The Office of the Prime Minister has not replied to questions sent on the statement made by Pieter Omtzigt, Special Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), regarding the manipulation of his Wikipedia page last October from an IP address of a Maltese ministry.
Earlier this month, Omtzigt told the Dutch press that his Wikipedia page had been modified to say that Omtzigt was embroiled in a fake news affair on the MH17 Malaysian Airlines Crash. The change made from the IP address from a Maltese ministry falsely stated that Omtzigt had paid for false in order to put the blame on Ukraine.
On 4 January, The Shift sent the following questions to the Prime Minister’s Head of Communications, which remain unanswered:
– Did someone from the government manipulate Omtzigt’s Wikipedia page?
– Have you looked into this?
– Do you know which ministry it was coming from?
– Do you plan to take action? If so, how?
– Was this move done to discredit him and avoid a public inquiry?
The timing of the attempt to mess with Omtzigt’s reputation coincided with efforts to get the Maltese government to initiate a public inquiry into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, brutally killed in a car bomb close to her home on 16 October 2017.
In the interview, Omtzigt spoke about the “opposition” he encountered in Malta when investigating the state of the rule of law and the investigation in Malta into Caruana Galizia’s assassination. He described the experience during his fact-finding mission as “unprecedented”.
“In a sense, it was my most difficult job ever,” he said.
In his report on Malta, adopted by PACE in June last year, Omtzigt had imposed a three-month deadline for the commencement of the public inquiry that is now ongoing.
A number of revelations have emerged from the public inquiry. The public inquiry, which is held before an independent board, was set up to establish whether the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia could have been prevented.
One of the revelations was that Justice Minister Owen Bonnici had told the family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia that his life would be made easier if they accepted Judge Antonio Mizzi on the board of inquiry looking into her death, according to Paul Caruana Galizia, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s son.
Caruana Galizia told the inquiry board that this was a “concern” especially in light of the fact that middleman Melvin Theuma, who was granted a presidential pardon, had suggested that Yorgen Fenech, who is facing charges of being the mastermind, could talk to Judge Mizzi.
“It is of deep concern to us that Mizzi was seen by two men suspected of murder as their man and why the government was so insistent on him as their man in this inquiry,” he said.
Another revelation learned through the public inquiry was that the Head of Malta Developer’s Association Sandro Chetcuti had an office on the fourth floor of the Labour Party Headquarters in 2013. This was stated by Speaker of the House of Representatives and former Labour Party Deputy Leader Anglu Farrugia, who claimed that despite Chetcuti having such prominent access to the floor, Farrugia had no access at all, despite being deputy leader.
In the same public inquiry sitting, Former police commissioner John Rizzo told the board that when he was a commissioner in 2013, the police had enough information to take Dalli to court. “In the meeting (with Foreign Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia) I made it clear that we had enough evidence to prosecute John Dalli,” he said.
In another public inquiry sitting last week, Former police commissioner Peter Paul Zammit revealed that within the police force there exists no list or form of documentation of the people who require or are given police protection.
The public inquiry is ongoing, with another sitting held today, where Sandro Chetcuti and former police commissioner Ray Zammit are set to be testifying.