It is on mornings like yesterday that I would assume Daphne Caruana Galizia’s readers must miss her most. Martin Scicluna’s regurgitation of Labour spin would have been promptly dissected and exposed in a way in which she alone was capable.

There is evidence of collusion between the government and firms like Henley & Partners to stop journalists from speaking out and to rewrite history by having media houses delete articles and amend content.

We also have to bear with current and former political appointees foisting their right to freedom of expression on us all: to discredit and diminish the work of European institutions, to tell us the democracies of Portugal, Cyprus and Romania are chalk to our cheese and that originating from one of those countries precludes an MEP from the ability to formulate opinions on democratic processes and the rule of law.

Scicluna argued in his piece that Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, are, if anything, technically guilty of deceiving the Maltese tax authorities.

It should be clear by now to any honest commentator well versed in this saga that this was never about tax. This is about corruption and money laundering.

Mizzi certainly does not have the income nor the assets based on which he can effectively evade tax through financial structures that cost €10,000 to set up and more to maintain.

MEPs from across political groups describe Schembri and Mizzi as crooks whenever they give an interview and formally recommended they be brought to justice in the Malta mission report. They say this openly, as do I, because the information we have demonstrates it.

It is a political conclusion, not a judicial one. It is because of the strength of the evidence on which this political conclusion is based that the fact they still hold public office leads to the inevitable assessment that something is very wrong.

The evidence in the Panama Papers and the FIAU reports is substantive, overwhelming and conclusive. Politically conclusive

Suggesting an absence of substantive evidence is beyond comprehension. The evidence is in the Panama Papers and the FIAU reports. It is substantive, overwhelming and conclusive. Politically conclusive.

This is not to say they should not be afforded the presumption of innocence in judicial proceedings. But confusing the two is dishonest and disingenuous. And it is the fact that a court has been, thus far, unable to proclaim itself on the matter that has MEPs, international organisations and journalists declare that the rule of law in Malta is being intentionally undermined.

Scicluna cannot be unaware of the consequences of corruption. As ex-chairman of the National Commission for Further and Higher Education, he was involved in licensing the land-grabbing ‘university’ exercise under way in the south.

I imagine it is common knowledge by now that this was nothing more than a taxpayer-funded property development business masquerading as an educational venture. The Jordanians do not even seem too bothered about maintaining that facade.

Former faculty members doubt it is actually a university. They are invariably booted out before they can confirm those suspicions and always before the lapse of their probation period.

A land-grab in the south might not affect everyone directly. But the train wreck that is the sale of the hospital concession to Vitals Global Healthcare does. This is treasonous. Millions of euros going into funding dodgy middlemen with no experience in healthcare. Their inexperience is amply demonstrated in their inability to get anything at all done.

The deal is insane. To the extent that I have no qualms stating clearly that if Mizzi and Schembri are not beneficiaries of the deal, they should be kept in an institution.

The consequence of the deal is inferior care. It is sick that Maltese people are prevented from getting the care they deserve and Maltese doctors are hindered from doing their job to the best of their abilities.

This is corruption too. It is not just skimming off the top. It is at its ugliest when it manifests itself in decisions not in the public interest but greedy personal gain – whatever gain – with no thought whatsoever to the consequences for everyone else.

These are actions tantamount to a betrayal of the electorate. And they are the actions that invariably gravely impact Malta’s reputation.

David Casa is a Nationalist MEP.

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