Story protagonists - Alex Muscat

Story protagonists - Alex Muscat

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The story of a man asking his friend what to do when he gets caught cheating on his girlfriend is depicted in the breakthrough single of Jamaican-American artist Shaggy back in 2000. In the high-charting song, the friend’s advice was to deny, despite clear evidence, with the phrase: “It wasn’t me.”

A certain resemblance can be seen today, 18 years later. This time, not in the lyrics of a song, but at the heart of the local political scene. The protagonists who cleverly engineered a malicious calumny and who were so keen to blatantly accuse the Prime Minister and his family of owning an offshore company, and earning millions through it, are now, quite incredibly, all trying to claim “it wasn’t me”.

Listening to the main actors of this political frame-up distancing themselves from it all is comic, if not tragic. The same individuals who screamed out this serious allegation as a statement of fact now try to give the impression that it had never been mentioned, as if nobody had ever come up with it.

Surreal, to say the least.

My message is clear. Faced by the unequivocal result of the magisterial inquiry, which clearly concluded that the Egrant allegation was a fabricated lie based on falsified documents, trying to disassociate yourselves will just not work.

Let’s start with the former Opposition leader, Simon Busuttil. After leading a whole campaign trying to make everyone believe that Egrant was owned by the Prime Minister’s spouse, he now claims that he was simply commenting about an allegation made by a journalist.

Well, if that were true, Busuttil should have checked the veracity of the story before taking people to the streets and insisting that Joseph and Michelle Muscat should be put behind bars.

In spreading this calumny in his quest for power, Busuttil was flanked by his best buddies Beppe Fenech Adami, David Casa and Jason Azzopardi. The latter, together with his colleague, Karol Aquilina, has now even attacked the judiciary by declaring that the Egrant inquiry should be sent back to the magistrate for investigations to commence once again.

The present leader of the Opposition, too, has his own responsibilities. Hours after the publication of the magistrate’s conclusions, Adrian Delia asked for Busuttil’s suspension from the Nationalist parliamentary group for having built an electoral campaign on a blatant lie. But, just days later, Delia succumbed to internal pressure and allowed his predecessor to get away with it. Delia had made the Egrant calumny his own.

Then, there is Pierre Portelli, today Delia’s right-hand man. He was the content director of a daily newspaper that fully endorsed the fabricated lie and went to the lengths of publishing so-called proof, coincidentally just minutes before a national TV debate on Egrant between the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader.

Whenever the same old members of the Nationalist Party throw mud, in the future, people will read through them

Portelli, who happens to be the former president of PN’s administrative council, also boasted he had seen with his own eyes documents which proved that Egrant belonged to the Muscat family. But now he is trying to convince us it wasn’t him. He now says he “never stood by Egrant documents” and was simply being a journalist. With due respect, a journalist is there to report sacred facts and inform the public with real news.

The moment you receive so-called evidence which had already been categorically denied and you’re off running to the magistrate and addressing the media in front of the courts, then you have become a protagonist of the story.

There’s also the Russian bank employee Maria Efimova (in no way, a whistleblower) and former police inspector Jonathan Ferris. They were at the forefront of spreading false insinuations and labelling people ‘corrupt’. But you know what? It wasn’t them either. Ferris now tries to picture himself as the victim of Efimova’s lies while Efimova says Ferris cannot get any lower and calls him a crook’s doormat.

Last but not least, is the late blogger who had originally published the calumny, which was used by the PN. Following the conclusion of the inquiry, in which the blogger was also presented as a witness, the Caruana Galizia family, despite commenting publicly, did not contest that the declarations of trust, presented as evidence, were forged.  So they practically accepted the conclusion that someone had actually falsified the documents used by the blogger. But, I guess, it wasn’t them either.

I have listed the masterminds who came up with the calumny for power and, together with their fellow planners, maliciously orchestrated it. Faced by their “it wasn’t me”, the usual PN apologists have expressed surprise about “possible proceedings against individuals behind Egrant allegations”.

The same people, who claim to believe in the rule of law, are now preaching that if it is decided to take legal action against some of these individuals, it would constitute a frame-up.

So, if I’m understanding well, those who believe they are children of a better god think they can just keep dumping allegations without having the slightest bit of factual proof. Do they think they have some divine right to destroy families by spreading stories which are nothing but false?

Unfortunately, for those of such superiority this cannot be the case any longer. Gone must be the day where a small group of elitists, unhappy with the people’s democratic decision on which party should govern this country, think they can resort to baseless allegations to destabilise the country and endanger jobs.

Justice must prevail because nobody is above the law. Bumbling, or trying their luck with “it wasn’t me”, is not good enough. They were very good at talking in the past, now they should be very good at answering for their irresponsible actions.

The Egrant inquiry has surely left one very positive impact. Whenever the same old members of the Nationalist Party throw mud, in the future, people will read through them. We will all know that allegations are coming from people who had been ready to rest upon falsified documents.

For power, they would do absolutely anything.

Alex Muscat is a Labour Party MP.

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