by a Blog Writer
Whether Konrad Mizzi ever received any money as a bribery is irrelevant under Maltese law. So Mizzi should stop fooling around that nobody has found any illegitimate money belonging to him.
Section 115 of the Criminal Code has the following to say about briberies: “Any public officer or servant who… receives or accepts… any… promise or offer of any reward… to which he is not entitled, shall, on conviction, be liable to punishment.”
Accepting an offer or promise of an illicit award suffices even if the plan to transfer the money was derailed when Daphne Caruana Galizia exposed the corrupt deal. If Daphne disrupted the transfer of the money to Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri, it changed nothing as far as our Criminal Law is concerned. The public officer accepting the promise or offer is just as guilty as if he had received the money.
Section 118 (1) fine tunes the outcome for Mizzi by taking a harsher approach when the officer is a member of parliament, like Mizzi was at the time. It extends the prison sentence. It says: “Any member of the House of Representatives who receives or accepts… any… promise or offer of any reward… with the object of influencing him in his conduct as a member of the House shall… be liable for imprisonment [up] to eight years.”
As reported in this blog post, Mr Justice Francesco Depasquale was bewildered how a man of Mizzi’s stature, who used to be a partner in a business consultancy firm in the UK, gave away the nation’s treasury for nothing in return by allowing Vitals an extension of the contract that Vitals had violated four years earlier.
We know through Mizzi’s accountant that he had accepted a deal for millions to come in from named, but still secret at that time, sources and was looking for a bank account where to park them. A client is responsible for the accountant’s submissions. If tax papers are fraudulent, the taxpayer who commissioned the accountant is held fully responsible. Hence, any MP’s acceptance of a promise of future cash should be attributed to the MP, and not his accountant, and scrutinized under Malta’s Criminal Code’s Section 118 (1).
The Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police should stop acting like deer caught in the headlights of Mizzi’s public relations machine negating the presence of any money anywhere. There is no need to locate any money. What was revealed through Nexia is incriminating enough. There was never a legitimate business fuelling Mizzi’s enterprise. As a matter of fact, when he resigned from parliament, his business dealings came to a sudden halt. It should have been the other way round as he found himself with countless hours to invest in his private business, if he had any. The fact that his business and his political career grounded to a halt simultaneously suggests that the two careers were one and the same.
When Nexia had revealed to Panama that Mizzi and Schembri were both seeking a bank for the promised millions to come, Nexia withheld the name of the third party who was seeking to establish a similar bank account. Nexia wouldn’t budge and kept withholding the name. The name must have been of someone more important than Mizzi and Schembri. We didn’t see the President of Malta or the Archbishop jumping up and down in front of the camera last week, trying to give their version of Mr. Justice’s ruling about the fraud. What we saw instead was the only other person that could have been more important than Mizzi and Schembri, with his ashen face, croaking that it was just civil fraud.