Repubblika, the non-government organization, released its exhaustive 750-page tome, Pilatus: A laundromat bank in Europe. The NGO continues to call for attention to be paid to the saga of the shuttering of one of Malta’s banks roughly five years ago. However, the concern is that in its pursuit of long-gone specters, Repubblika is exhibiting an utter disregard for the present-day issues confronting ordinary citizens.
In mid-April, Repubblika made headlines with the release of their 750-page book, Pilatus: A Laundromat Bank in Europe. The NGO’s president, Robert Aquilina, claims the book provides “undeniable proof” of organized crime in Malta. While the release was intended to bring attention to corruption in the country, the impact may be counterproductive for the Maltese public.
The sheer volume of the book begs the question of its intended audience. In a world where social media reigns supreme and attention spans are short, a 750-page tome seems like a cruel joke. People are hungry for the truth, but they don’t have the time or patience to sift through hundreds of pages of dry, formal documents and emails.
More importantly, why can’t Repubblika move on from the past? The Pilatus Bank scandal occurred five years ago, and it’s time to turn the page and address the issues facing Malta today. By obsessing over the past, the NGO is diverting attention away from real problems and serving its own interests instead of those of the public.
Repubblika ignores dubious transactions of government representatives
The mysterious wealth of Christian Borg should be catching the attention of Repubblika as his tax returns hardly align with his lavish lifestyle replete with extravagant properties and high-end cars. In addition, occasional photos showcasing exotic animals only add to the image of his affluence.
The Times of Malta has reported that Christian Borg’s purchases are not typically made using his own bank account or loans. In addition, it has come to light that Borg made several payments totaling €100,000 to Robert Abela and his wife, Lydia Abela, between 2018-2019. With such dubious financial transactions, questions are being raised about the connection between Borg and the Abela family and the need for further investigation.
Despite these developments, Repubblika has not shown interest in investigating the government representatives’ transactions with the potential money launderer. Instead, the NGO continues to focus on the Pilatus case’s aftermath. Is this likely due to concerns among NGO members regarding the risk of kidnapping and bodily harm?
The delayed inquiry into the construction site tragedy in Malta
Another hot topic for Malta’s economy and justice is the endless construction sites across the country. Local authorities ignored mismanagement and safety violations on construction sites, resulting in a tragic incident with fatal consequences.
On December 3rd, 2022, 20-year-old Jean Paul Sofia died in a construction building collapse at the Corradino Industrial Estate. It took rescuers nearly 14 hours to find his remains buried beneath the rubble. Sofia’s family has been left devastated and seeking justice in both the courts and parliament.
A public inquiry into the matter would not only help improve safety standards in the construction industry, but also prevent future tragedies. Such an inquiry, conducted under the Inquiries Act, would investigate the government’s responsibilities in relation to public officers’ conduct and government department management.
However, the inquiry into Sofia’s death is being conducted behind closed doors by Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia and will only establish criminal responsibility according to current laws. Furthermore, any publication of the findings is at the Attorney General’s discretion.
It could be understandable why the authorities led a magistrate inquiry instead of the public one. But what is impossible to understand is the absence of any results of this inquiry for the last five months! This stands in stark contrast to the swift action taken after the death of 54-year-old Miriam Pace, where four people were brought to court within a month of her home’s collapse in March 2020.
Prime Minister Robert Abela has expressed his displeasure with the unacceptable delays and has written a complaint to the Chief Justice. The only progress made so far has been the demolition of the construction site where the accident occurred. But was the evidence related to the magisterial inquiry into Sofia’s death preserved accordingly? It’d be great if Repubblika would try to investigate the same question.
The bottom line of Repubblika’s ignorance
The focus on past events by Repubblika can hinder the efforts to address current issues affecting ordinary people. The publication of a 750-page book on the Pilatus Bank case, which transpired half a decade ago, raises questions about its relevance and impact on the Maltese public.
If one of the nation’s most impactful organizations remains mired in the past, who will advocate for the populace’s interests during the current challenges? Repubblika, after all, remains a non-governmental organization reliant on the donations of ordinary people to sustain its efforts. Consequently, the time has come for the organization to focus on securing justice for its supporters rather than pursuing its own self-interest.
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