Opposition files judicial protest to release Egrant inquiry

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia filed a judicial protest against the Attorney General, calling on him to pass him a copy of the full Egrant magisterial inquiry report by today.

In the protest, Delia said Attorney General Peter Grech’s decision not to release the full inquiry report was not “legally justified” and went against public and national interest, that of the Opposition and rules of transparency.

Filed by lawyer Vincent Galea, the protest explained that, on Saturday, the Attorney General issued a press release through the Department of Information his office had received the inquiry report by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja.

The inquiry had to establish whether the Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat, was the ultimate beneficial owner of Egrant, or Muscat or any of his relatives, John Dalli, chief of staff Keith Schembri, and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi had bank accounts with Pilatus Bank.

It also had to establish whether there were any suspicious financial transactions in Pilatus Bank or corruption or money laundering within the same bank from Azerbaijanis.

Immediately after, Muscat issued a statement saying that he had requested the Attorney General to publish the inquiry and would give his reaction once it was public.

Delia himself had stated on several occasions that the inquiry should have been published in full, the protest said.

On Sunday, the DOI issued a statement by the Attorney General with the main conclusions of the Egrant inquiry and closing comments. Publishing the full report would violate the privacy of a number of third parties and could compromise other ongoing investigations related to the the Egrant inquiry findings, the AG said.

Muscat then held a press conference with his reactions and Delia read the inquiry’s conclusions and made his own statement.

That same day, One TV, which is owned by the Labour Party – of which Muscat is Party leader – aired a news programme where the presenter himself said he held documents that formed part of the inquiry, Delia said in the protest.

A number of high ranking party and government officials also have given their reaction on the inquiry.

This created a serious political unbalance in favour of the government and Labour Party to the detriment of the Opposition and the Nationalist Party, according to the protest.

On Monday, Delia wrote to the AG requesting him to publish the full inquiry report. This was turned down on Wednesday as the AG said the conclusions, released last Sunday, had only been made public due to the “exceptional” nature of the inquiry and its impact on public life.

The 2017 general elections revolved around allegations of the ownership of Egrant, Delia said in the protest. The conclusions said that no shares of the company were owned by Muscat and members of his family and it was in the public interest to analyse the evidence and documents that led to this and other conclusions by the inquiring magistrate.

This did not mean that the conclusions were not accepted but other facts and information of public interest could emerge from the inquiry. These could also be of political interest to the Opposition especially since the conclusions mentioned politicians who still had pending magisterial inquiries, the protest said.

He called on the AG to give him copy of the full report by today and reserved the right to take the matter to court if he failed to do so.

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