Opposition Leader Adrian Delia today published the full copy of the Egrant inquiry within 24 hours after receiving a copy from the Attorney General, saying he was disgusted by the fact that this was hidden from the public for a full 18 months after it was completed.
“The full report of Egrant shows that the authorities could have taken action and they did not do so,” Delia said.
“This means that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici and the Attorney General have been knowing for 18 months that action had to be taken and investigations started, and yet nothing was done and important evidence could have been hidden to stop the truth from coming out,” he said in a live feed this afternoon.
The Egrant report is an inquiry into claims made by murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in May 2017, alleging that the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat is the owner of the Panamanian company Egrant – the third company revealed in the Panama Papers, after another two belonging to Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s (former) chief of staff Keith Schembri.
The report was completed by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja in 2017 and the Prime Minister released some of the conclusions but never published it in full. “Muscat hid behind the advice of the Attorney General,” Delia said.
Muscat had promised to publish a redacted version, commissioning his own lawyer to choose what should be kept hidden from the public. Even this redacted version never materialised. Yesterday, a court ruled that Delia should be handed the full report by the Attorney General.
Qiegħed nippubblika r-rapport sħiħ tal-inkjesta dwar Egrant. Araw dak kollu li @JosephMuscat_JM ilu jaħbilna. Biex neqirdu l-korruzzjoni rridu noħorġu l-fatti, hekk qiegħed nagħmel illum b’responsabbiltà. F’dan il-link hemm r-rapport sħiħ: https://t.co/bD8TpmB6uc
— Adrian Delia (@adriandeliapn) December 17, 2019
This same role was given to Commissioner of Law, former judge Antonio Mizzi to advise on how a redacted version of the Egrant report could be published after the court ruling yesterday in which the government was still attempting to cover up aspects of the report.
The court ruled that the Opposition Leader had to use his discretion on publishing the report. Announcing his decision this evening to publish the report in full, Delia said:
“I had three options before me. To keep this hidden, to publish a redacted version – both options were unacceptable to me. I took the decision to publish in full at this delicate moment the country is facing, and with a sense of responsibility, based on legal advice that confirmed the court did not prohibit its publication.”
Delia got the backing of the Nationalist Parliamentary group who agreed in principle that the report should be published in full, before seeing a copy: “They felt that the most important consideration is that all the truth emerges.”
“I could do what the Prime Minister did 18 months ago and take political advantage and publish parts of it. I will not fall for this temptation. The people need to see it and reach their own conclusions,” Delia said.
He said he felt “disgusted” with this report and that there were facts that Muscat and the Attorney General knew of and that could possibly be linked to criminal acts with people involved in Castille. “These remained there with absolute impunity and this is the reason why the report was hidden for 18 months”.
He drew attention to the fact that the court has expressed concern at the Egrant findings emerging in an appeal filed by three Ministers on the decision for an inquiry into the Vitals Global Healthcare deal on three of Malta’s public hospitals. The public remained in the dark, while members of the government used it to their own advantage, while the former Head of Communications for the government taunted citizens with an image of the full copy on a desk at the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Opposition Leader yesterday called for the resignation of the Attorney General who enabled the government’s denial of the full findings of the inquiry to the public. Corruption could then grow in silence, Delia said.
The Egrant inquiry is a 1,500-page report on evidence collected, including testimonies and documents. The Shift will be bringing you detailed reports on what it reveals.