The level of organised crime in Malta has decreased drastically, to the point that it is practically non-existent in Malta today, Prime Minister Robert Abela said this evening.
The Prime Minister was speaking during an interview on current affairs programme Xtra on TVM, where he stressed his government’s commitment to the fight against organised crime.
“What we are saying is that we are serious about fighting organised crime and we will continue to do so. We have taken action to fight criminality, especially the untouchables who got their strength, and whose sense of impunity goes back beyond 2013,” Abela said.
“I speak to lawyers and what they are saying at the moment is that organised crime has reduced drastically and is today almost non-existent.”
The Prime Minister also said he did not agree with what he claimed was the direction the Nationalist Party was taking on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“Bernard Grech wants us to end up in a situation where nobody else is found guilty of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. I can’t speak for the rest of the cabinet, but at the end of the day, we can’t have everyone linked to this crime walking free to achieve justice. That wouldn’t be justice at all,” Abela said.
He noted that Vince Muscat – one of the three men who carried out the murder – had been given a presidential pardon in another case and had pleaded guilty to the assassination in return for a reduced sentence.
This, he said, had resulted in another two individuals being charged over their role in supplying the bomb that killed the journalist.
Abela dismissed concerns about the health of the country’s institutions, insisting that they were in the best state they’ve been in in the last 20-30 years. “We want to be one of the best countries in the EU when it comes to good governance.”
The Prime Minister refused to dwell too much on the “mistakes” made by his predecessor Joseph Muscat, emphasising that he was now looking to the future. “We need to make a commitment to ourselves and say never again. And not just say it, but see that words are translated into actions.”
Asked whether one such lesson was that anyone involved in business shouldn’t be in politics, Abela responded by saying that he had chosen Clyde Carauana, and later Glenn Micallef, to be his head of secretariat, avoiding the term chief of staff.
“Politicians should do politics and businessmen should be business,” he said, adding however that he would not get behind the demonisation of the business community.
He sought to reassure business owners that the reforms being implemented with a view to the country avoiding grey-listing by the FATF, would not turn into a witch hunt against businesses
On the controversial Electrogas deal, which is believed to be the reason for the assassination of Caruana Galizia, Abela maintained that the project remained a good one. “If someone made mistakes then they need to be the ones to pay for those mistakes.”
Asked about what further action he would take on this case, Abela said he had taken all the political decisions there were for him to take by forcing both former minister Konrad Mizzi and former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri out of the Labour Party. He said it was now up to the authorities to take any legal action they deemed necessary.
What do you make of the Prime Minister’s remarks?