Interview with Moira Sciberras, a member of the team of research assistants which helped Mark A. Sammut to research the material for his latest book, L-Aqwa Zmien Ghalihom. Erba’ Snin ta’ Skandli.

What prompted you to start investigations into Labour’s scandals and how did you go about it?

 When Joseph Muscat became leader of the Labour Party, he promised an earthquake. Yet, I bet nobody could predict that he would destroy the principles and values on which the Party was built. He introduced people from outside the Labour Party, who, now we know, ended up being responsible for the numerous scandals of these last four years.

Moreover, now we know that corruption started even before Muscat gained power. There was never such a corrupt government. Scandals started from day one and now we know that those which featured straight away in the public domain in the first year were only the tip of the iceberg.

So it was natural for a critical mind to start investigating.

Which scandal was particularly interesting?

The scandal concerning Sai Mizzi. Never before in Maltese politics had a minister employed his own spouse. The half a million euros were a pittance when compared to the dirty millions uncovered by the Panama Papers and the Pilatus Bank whistle-blower. But Sai’s earnings were paid with no return whatsoever. It is interesting also because it has all the elements of the subsequent more serious scandals – initial denials, lies, insipid explanations, vicious attacks on those who uncovered the scandal, etc…

What was the technique used throughout the writing of the book?

We, the team of research assistants, helped Dr Sammut with the research. We found more than 750 newspaper articles, which Dr Sammut – Mark – had to digest. We also helped with the proof-reading, and other practical aspects. I think we also helped Mark to keep his morale high, as the task (writing such a book in such a short time) was daunting.

I am proud I did my little bit to help with this important project.