Loyalty and integrity

“Without a fundamental commitment to the truth – especially in our public institutions and those who lead them – we are lost. As a legal principle, if people don’t tell the truth, our justice system cannot function and a society based on the rule of law begins to dissolve.”

This was written by James Comey in 2018 in his book A Higher Loyalty. Truth, Lies and Leadership.

Comey, was fired as FBI director by Donald Trump. At a bizarre dinner at the White House, Trump had demanded Comey’s personal loyalty, putting aside his duties as FBI Director. Trump pressured Comey to let go of Michael Flynn – his National Security Advisor for 22 days – then under investigation by the FBI. Comey reflects on Trump’s demands for personal loyalty and emphasises that there is a higher loyalty in all of our lives “………….. not to a person, not to a party not to a group. The higher loyalty is to lasting values, most important the truth.”

All this came to mind when reading through Ivan Martin’s encounter with Yorgen Fenech’s lawyer earlier this week. Unfortunately, some know the price of everything but they do not have an inkling on the value of anything.

When the chips are down, our true values emerge. If the real values have been carefully camouflaged, the impact when they emerge in such circumstances may be shocking. What has been carefully hidden from view, all of a sudden emerges in full public view.

Offering money to an investigative journalist to “remunerate him for his services” has switched on many red lights. The attempt at bribing the journalist is bad enough. It also raises the inevitable suspicions that bundles of €500 notes could also possibly be used to influence the judicial process. Only time will tell whether the possible becomes a probable.  Most of us would remember when, in 2002, the then Chief Justice together with another Judge, were bribed to reduce a prison sentence at appeal stage. The then accused who directed the bribery of the judiciary had insignificant wealth when compared to today’s accused.

We must be vigilant. It has happened and it can happen once more.

There is a common thread running through most of the bits of information forming the developing jigsaw puzzle linking all those mentioned in the Caruana Galizia assassination: money and loads of it. It is becoming clearer that Daphne Caruana Galizia’s investigation of the corrupt power station contracts is what led to her assassination. Tainted money was used to purchase access to influence and people that matter. The indications arising are too numerous to be ignored. This is nothing new, however, in the present scenario it is of the utmost significance.

Kudos to Ivan Martin who had the presence of mind not to accept a wad of €500 banknotes. His loyalty to his values as an investigative journalist was automatic. He did not pause to consider whether it was worth sticking his neck out. All of us should be proud of him.

Ivan’s integrity will be remembered for many years to come. His loyalty to his values will undoubtedly reinforce Maltese journalism in these testing times.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 8 November 2020

Daqqa ta’ ħarta oħra

whisky on the rocks

L-aġir tal-Maġistrat Carol Peralta nhar il-Ħamis hu daqqa ta’ ħarta oħra għall-Qrati. Huwa ta’ sfortuna kbira li l-ħidma ġenwina ta’ ħafna biex il-Qrati jiksbu kura l-fiduċja tan-nies issib persuna bħal Peralta li għal darba oħra jwaqqa’ l-Qrati għaż-żuffjett.

Mhux l-unika wieħed tul is-snin li bl-imġeba tiegħu kisser ix-xogħol tajjeb li għamlu bosta.

Imma bħal dejjem il-party ta’ Peralta li ser jibqgħu jiftakru in-nies.

Il-ġurnalist tat-Times Ivan Martin li mar jinvestiga u għamel xogħolu għamel sewwa. Imma l-Maġistrat sfortunatament jidhirlu li mhux biss hu il-fuq mill-Liġi imma li m’għandux ikun soġġett għall-iskrutinju pubbliku.

Ġaladraba l-Magistrat Peralta jidhirlu li mexa sewwa u bl-iktar mod arroganti ser jibqa’ għaddej ma nafx x’inhu jistenna l-Prim Ministru biex iressaq mozzjoni fil-Parlament ħalli Peralta jitneħħa minn Maġistrat immedjatament.

Il-Qrati  tagħna jixirqilhom aħjar.