The Maltese state is responsible for the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. This is the unequivocal conclusion of the independent inquiry conducted by retired former judge Michael Mallia, former chief justice Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro into the brutal killing of the journalist working almost single-handedly to expose the corruption and criminality of those in the highest positions in the land.
The three judges issued a chilling verdict on the culpability of the criminals squatting in Castille masquerading as a government: the administration, led by those at the very heart of power in the Office of the Prime Minister, created an atmosphere of impunity that spread like an “octopus” to regulatory institutions and the police, leading to the collapse of the rule of law, they said.
The report was published this morning, after Prime Minister Robert Abela announced he’d received the report and had requested that parliament debate its findings in a specially-convened sitting on Friday.
It’s been a tense time, waiting for the report to be published, re-reading the witness statements and evidence presented as the sheer horror of what the PL government has done to Caruana Galizia, her family and her entire country comes up in sharp relief again and again.
Fifteen days ago, the judges who conducted the inquiry into whether the state should have done more to protect assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and whether the PL government had actually caused a real, immediate risk to her life, announced that their report was ready and would be presented to Prime Minister Robert Abela and the State Attorney.
Abela decided to publish it immediately, saying in a letter to speaker Anglu Farrugia he feels “we should do more and it should be discussed as soon as possible”.
Most people have long expected the report to be scathing of the murderers in government. The evidence that was given and the witness statements taken made it clear that there was only one possible conclusion to be reached.
Not that we needed to wait for the inquiry to tell us that those in the highest positions in the land are responsible for the brutal murder of Malta’s bravest journalist: the European Parliament made it clear in its April 29 resolution that it sees the Maltese government and its sordid links with the criminal underworld as having enabled and facilitated the crime.
The behaviour of the government since that terrible day in October 2017, both under disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat and his gormless replacement, Robert Abela, has been as incriminating as the reams of damning evidence presented to the inquiry and in the court procedures against accused mastermind Yorgen Fenech and the killers he contracted to supply and detonate the bomb that murdered Caruana Galizia.
However, what these procedures have exposed about the way Malta operates has been earth-shattering. Government ministers involved in criminal gangs, a police force in league with brutal killers, state institutions led by puppets, a judiciary compromised by political appointments, top business families involved in money laundering and bribery.
The police force is riddled with corruption, the highest-ranking officers shown to have been corrupt, dishonest and in the pockets of murderous killers. From the disgracefully inept former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, to the sleazy evil of his deputy Silvio Valletta cavorting with accused murderer Fenech – the realisation that the very organisation charged with solving the crime was actually doing its best to frustrate its own investigation is shocking beyond belief.
The former attorney general Peter Grech, whose loyalty to Muscat and his gang of thieves proved more compelling than his duty to his country, discouraged the police from taking action on the 2016 Panama Papers revelations, failed to prosecute cases of obvious wrong-doing and blocked publication of crucial reports into the government’s behaviour.
His criminal dereliction of duty around the Panama Papers revelations and his warning to police to “go slow” and “tread carefully” helped create the atmosphere of impunity which led to Caruana Galizia’s murder.
The members of the government itself, a cabinet of miscreants and crooks, implicated in murder plots, off-the-scale corruption, bank robbery, bribe-taking, vote-buying, cheating, tax evasion: the list of crimes laid at the feet of individuals such as disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, his sidekick Keith Schembri, shamed ex-ministers Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona, current sitting minister Carmelo Abela and dismissed junior minister Rosianne Cutajar is enormous and mind-boggling.
The report damns the entire cabinet for its collective failure to act. This includes those who have not yet, perhaps, been implicated in the worst of the crimes, yet are still guilty by association, the Evarist Bartolos and Edward Sciclunas who claim innocence yet voted to support their delinquent colleagues every time they were asked.
The inquiry conclusions make it clear they’re guilty of having propped up their brazenly dishonest colleagues, with votes of confidence in the Panama Papers villains, and following the 17 Black revelations.
Malta’s pseudo-socialists have always been corrupt, incompetent and dishonest. Under Dom Mintoff and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, under Alfred Sant and, now, for the past eight years under Muscat and Abela, we’ve been shown that the very worst elements in Maltese society gravitate naturally to the Labour Party.
Prime minister Robert Abela’s quick reaction to publish the report today and call a parliamentary debate for Friday is in direct contrast with his previous attitude to the inquiry, when his desperation to curtail the procedure was so pressing, he kept trying to end it prematurely by imposing arbitrary end dates. His urgency to shut the inquiry down was so transparent that the judges declared they would carry on working on the inquiry without pay rather than cut it short.
Of course, his attempts to stymie the proceedings followed his predecessor’s own efforts to block the start of the inquiry for two whole years. Abela, who served as Muscat’s adviser through the critical years prior to and just after, Caruana Galizia’s slaying, was clearly invested in trying to shackle the judges’ ability to do a thorough job.
And, as we’ve seen today, there was good reason for Abela’s, and Muscat’s, trepidation about the inquiry taking place at all.
In the past, the PL government and its stooges have tried hard to suppress the findings of previous magisterial inquiry reports, such as the shocking waste of public money that the Egrant inquiry turned out to be, a charade of an inquiry carried out by a magistrate who was promoted to judge just after he finished it, that failed to give any answers or fulfil any useful function.
Expectations for this inquiry’s findings were higher though. Just as the European Parliament did three months ago, this inquiry has slammed the government for its abysmal failure to protect Caruana Galizia, its undeniable complicity in her murder and shameful harbouring of common criminals within its own fold.
We already know Malta is governed by a gang of murderers and thieves. It’s hard to imagine how the country can come back from this. The damage has been incalculable, robbing us of our best journalist, devastating the country’s reputation and shredding key pillars of the economy.
Robert Abela will no doubt fall woefully short in his response to the report, as he has done in every other test of his leadership. But he’d do well to remember that while platitudes might get him through another day, they’ll do nothing to save his name for posterity. He must act fast and decisively to address the conclusions of the report, or his legacy to this unfortunate country will be as poisonous as that of his disreputable predecessor.