The Crane Currency investment and the chicken or the egg conundrum

A $100 million investment is set to take our island by storm, overflow the national coffers and provide a multitude of jobs – kudos to the present government and its seemingly sage and prudent negotiations.

All’s well with the world and his uncle until the PN, as is wont, cries ‘wolf!’ again. In its statement the Nationalist Party is demanding from the Prime Minister a detailed explanation of Keith Schembri’s involvement in the Crane Currency deal.

The PN is adamant that Schembri has ‘an obvious conflict of interest’ and the people (read the electorate) deserve to know just how financially beneficial this deal would be for the same Schembri. The usual rhetoric follows; Schembri should be immediately removed from his Chief of Staff post, not only for ‘major conflicts of interest’ but also because of his links to Panamagate.

On his part, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat reiterated that he is ‘clueless’ if Schembri’s business will benefit from the $100 million investment in Malta by currency printers Crane Currency or not, and if it will, he does not envision any ‘conflict of interest’. As far as the Prime Minister is concerned Keith Schembri’s private business interests and his public post are two very different and separate entities.

But we can all put our mind at rest, the allegations by the PN are only a storm in a teacup; it now transpires that Schembri’s Kasco Group will not be supplying any machinery to Crane Currency, because in Schembri’s words this needs to be ‘specific’ and ‘can only be obtained directly from the manufacturer’…Phew, what a relief!

But along comes another twist! Schembri’s Kasco Group will not be supplying any machinery BUT can supply maintenance services to Crane Currency – Kasco being the local sole agents for Komori, which will most likely be supplying machinery to Crane Currency…And there we were, waiting with bated breath! Conflict of interest? What conflict of interest?

At this point, plenty of contradictory theories abound about this whole sorry saga; but it really all boils down (excuse the pun) to the age old conundrum of which came first: the chicken or the egg? Was this investment signed, sealed and delivered to further accommodate Keith Schembri, whose company has unfailingly won six tenders in this legislature? Or has this investment ‘just happened’ to be in Schembri’s business remit and his future financial gain through it shall be by ‘sheer coincidence’? In other words, is the government steering its business dealings to accommodate its anointed or are its anointed simply benefitting from the government’s business strategy by ‘incident’?

Should we all simply bite the bullet and be grateful for an unprecedented $100million investment, which, if truth be told, is no small change to the country? Should we simply ignore the PN and dismiss its’ rants as ‘sour grapes’? Should we keep turning a blind eye and resign ourselves to the fact that our economic well-being as a country is solely dependent on whether the powers that be have anything or not to gain in the dealings concerning our nation?

The answer is in plain sight, but again the Prime Minister, adamantly adhering to the government’s ‘trend du jour’ simply refuses to call a spade a spade…