Prime Minister Robert Abela demanded Silvio Grixti’s immediate resignation from parliament following a police interrogation, just days after he allowed Education Minister Justyne Caruana to remain in Cabinet despite being under criminal investigation.
Well-informed sources told Lovin Malta that Abela ordered Grixti to step away from parliament altogether amid the investigation, denying him a luxury afforded to some of his closest allies, like Caruana, Rosianne Cutajar, and Minister Carmelo Abela.
Grixti has been forced to step away from parliament after he was released on police bail amid accusations that he fraudulently signed sick notes and other documents.
Lovin Malta is informed that Grixti accepted the request, choosing to step away from parliament rather than mimicking Konrad Mizzi, who remains an ‘independent’ MP despite his public support for the Labour Party.
Unlike Caruana, Cutajar, and Carmelo Abela, Grixti is a lesser-known backbencher and is one of the few government MPs who did not form part of Prime Minister Robert Abela’s cabinet.
And while Abela’s efficient action should be praised, questions will be asked as to how others have escaped punishment.
Just a few hours earlier, it was revealed that Ian Castaldi Paris, a PL MP, has to pay tax authorities some €300,000 over unpaid dues. No action has been taken against Castaldi Paris.
Then there’s Justyne Caruana, who is the Minister overseeing Malta’s struggling education sector that was recently put under criminal investigation for dishing out a handsome €5,900 a month direct order to her partner, former footballer Daniel Bogdanovic, for work he never actually conducted.
Caruana had only just been reinstated to Abela’s Cabinet a few weeks prior, months after being forced to resign over her estranged husband, Silvio Valletta’s links to Yorgen Fenech and the Daphne Caruana Galizia investigation.
Meanwhile, Rosianne Cutajar was ousted from Cabinet amid allegations that she pocketed thousands from a Yorgen Fenech-linked property deal. She has admitted that she accepted a €9,000 gift from Fenech but denies all wrongdoing.
Cutajar was removed from Cabinet but remains a PL MP.
Carmelo Abela, a Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, has also had to face unsavoury allegations, however, in his case, it’s coming from major criminals themselves. Vince Muscat, George Degiorgio, and Alfred Degiorgio have reportedly named Abela as being involved in major crimes, notably a failed HSBC heist.
Still, no action has been taken.
Edward Zammit Lewis, Malta’s Justice Minister, has also been spared, despite his unsavoury links to Yorgen Fenech, just as he gears up to lead reforms brought on by his arrest.
Sources have claimed that Abela’s harsh action against Grixti was a means to deflect from the aforementioned scandals, with the Prime Minister reluctant to act against those closest to him or major vote-getters ahead of a general election.
It should be noted that this is not just a government issue. Stephen Spiteri, the PN spokesperson for Health, has faced similar allegations but has been spared thanks to major delays in the Medical Council.
It remains to be seen whether Abela will apply the same strong man approach to other MPs who desperately need it.
What do you think of Abela’s action?