“Yorgen Fenech’s bosom buddy”, Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis, should not be in charge of “structural improvements” related to the reform of Malta’s legal system in the aftermath of the public inquiry on the State’s role in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination, activist group Moviment Graffitti said in a statement.
Graffitti referred to how the public inquiry found “abundant evidence of the deep, intimate, and inappropriate ties between the highest levels of public administration and big business”, highlighting how the State “centrally orchestrated” Caruana Galizia’s murder through the office of the prime minister.
“The Minister for Justice, whose remit it is to ensure that this culture of impunity is eradicated, has been shown to have the closest of ties with the businessman accused of being at the very centre of this nexus of political-economic interests,” the group said.
Zammit Lewis’ close ties with Fenech were revealed through news reports highlighting how the minister had chased Fenech for weeks on end, practically begging for an audience and regularly checking in with him while voicing his support and “pride” over his association with Fenech.
Graffitti also pointed out that the inquiry board had concluded that private business interests were “given a higher priority than the public good”, arguing that it was “inconceivable” that a State found to have facilitated Caruana Galizia’s assassination “can hope to fix the situation through a minister whose deep, intimate and inappropriate relationship to those same private interests is documented, public and pathetic”.
“This is no time for business as usual, and the extensive conclusions and recommendations laid out by the board of inquiry need to be acted on with due urgency and dedication,” the group added.
Moviment Graffitti insisted on the State’s obligations to the inquiry’s conclusions being given “more than just lip service”, arguing that Zammit Lewis’ “firm conviction of his own integrity is irrelevant”.
“If we continue to trust evidently compromised individuals’ reassurances of their own integrity, we will all be a Ġaħan,” the group said, referring to one of Zammit Lewis’ messages to Fenech in which he referred to Labour voters as idiots.
The minister, who has since then apologised for his remark but has stood by his association with Fenech, has been the subject of increased public outrage after the government’s tacit silence on whether Zammit Lewis’ position is tenable.