill-Alternattiva Demokratika,  mill-Opposizzjoni, kif ukoll mis-soċjeta’ ċivili, argument qawwi kontra din l-iskema taċ-ċittadinanza kien ikun eliminat.

Il-konsegwenza tal-iskema kif approvata mill-Parlament hi li Malta tidher li biex iddaħħal il-flus hi lesta li tiddefendi l-interessi ta’ min ma jridx jikxef l-identita tiegħu.Issa dan kollu jmur kontra r-reputazzjoni li Malta kisbet tul is-snin bħala ċentru finanzjarju serju u ta’ min jafdah. Sfortunatament din ir-reputazzjoni tajba inevitabilment ser tittappan u dan minħabba li s-segretezza tal-iskema taċ-ċittadinanza inevitabilment ser tkun assoċjata mal-idea ta’ tax haven. Dan kollu jista’ jwassal għal impatt negattiv fuq is-servizzi finanzjarji li huma ibbażati f’Malta bħala riżultat ta’ din ir-reputazzjoni tajba. B’mod li dak li l-Gvern idaħħal mill-iskema tal-bejgħ taċ-ċittadinanza jintilef minn banda oħra.

Imbagħad hemm l-issue tal-prinċipji involuti. Fir-realta’ hawnhekk ingħataw messaġġi konfliġġenti. Għax fil-prinċipju hemm qbil maċ-ċittadinanza ekonomika. Id-differenza ta’ opinjoni hi dwar x’inhu meqjus bħala investiment aċċettabbli. Il-Gvern għażel mudell ta’ donazzjoni “żgħira” minn għand numru imdaqqas bħalma hu ipprattikat f’diversi pajjiżi fil-Karibew filwaqt li l-kontro-proposta hi l-mudell Awstrijak ta’ investiment sostanzjali.

Il-kuntrast bejn iż-żewġ mudelli hu li l-mudell li għażel il-Gvern iwassal għall-fondi direttament fil-kaxxa ta’ Malta li dwarhom ikun il-Gvern li jiddeċiedi kif ikunu investiti. Min-naħa l-oħra l-mudell Awstrijak idum iktar biex jagħti r-riżultati. Apparti dan dwar l-investimenti mill-mudell Awstrijak il-Gvern, ftit li xejn ikollu kontroll fuq kif jitħaddem.

Bħalissa l-istampa internazzjonali qed tirrapporta dak li Malta qed toffri għall-bejgħ passaport għall-Unjoni Ewropeja. Nistennew u naraw kif ser jiżviluppaw l-affarijiet u l-konsegwenzi.

L-issue kollha taċ-ċittadinanza hi deċiżjoni politika li ma naqbilx magħha għax hi ibbażata fuq konsiderazzjonijiet ta’ benefiċċju “short term”.  Fil-waqt li l-anqas dan l-impatt “short term” ma hu assigurat għad irridu naraw jekk l-impatt negattiv antiċipat fuq is-servizzi finanzjarji iseħhx. Filwaqt li nixtieq li dan ma jiġrix, issa hu ċar li għandna Gvern li jħares sal-pont ta’ imnieħru.

Il-logħob biċ-ċittadinanza ekonomika

Chess.01

Il-logħob biċ-ċittadinanza Maltija qed idejjaq lill-kulħadd.

Li jkun possibli li tingħata ċ-ċittadinanza lil min jagħti kontribut għall-iżvilupp ekonomiku tal-pajjiż hi proposta tajba. Jeħtieġ iżda li jkunu indirizzati żewġ diffikultajiet.

L-ewwel diffikulta’ hi dwar jekk il-kontribut għandux ikun ammont żgħir (relattivament) mingħand diversi persuni li miġbur flimkien jintuża mill-Gvern biex jiffinanzja inizzjattivi partikolari [x’inhuma għad irridu naraw].  Dan hu li jsir f’St Kitts u Nevis fil-Karibew permezz ta’ donazzjonijiet lill-Fondazzjoni dwar id-diversifikazzjoni tal-Industrija taz-Zokkor [Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation].

