We appear to be confronted by one of those situations in which the revelation of a case raises more questions than it is supposed to answer, which creates more problems than it supposedly solves.

What is worse, in the case of the Novartis scandal, is that an enormous question arose from the very first day, and it, in turn, gave rise to a problem of equal or even bigger magnitude.

The looming question arises from the prior announcement of the scandal and of its magnitude.

For at least the last two years, members of the government have spoken of a “political earthquake”, creating the impression that they are aware of those involved and what they may have done.

As the judicial file demonstrates, however, the depositions of protected witnesses, on the basis of which political figures have been implicated, were taken just in the last month and a half.

If the question is from whence does the government’s certitude about the case derive, the problem surely lies in the credibility of the entire procedure.

The biggest problem is that an economic scandal has produced an institutional one.

The government hastened to exploit the communications value of the case, while showing contempt for constitutional provision and institutions.

In order to supposedly demonstrate the decisiveness of the prime minister, it was announced that he “ordered” that the case file be transmitted to parliament, though that was not necessary and he had no authority to do so. The judiciary is obliged to transmit a case file to parliament post haste, the moment the name of a minister pops up.

Yet another institutional breach was the “informal” briefings of the prime minister, the government spokesman, and ministers.

Undoubtedly, economic scandals injure society. Institutional scandals, however, injure both society and democracy.

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