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I have to admit that watching Labour Party insiders chew each other up on a Sunday evening wasn’t on my schedule today, but since providence has seen fit to bestow the gift of this moment upon us all, I shall bring due attention to it.

Newsbook has the developing story. Given the importance of the case, I am reproducing their staff reporter’s article (there was no byline) in full below. My commentary follows afterwards:


Suspect seeking whistleblower status questions minister Falzon on who ordered reconsiderations

‘A suspect who is seeking whistleblower status in connection with the widespread benefits fraud racket that saw hundreds of individuals falsely claiming severe disability assistance (SDA) using forged medical certificates has questioned social policy minister Michael Falzon who ordered illegal reconsiderations of decisions made by the medical board.

Roger Agius, together with former Labour backbencher Silvio Grixti, Emmanuel Spagnol, Dustin Caruana, and Luke Saliba, are accused of fraud and organised crime, defrauding the Department of Social Security of an amount in excess of €5,000, forging official documents that entitle holders to payment and knowingly making use of such documents.

The men were charged with forging public documents and knowingly making use of them, making a false declaration to the public authorities and possession of items intended to be used for fraudulent purposes, as well as a separate charge of money laundering.

Dustin Caruana and Emanuel Spagnol, are also be charged with breaching bail conditions.

They are pleading not guilty to the charges.

On Saturday, Agius took to Facebook and wrote: “Minister Michael Falzon, I’m going to ask you two simple questions. Who ordered the reconsideration of failed disability applications illegally? How were they approved by a department which falls within your responsibility in breach of the law?”

Agius, who is seeking whistleblower status to tell all about the racket, is a former canvasser of Grixti and junior minister Andy Ellul. He also served as Ellul’s drivers.

During a sitting held last week, defence lawyer Jason Azzopardi, who is appearing for Agius, hinted that a person of trust at the social policy ministry used to order reconsideration of failed applications for severe disability benefits even though normal procedure did not allow a right of appeal.

The claim was made during the cross-examination of the ministry’s director general, Grazio Barbara.

Barbara, who was visibly uncomfortable, admitted when asked directly by presiding magistrate Rachel Montebello, that there had been reconsiderations, but said this was not a matter within his remit.

When Azzopardi asked the witness whether he knew that Mark Calleja known as ‘Gulija’ ordered such reconsideration, the witness replied that he did not.

Azzopardi went on to say that Calleja would get a screenshot photo of people who failed the medical board the day before and would order a reconsideration, however, the witness insisted that he was not aware.

Ministry invites Agius to go to the police reached out to the social policy ministry and asked what are the minister’s replies to Agius’ questions.

A spokesperson for the minister “welcomed” the questions and said that: “If Mr Agius knows of individuals that broke the law, I invite him to go to the Police Commissioner and not spend his time writing on Facebook.”

“The department is always ready to cooperate [with the police]” the spokesperson said.

Agius declares lack of faith in police

Agius responded to Falzon’s suggestion on social media, arguing that his past dealings with the police had proven them to be untrustworthy.

He said that when he told officers from the Financial Crimes Investigation Department that “a big chief in this country” was an accomplice to fraud, the very next day this person confirmed he knew exactly what he had told police.

“I have evidence of this, and when I recount this in court I invite the minister to listen with his very ears,” he said.

Agius added that he has long insisted with the FCID that he wished to give evidence to a magistrate under oath. His lawyer, he said, has been making such a request for months, but the FCID has failed to reply.

He also said that he had told the FCID that he was ready to accompany them to a public building in Valletta – the building was not specified – where there would be evidence that the police had not yet found.

But the inspector refused to accompany Agius and his lawyer to this building, dismissing this request as “theatrics.”


It really is incredible to witness the Labour Party’s remarkable ability to remain shameless in the face of scandal, as if there is no laundry that is dirty enough which could warrant some form of embarrassment if it were to be aired out in public. No matter how many times I see them do so, I find myself aghast, unable to look away. It’s like the polar opposite of what you feel when you look into your loved one’s eyes and can’t believe your luck.

Let’s examine the context of the government spokesperson’s response for a brief minute (second quote marked in bold red above).

The tone of the response carries the kind of disdain one would get from a disgruntled employee who is answering a phone call on an off day. Given that this is the minister’s spokesperson, one can reasonably assume that this wasn’t an off the cuff response from the spokesperson but something that comes straight from the horse’s mouth.

So, what we have here is a Cabinet minister who has been hogging a seat in Parliament since 2008, previously served as parliamentary secretary for planning and simplification of administrative processes (and was forced to step down after simplifying Gaffarena’s administrative processes a bit too much), and has been occupying the social policy ministry since 2017, responding to serious questions about a massive racket with the spoken equivalent of one, extensive shrug.

Falzon is a typical vestige of Labour’s old guard, which in my imagination is best exemplified through that thankfully expired fossil George Vella. Shorn of eloquence, taste, the grace to admit you are wrong and that others may know far better than you do, and the ability to think outside of the mentality of a political party that morphed into a criminal organisation. The response he gave to Newsbook is very much in character.

True to the template described above, Falzon may as well be telling the suspect claiming whistleblower protection to blow a raspberry instead. Telling a whistleblower who is facing accusations of involvement in organised crime and fraud to go to the police commissioner is just one of the Labour Party’s tired cliche responses, a response that fools just about nobody given that everyone and their mother knows Angelo Gafa’ will do fuck all about it. Remember when he’d pledged he would not hold back from investigating people in power? Well, now we know that simply wasn’t true then, and that it certainly isn’t true now.

When former Infrastructure Malta CEO Frederick Azzopardi popped up on the European Public Prosecutors’ Office radar in relation to “reasonable suspicions” of money laundering and EU finances fraud and bribery charges, he denied the allegations and further stated that he had not been informed “of any ongoing investigation or other similar actions”, that he had “never been questioned about them by any authority or other entity” and that he welcomed “any investigations” and pledged his cooperation.

When the Nationalist Party alleged that there is widespread match-fixing in Maltese football, education minister Clifton Grima said that the opposition “should report everything (they may know) to the police”.

If you need any further reminders that Gafa’ is trusted by no one except for the crooks he is protecting, look askance at this pearl of wisdom from this shit-show of an interview between disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat and his favourite handbag, Emanuel Cuschieri. In an attempt to sow distrust in the inquiring magistrate who is investigating his crimes, Muscat referred to a call issued by the Nationalist Party for Gafa’ to investigate the now-rescinded hospitals concession deal which Muscat himself oversaw:

“The PN is right. I want the police commissioner to investigate, and I have total trust in him… from what I understand, the commissioner himself wants to investigate. The question is: who isn’t letting him investigate,” the former PL prime minister asked Emanuel Cuschieri on Smash TV.

Besides the tacit admission that he is somehow familiar with the police commissioner’s deliberations on the matter, the subtext to Muscat’s little interview with his fanboy back in November of last year was clear: Gafa’ is one of ours, that is why I trust him.

And yet, in spite of the suffocating embrace of the mafia state, the rackets are falling apart and the runners are turning on their former masters. While the horrified awe at Labour’s refusal to ever admit wrongdoing remains perennial, it is increasingly accompanied by a side of hopeful glee at the internal turmoil the party faces.

When the knife fight becomes this bloody, hardly a man is ever left standing.

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