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Yesterday, MaltaToday’s James Debono published a story which carried a brilliant headline: ‘Enemalta in race against darkness to avert repeat summer outages‘.

In a nutshell, the story explains how Enemalta is frantically pleading with the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) to skip out on the Environmental Impact Assessment for a 60MW diesel-fueled emergency plant in Delimara. Enemalta is arguing that, since such an assessment may take months and the plant needs to be operational by the beginning of this summer to cater for surges in electricity demand, the assessment itself is unnecessary, especially when considering that the plant will only be used in emergencies.

Before you start thinking I accidentally uploaded the draft of a story that is completely unrelated to the headline, think about the link between the two – what does transnational organised crime have to do with something as specific as Enemalta’s evident failure to make timely arrangements over the years instead of frantic last-minute adjustments? Let’s consult the data library.

As you should know by now, our national power supply was effectively sold off to the Electrogas consortium, who, following a selection approach that was described as “inconsistent” by the National Audit Office (NAO), were officially announced as the preferred bidder for the power station contract on 10 October, 2013.

The same office also flagged other major issues, including (but not limited to) major contractual changes which were introduced after the tender process began and bidders had already been eliminated. This led to the transfer of a bulk of the revenue risk onto government, leading the NAO to repeatedly question the business rationale behind the government’s decision to make the deal less advantageous for the taxpayer.

There were also massive loan guarantees (running into hundreds of millions of euros) which were issued through the Bank of Valletta when Electrogas’ financial troubles had become evident and one of the companies in the consortium, Gasol plc, floundered.

This is all, of course, without mentioning the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry board’s key conclusion in relation to the power station deal, which was that Daphne was killed because of what she knew about Electrogas. The alleged mastermind behind her murder was one of the shareholders behind the consortium – Yorgen Fenech.

So, in other words, there was a major conspiracy to effectively defraud the Maltese taxpayer by siphoning hundreds of millions of euros into the power station deal to benefit both Fenech and his bosom buddies in government as well as the Labour government’s co-conspirators across the pond – Azerbaijan. In fact, the conspiracy was so major that a seasoned panel of judges who bore witness to over a hundred testimonies and pored over ungodly reams of documents concluded that it was the main reason why an investigative journalist was murdered.

This is where the link between transnational organised crime and Enemalta’s disastrous track record comes into play. Bear in mind that the real definition of transnational organised crime isn’t just gangsters blowing each other up in the streets, but the active deployment of a complex hierarchical structure with the intent to commit crimes on a much bigger scale. With such a definition, our government falls squarely in that category. There is an active decline in the quality and reliability of key public infrastructure because taxpayer money is not going towards valid societal needs. It is being used to facilitate corruption, which is exactly what the mafia needs to thrive.

In a country that is infested with organised crime, even something as relatively straightforward as building a power generation system that manages to successfully cater for the whole country becomes a ridiculous spectacle that makes you want to tear your hair out. Remember that the way the power station pitch was sold to the general public was as an antidote to Enemalta’s woes, as a way of bringing in private investors who would make the magic happen by throwing money at our energy supply and suddenly dropping consumer tariffs.

If this were a country that had a government which prioritises people’s needs, long-term planning, and investing the country’s money wisely so it can prosper, we wouldn’t be reading headlines about how the state’s sole energy authority is desperately asking the ERA to please waive a key requirement for a heavy fuel generator to be placed in Delimara (fabbrika tal-kanċer vibes, anyone?).

If that is not clear-cut to you, let’s use a different example and talk about one of the most recognisable industries which thrive in criminally-prone surroundings: drugs.

In December, I published a feature about an interview I carried out with a high-level drug trafficker who operates in Malta. One of the more concerning things the source shared with me was just how alarming the increase in the flow of drugs into the country is. He had explained how, while Malta generally serves as a transit hub for other destinations in Europe, container-loads of drugs are also increasingly making their way to the local market.

Inside the world of organised crime: an interview with a drug trafficker

It is not a coincidence that this increase occurred in parallel with an obvious surge in criminality in Malta. Mark Camilleri wrote two very interesting articles about what the drug trafficking world was like at the time when former police commissioner John Rizzo terrorised local gangs and what it became like after the Labour Party was elected in 2013 and began appointing its puppet replacements instead.

As Mark pointed out, organised crime on a transnational scale began flourishing in Malta after the police force was gutted, the attorney general’s seat was occupied by one incompetent prick after the other, and the judiciary was stuffed with as many Labour loyalists as could be fit in the court’s cramped halls. In turn, organised crime brings unfathomable amounts of dirty money that needs to be laundered clean, which is where the army of enablers come in.

In the case of this scandalous, ongoing affair between politics, crime, and big business, one feeds the other, inflating the problems caused by this whole enmeshment and further aggravating the decline of the rule of law, of basic public procurement processes, of the most fundamental building blocks of democracy.

It is high time we started talking about Malta the way it really is. It is a hub in which government, mafia, fraudsters, smugglers, and killers all coalesce into this sickening miasma that covers everything, corroding all it touches.

Anyone telling you otherwise is either blind or in on it.

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