Sakemm għandkom il-flus fil-but ………………

Keith has my trust.010516God Bless Joseph Muscat

Fil-mass meeting ta’ Kastilja l-bieraħ Joseph Muscat sab il-ħin jitkellem fuq kollox ħlief fuq l-iskandlu tal-kumpaniji tal-Panama.

Mhux ser ngħid li għamel ħażin li tkellem fuq ix-xogħol u l-ekonomija. Jew fuq fejn wasal s’issa l-Gvern u x’baqa’ jagħmel, b’mod partikolari dwar il-prekarjat. Kien il-mument opportun li jitkellem dwar dan. Imma l-messaġġ kien wieħed ċar u li jmur lil hinn mill-ekonomija w x-xogħol: sakemm għandkom il-flus fil-but dawn l-iskandli m’huma xejn.

Għalhekk żied jgħid li hu u sħabu ser ipattu għall-iżbalji billi jaħdmu iktar.

Issa sfortunatament, dawn l-iżbalji qed jiżdiedu u huma wieħed agħar mill-ieħor (Cafè Premier, Gaffarena, Panama). Interessanti ukoll li dawn l-iżbalji kbar, f’kull wieħed minnhom hemm imdeffes l-Uffiċċju tal-Prim Ministru.

Tajjeb li niftakru x’qal Michael Falzon Segretarju Parlamentari li spiċċa mill-kariga minħabba wieħed minn dawn l-iskandli: li hu kien qed jerfa’ s-salib ta’ ħaddieħor.

 

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Id-dnubiet tal-abbatini

ann fenech

Ħelwa din Ann Fenech tiddeskrivi l-iżbalji tal-PN fil-Gvern qieshom “dnubiet tal-abbatini” ħdejn dak li qed isir illum.

L-istejjer tal-lum huma gravi. Anzi gravi ħafna. Mhux biss dawk dwar il-kumpaniji fil-Panama ta’ Konrad u Keith tal-Kasco. Gravi ħafna ukoll l-istejjer dwar il-biċċa esproprijazzjoni ta’ Triq iz-Zekka l-Belt Valletta u anke l-kaz tal-Cafè Premier.

Huma gravi ħafna minkejja li sa issa għad m’hemmx provi ta’ korruzzjoni.

Mhux bħall-kaz tas-Segretarju Privat ta’ Tonio Fenech li quddiem il-Qorti tal-Maġistrati ammetta akkużi ta’ korruzzjoni u weħel sentenza ta’ tlett snin ħabs sospiza. Dakinnhar kien hemm min ikkummenta li dan l-ex-Segretarju Privat kien refa’ ħafna iktar milli messu. Tonio Fenech dakinnhar kien qal li hu ma kellux x’jaqsam u ma kien jaf xejn.

Imbagħad tiġi Ann Fenech tipprova ddaħħaq bid-dnubiet tal-abbatini.

Political responsibility

 

Mallia inquiry

Good governance is clearly going to the dogs. It is not just a case of matters that could have been handled better, as Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stated in the aftermath of the Cafè Premier scandal.

In February 2015 the National Audit Office had underlined notable shortcomings in terms of governance with respect to Joseph Muscat’s government’s failure to involve the Government Property Division in the negotiations to re-acquire Cafè Premier in Valletta.

The purpose of holding inquires, irrespective of their format, is not just to identify those responsible for shortcomings relative to matters under investigation. High on the list of objectives of inquires is the identification and subsequent doing away with administrative practices which are liable to be abused.

The Manwel Mallia inquiry, which was commissioned by the Prime Minister in terms of the Inquires Act, was handled by three former judges and focused on the behaviour of the then Honourable Minister Manwel Mallia. It is pertinent to point out that in their report dated 8 December 2014, the three judges had emphasised that Manwel Mallia had to shoulder ministerial or political responsibility in respect of the behaviour of those persons who he had nominated to a position of trust. Tongue-in-cheek, the panel of judges carrying out the Mallia inquiry had commented that Maltese politicians, when in Opposition, emphasise the need to shoulder political responsibility only to forget all about it when they make it to government.

In fact, in view of the conclusions of that inquiry, former Minister Manwel Mallia, in defiance of the basic rules of good governance, refused to resign from office and was subsequently fired by the Prime Minister – who had no other option at his disposal.

The current Gaffarena scandal may lead to similar considerations. Two politicians are under the spotlight: Joseph Muscat, who, in addition to being Prime Minister is also Minister for Lands, and Michael Falzon, who is the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Lands. Both have to shoulder political responsibility for the operation of the Government Property Division for which they are jointly politically responsible. Twenty seven months into Labour’s mandate it is not justifiable that they shift the blame onto their predecessors. Labour in government has had sufficient time to carry out basic operational changes, if they considered that these were necessary.

Two inquires are under way. One has been requested by the Opposition and is being carried out by the National Audit Office. The other has been requested by the government and is being carried out by the Internal Audit and Investigation Department.