Min-naħa l-oħra fl-Awstrija l-impenn hu wieħed ta’ kontribut dirett tal-individwu fl-ekonomija mingħajr ma juża l-istat bħala intermedju.

L-għażla reali jiġifieri hi bejn min ikun diġa ta’ prova ta’ kontribut għall-iżvilupp ekonomiku tal-pajjiż u min jagħti kontribut ta’ €650,000 li wara jitħaddmu mill-Gvern flimkien mal-kontribut ta’ ħaddieħor.  Għalija l-ewwel triq, dik imħaddma mill-Awstrija hi iktar serja u marbuta mar-riżultati miksuba. It-tieni triq, dik ibbażata fuq il-prattika f’St Kitts u Nevis, hi dgħajfa u mhux neċessarjament li tagħti riżultat. Kullma tagħmel tagħti l-flus f’idejn il-Gvern li jista’ jħaddimhom tajjeb u jista’ jħaddimhom ħażin.

Mela d-differenza bejn iż-żewġ sistemi hi li waħda tagħti ċ-ċittadinanza ekonomika li min ikun diġa tak ir-riżultati u l-kontribut għal titjib ekonomiku filwaqt li oħra tippremja biċ-ċittadnaza ekonomika lil min jagħtik il-finanzi biex tipprova tieħu inizzjattivi. M’hemmx bżonn tkun għaref biex tikkonkludi li l-ewwel  sistema hi bil-bosta aħjar mit-tieni.

It-tieni diffikulta hu dik li tissejjaħ due diligence. Jiġifieri li tgħarbel lil min japplika biex tara jekk hux fl-interess tal-pajjiż li jingħata ċ-ċittadinanza. Il-proposta tal-Gvern hi li d-due diligence jagħmluha Henley and Partners (konsulenti tal-Gvern) li ser imexxu huma stess l-implimentazzjoni tal-iskema anke jekk id-deċiżjonijiet finali jeħodhom il-Gvern.  Ikun ferm aħjar li min imexxi l-iskema (u li ukoll ser imexxi l-quddiem applikazzjonijiet ta’ klijenti tiegħu stess) ma jkunx hu stess li jgħarbel l-applikanti.  Anke jekk ikunu persuni differenti fl-istess ditta.

Niftakru li anke l-Montenegro kellhom sistema simili ta’ ċittadinanza ekonomika li ġiet sospiża meta bdew id-diskussjonijiet għas-sħubija tal-Montenegro fl-Unjoni Ewropeja. Minkejja li waħda mill-kundizzjonijiet tal-iskema tal-Montenegro kienet li ċ-ċittadinanza ekonomika ma tingħatax li min imiss mal-kriminalita din xorta ingħatat lil Thaksin Shinawatra ex-Prim Ministru tat-Tajlandja li pajjiżu jridu jgħaddi proċeduri kriminali dwar korruzzjoni.

Dawn huma dawk li aħna f’Alternattiva Demokratika naraw bħala id-difetti tal-iskema proposta mill-Gvern. Pass żbaljat wieħed f’din l-iskema jista’ jħarbat ix-xogħol utli li sar fil-qasam tas-servizzi finanzjarji f’Malta tul is-snin. L-istess bħalma qed isir bil-paroli tal-Opposizzjoni li, meta tirritorna fil-Gvern tirtira ċ-ċittadinanza mogħtija taħt din l-iskema.  Id-dubju li hemm fuq il-validita’ kostituzzjonali ta’ dak li qed jgħid il-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni Simon Busuttil mhux ser ikun ta’ ġid għall-pajjiż.

Hemm ħafna sens komun nieqes f’dak li qed jgħidu kemm il-Gvern kif ukoll l-Opposizzjoni. L-atitudni tat-tnejn li huma qed tagħti messaġġ ħażin lil kull min qiegħed widnejh miftuħin biex jisma’.