No one is more abused in the vote sensitive pre-election period than the poor taxpayer.
Any special interest Group that can muster a sizable voter base can push their case on a vote-sensitive government eager to hang on to power whatever it takes. The bill for such pre-election concessions will ultimately have to be paid by the Maltese taxpayers and their successors in the form of higher taxes, higher debts or both.
One of the special interest group that has become very vociferous in this vote-sensitive pre-election period are the former shareholders of the National Bank Group (NBG) who have pending claims for compensation in long standing court cases for what they consider forced and unfair takeover of their investment in the NBG by Government in 1973 when the NBG was experiencing life threatening loss of depositors' confidence. We have witnessed a media campaign meant to force government to agree to an out of court settlement which was reportedly promised to them by prominent members of the Nationalist Party in similar vote sensitive periods related to past elections.
I have already expressed views on this matter on this blog - see following link:
Since then I have participated in a vibrant debate on the Times of Malta web-site with persons who have a vested interest in securing compensation, the fatter the better.
In a normal society these issues are decided through the Courts. Unfortunately our courts are failing society by the sheer length of time they take to decide. Any court case that takes three and a half decades and is still pending, is a shame on the rights of the parties involved, both those who pretend compensation and the government who on behalf of the taxpayer is arguing that no such compensation is due.
So whilst I sympathise with the frustration and aggravation that parties feel about court delay, the solution cannot be fair on the taxpayer if government is forced to negotiate an out of court settlement in this pre-election vote sensitive period.
Equally unfair is the reported plea of prescription apparently raised by government in 2010. It's too late for that. A settlement either through abortion on the grounds of prescription or by amicable out of court settlement will be a big mockery to the 35 years spent in court and will leave a sour taste of justice undone.
This case must be settled by a decision of the Courts and this cannot come soon enough, considering that whoever loses the case will probably claim the right to appeal.
In subsequent contributions I will be exposing the arguments involved in this case. Keep in touch.