The two inquires will necessarily overlap but, due to differing terms of reference they should be complimenting each other.

There are too many coincidences in this latest Gaffarena scandal and consequently various issues need to be explained. The Government Property Division seems to have preferred Marco Gaffarena, giving him time to purchase a second portion of the Valletta property before expropriating it, when it could have easily expropriated it directly from the then owners! Likewise, it is clear that someone took the decision to pay Marco Gaffarena partly in kind, by allowing him to select amongst government property that land which suited him most. Who took this decision?  The civil service does not normally take such decisions. This particular decision, in my view, has political fingerprints.

The values attributed to both the expropriated property and to the government properties used to facilitate payment have raised eyebrows. Detailed explanation is required to establish whether there is some computational error or whether there is some other explanation.

Throughout the past week, the press has pointed at a particular member of the private secretariat of Parliamentary Secretary Michael Falzon who, too often, was observed accompanying Marco Gaffarena at the Government Property Division. This person, appointed in a position of trust by the Honourable Michael Falzon, did not reply to questions from the press intended to clarify whether – and to what extent – he opened doors for Gaffarena. In particular, the queries sought to clarify whether he facilitated the pick and choose land deal between the Government Property Division and Marco Gaffarena.

The conclusions of the two investigations should undoubtedly shed light on the decisions taken, as well as on those who facilitated them. The fact that this is the second case concerning the Government Property Division being investigated by the National Audit Office in the space of a few months should ring the alarm bells because, essentially, it signifies that no lessons were learnt from the Cafè Premier debacle.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 14 June 2015

Il-Cafè Premier u l-Lottu

Cafè Premier 2

Qed jgħidulna li l-Gvern kien trasparenti ħafna fil-każ tal-Cafè Premier. Il-Gvern, qalilna l-Prim Ministru, għadda lill-Awditur Ġenerali l-informazzjoni kollha, bla ma ħalla xejn barra.

Ir-rapport tal-Uffċċju Nazzjonali tal-Verifika jgħid li Mario Camilleri ta’ Cities Entertainment Limited kien diġa offra l-Cafè Premier lill-Gvern preċedenti, li ma kienx interessat. Jgħidilna ukoll li wara l-elezzjoni ġenerali ta’ Marzu 2013 kien talab laqgħa mal-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat. Din il-laqgħa saret nhar is-17 t’April 2013 meta Mario Camilleri ġedded l-offerta lill-Gvern biex jieħu lura l- Cafè Premier. Sussegwentement bdew in-negozjati.

Meta l-Gvern preċedenti informa lil Mario Camilleri li ma kienx interessat illi jakkwista l-Cafè Premier ikun interessanti ħafna x’għamel Camilleri meta kien infurmat bil-posizzjoni tal-Gvern. Ikun interessanti ħafna jekk Camilleri ippruvax jiskopri x’kien jaħseb il-Partit Laburista fl-Opposizzjoni dwar dan.

S’issa aħna infurmati li Camilleri iltaqa’ darbtejn ma Joseph Muscat meta kien għadu Kap tal-Opposizzjoni. Miegħu tkellem dwar is-shareholding li Camilleri kellu fil-kumpanija li għandha l-liċenzja tal-Lottu f’pajjiżna. It-Times online il-bieraħ , fil-fatt qaltilna hekk : “Admitting that he had met Mario Camilleri – one of the owners of Cafè Premier twice before the election, he said that the financial position of the establishment was never mentioned. Instead he said that Mr Camilleri’s shareholding in lotto was discussed.”

Mario Camilleri kien inkwetat u skond Joseph Muscat iddiskuta miegħu x’kien jaħseb il-Partit Laburista dwar it-tiġdid tal-liċenzja tal-Lottu.

Mill-informazzjoni li ngħatajna s’issa, minkejja li l-Gvern preċedenti ma kienx interessat illi jixtri lura l-Cafè Premier, Mario Camilleri ma jidhirx li kien inkwetat. Għaliex fuq l-agenda bejn Muscat u Camilleri filwaqt li kien hemm il-Lottu, ma kienx hemm il-Cafè Premier.

Ma nafx jien, imma daqsxejn diffiċli biex titwemmen din.  Naħseb li hemm hemm ħafna iktar li għadna ma nafux!

Il-kobba tidher li hi imħabbla sewwa!

Il-Cafè Premier: min jgħaġġel u min ikaxkar saqajh

NAO.Premier

 

Meta tifli sewwa r-rapport tal-Uffiċċju Nazzjonali tal-Verifika dwar il-Cafè Premier joħorġu ċari numru ta’ punti.

Joseph Muscat, issa qed jaċċetta li għaġġel. “Muscat admits Government rushed on €4.2 million Cafè Premier deal” tgħidilna l-Malta Today online tal-bieraħ il-Ħadd 1 ta’ Marzu. Il-mistoqsija li teħtieġ tweġiba hi għaliex għaġġel? Min jew x’kellu jiġri warajh?

