The three men accused of executing the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia will stand trial after the court decided there was enough evidence to proceed. The three men, Vince Muscat, George Degiorgio and his brother Alfred Degiorgio, have so far refused to give the police any information.
The police have provided detailed evidence on the three men’s involvement in the killing of Caruana Galizia, including when the SIM cards used to detonate the bomb were purchased – in November 2016.
A number of questions remain unanswered including who commissioned the murder, why Caruana Galizia was killed and whether the accused were linked to other car-bombs that remain unresolved.
This is a timeline of the evidence provided in court. The Shift looks at Caruana Galizia’s work at the time and events in the year preceding her murder:
Sixty seven-year old John Camilleri, known as Giovanni tas-Sapun, is killed on 31 October when a bomb under his seat detonated in a busy road in St Pauls Bay. In her blog, Daphne Caruana Galizia linked the bomb to the highly lucrative fuel smuggling trade.
It later transpires that one of the three men accused of executing Caruana Galizia’s murder, George Degiorgio ‘ic-Ciniz,’ and Camilleri were business partners. The two friends fell out, and Camilleri sued Degiorgio over money owed to him for the sale of an apartment.
Most of Caruana Galizia’s writing in October deals with the secrecy surrounding Vitals Global Healthcare, the company awarded a 30-year concession to run the Gozo, St Luke’s and Karin Grech hospitals. Lovin Malta revealed this week that the deal turned out to be a short adventure, since Vitals will be sold to Steward Medical Group
It is the latest twist in the hospital privatisation saga – which has from the start been shrouded in secrecy and doubts over who is really profiting from the deal. The news emerged days before a directive obliging EU Member States to make known the ownership of companies.
According to the prosecution, George Degiorgio purchased the SIM cards for the phones allegedly used to trigger the bomb in Caruana Galizia’s car in November and activated them in August 2017.
Caruana Galizia’s work centres on Vitals and Henley and Partners, the company which was originally picked as the sole agents for the cash-for-passports scheme and claims that government has become dependent for revenue on the sale passports.
Caruana Galizia also writes extensively on the Prime Minister’s chief of Staff Keith Schembri health and says that he is suffering from a tumour.
Henley and Partners threaten to ruin her financially by suing the journalist in a London court through law firm Mishcon de Reya. Caruana Galizia later claims that Henley and Partners tried to silence her because they knew of upcoming snap election.
On 29 January Victor Calleja was killed when a bomb detonated in his car in Marsa.
Caruana Galizia does not write about the car bomb. On 30 January she alleges that economy minister Chris Cardona was spotted in a German brothel together with his consultant Joe Gerada.
On 20 February a bomb detonated in Romeo Bone’s car in Msida, on one of the busiest roads in Malta. Bone, who was well known to the police, lost both legs in the incident but survived.
Caruana Galizia publishes documents showing Joseph Muscat’s wife, Michelle Muscat, is the owner of Egrant, a Panama company which she says received a payment of US$1.017 from Leyla Aliyeva, daughter of Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev. The allegations are the subject of a criminal magisterial inquiry.
During a Labour Party event, Muscat announces that elections will be held on 3 June.
Labour stays in power after yet another landslide victory at the polls, among concerns on the abuse of the power of incumbency.
On 16 October Caruana Galizia is murdered in a car-bomb a few metres away from her house in Bidnija. Seven weeks later, the police arraign three men over the murder; brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio and Vince Muscat.
Following a number of delaying tactics, including the recusal of two magistrates, the three men are set to face trial after court held that there was enough evidence to proceed.
The prosecution led by the police told the court that on the fateful day Alfred Degiorgio, stationed in Bidnija together with Vince Muscat, called his brother George who was on a cabin cruiser off the Grand Harbour. George sent the fatal SMS to the device planted in the journalist’s car.
In court, her husband Peter Caruana Galizia said that on 16 October his wife had left the house for an appointment at HSBC’s headquarters to sort out a problem with her bank account posed by the garnishee order that Economy Minister Chris Cardona and his aide Joe Gerada had slapped on her.