Huwa minħabba li ried jgħaġġel illi żamm kontroll fuq it-taħditiet taħt l-uffiċċju tiegħu? Għaliex fl-iktar żmien kruċjali tat-taħditiet ma involviex lid-Dipartiment li jieħu ħsieb l-amministrazzjoni tal-propjetà tal-Gvern? Dan il-fatt waħdu huwa sinifikanti u jagħti indikazzjoni li d-deċiżjoni, tal-inqas fil-prinċipju, kienet ilha lesta ferm qabel il-bidu t’April 2013 meta bdew id-diskussjonijiet madwar 4 ġimgħat wara li nbidel il-Gvern.

Ir-rapport tal-Uffiċċju Nazzjonali tal-Verifika jgħidilna li qabel ma bdew id-diskussjonijiet ma’ Joseph Muscat, Mario Camilleri ta’ Cities Entertainment Limited kien qed jiddiskuti ma’ negozjant ieħor li ukoll kien offrielu €4.2 miljuni. Imma ma ftehmux għax Mario Camilleri dehrlu li Cities Entertainment Limited kien ħaqqha iktar. Fil-fatt huwa kien talab €5.37 miljuni. Mit-Times tas-Sibt sirna nafu illi l-offerta kienet saret mingħand Anġlu Xuereb li ma kienx lest li joffri iktar minn €4.2 miljuni .

Jekk il-problema setgħet issolviet bl-involviment tas-settur privat, il-mistoqsija li toħroġ waħedha hi għaliex intużaw €4.2 miljuni mit-taxxi? Din it-tweġiba ma jista’ jagħtiha ħadd ħlief il-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat.

Jista’ jkun hemm min jgħid li dan sar biex titneħħa kċina minn taħt il-Biblioteka u b’hekk jitneħħa sors ta’ periklu kbir taħt teżor nazzjonali. Min jgħid hekk forsi ma jafx li l-kuntratt oriġinali ma Cities Entertainment Limited iffirmat fl-1998 kien jipprojibixxi li jintużaw ċilindri tal-gass fuq is-sit. Forsi l-anqas ma jaf li kċina fis-sit li taħdem bl-elettriku hi ta’ periklu ferm inqas mid-diversi ħwienet tal-ħwejjeġ li hemm taħt il-Biblioteka u li b’short circuit fis-sistema tal-elettriku huma ukoll sors kontinwu ta’ periklu daqs jekk mhux iżjed minn kċina li taħdem bl-elettriku.  Għax b’short circuit fis-sistema tal-elettriku il-ħwejjeġ jaqbdu ferm iktar malajr mill-affarijiet li normalment insibu fi kċina! U in-nar li jirriżulta jinfirex iktar malajr.

It-Taqsima tal-Propjetà tal-Gvern, kif inhu ddokumentat fir-rapport tal-Uffiċċju Nazzjonali tal-Verifika, damet ftit ittella’ u tniżżel sakemm fl-aħħar iddeċidiet li tibda proċeduri fil-Qorti biex ikun xolt il-kuntratt. Fl-2004 kien diġa beda jberraq. Fl-4 t’April 2006 ġiet ippreżentata ittra uffiċjali biex titħallas il-kera li kienet b’lura. Wara ħafna tiġbid u xi pagamenti  s-sitwazzjoni irranġat għal ftit, sakemm nhar il-5 ta’ Mejju 2009 reġgħet ġiet ippreżentata ittra uffiċjali oħra dwar il-kera li kienet għad ma tħallsitx. Wara dan baqgħu daqqa jifthemu u wara ftit jerġgħu jaqgħu lura fil-ħlas. Sakemm fl-2012 ittieħdu passi legali mill-Gvern.

Kien ikun ħafna iktar għaqli kieku għaxar snin ilu ittieħdu l-passi biex ikun xolt il-kuntratt. Kieku sal-lum bla dubju l-Cafè Premier ilu li ġie f’idejn il-Gvern mingħajr ma tħallas ċenteżmu wieħed mit-taxxi tagħna.

Għalhekk hi ġustifikata l-konklużjoni tal-Awditur Ġenerali li ma ġewx esplorati biżżejjed possibilitajiet oħra li setgħu solvew il-problema.

Bla dubju għal dan kollu għandu responsabbilta’ kbira Joseph Muscat li kif ammetta illum, għaġġel. Imma għandu responsabbiltà ukoll Jason Azzopardi li sad-9 ta’ Marzu 2013 bħala Ministru kellu responsabbilta politika għat-Taqsima tal-Propjeta tal-Gvern li kaxkret saqajha biex tieħu l-passi li kienu neċessarji.

Wieħed għaġġel u l-ieħor ikaxkar saqajh.