Repubblika to go to constitutional court after magistrate refuses recusal, father-in-law’s testimony

Aquilina throws down the gauntlet: ‘Arrest me if I’m lying'

 

Repubblika will take its Pilatus Bank case to the constitutional court after Magistrate Nadine Lia refused the organisation’s request for her to recuse herself from a case and for refusing to have her father-in-law Pawlu Lia – the lawyer of former disgraced prime minister Joseph Muscat and his former and similarly disgraced chief of staff Keith Schembri – testify in her courtroom.

Repubblika is currently challenging the police commissioner before the courts over the force’s refusal to abide by an inquiring magistrate’s order, given about a year and a half ago, to proceed against the bank and its directors.

Muscat, Repubblika said today, was an alleged client of the bank while Schembri was a confirmed client, and both were the “alleged beneficiaries of its criminal activities”.

As such, Repubblika contends, “It is in the manifest interest of Joseph Muscat (and Keith Schembri) that the directors of Pilatus Bank are never brought to justice.

“In Repubblika’s view, “with her words and actions, Magistrate Nadine Lia has shown that she is not, she cannot be nor can she appear to be impartial in this case.”

Repubblika said it has been left with no other choice but to seek an impartial court and along such lines it will be opening a constitutional court case in the coming days.

Repubblika expressed its concern that the current system in which a member of the judiciary is asked to recuse themselves over a conflict of interest decides for themselves whether to accept the request and step down is “in itself unfair and an outrage to the fundamental right to a proper hearing”.

In her decree today, Magistrate Lia took Repubblika to task because, she said, the organisation’s original application had only referred to the directors of Pilatus Bank, which the police have not yet presented, and made no reference to Egrant.

“For some reason,” Repubblika explains, “Magistrate Lia ignored what we said about Egrant in our original application which was:

‘Apart from that, the applicant also knows, and this is being said for the sake of completeness before this Honourable Court, that the said Magisterial Inquiry which ended in March 2021 ordered the re-opening of the inquiry into Egrant, a secret company in Panama founded 48 hours after the 2013 general election in Malta, which is intimately linked to the dirty operation of Pilatus Bank, and this is known from various local and international reports.’”

By ignoring the Egrant reference, Repubblika accuses Lia of “finding an excuse to justify herself when she says she does not have a conflict of interest”.

Magistrate Nadine Lia

The magistrate’s father-in-law Pawlu Lia, was not and is not the lawyer of any of Pilatus Bank’s directors. But, as Repubblika points out, “Magistrate Lia is knowingly and selectively ignoring the fact known to everyone that her father-in-law represented Joseph Muscat when he asked for an inquiry to be held on whether Joseph Muscat was the owner or beneficiary of Egrant.

“The possible proof that could have answered this question was, as everyone knows, in the possession of the directors of Pilatus Bank. It is the manifest interest of Joseph Muscat (and Keith Schembri) that the Directors of Pilatus Bank are never brought to justice.”

During Tuesday evening’s protest in Valletta against corruption, Repubblika showed documentation to the effect that the Pilatus Bank inquiry expressly recommends a proper investigation into the allegation that the bank had administered a transaction that constituted a bribe to then prime minister Joseph Muscat.

“The fact that she is doing everything to ignore all this clearly shows that Magistrate Lia is not, cannot be, and cannot appear to be impartial in this case,” Repubblika said.

It was the magistrate’s “same manifest imbalance” that caused her to throw out an extract of the magisterial inquiry into Pilatus Bank presented by Repubblika in court as proof it had, indeed, been concluded.

“The fact is that Magistrate Lia has every means of verifying to her full satisfaction that the copy certified by Repubblika President and Notary Public Robert Aquiline is truly authentic,” Repubblika observes.

“As the magistrate herself notes, the Commissioner of Police, who is being challenged by this lawsuit to implement the inquiry’s recommendations [to act on the Pilatus findings], and the Attorney General, who is being challenged by Repubblika in a separate legal action, have every means at their disposal to confirm that the copy presented by Repubblika and the originals in their possession are the same.”

Aquilina throws down the gauntlet: ‘Arrest me if I’m lying’

If Aquilina is lying, as the magistrate’s dismissive actions in court over his certified copies of the inquiry attempt to suggest, Repubblika challenged the police commissioner and attorney general, who are in possession of the original inquiry report and can verify if it matches what Aquilina presented in court, “they have the duty to immediately arrest and prosecute Robert Aquilina” for perjury and for failing his professional duties “in the most serious and criminal way”.

Aquilina today wrote to both the police commissioner and attorney general to demand they inform the court that what Aquilina presented in court was a certified extract from the Pilatus inquiry.

Short of that, Repubblika pointed out, the only alternative is to charge Aquilina in court.

Repubblika also referred to a section of Lia’s decree which addresses Repubblika’s complaint that Pawlu Lia had sought out and found Aquilina outside the courts, and attempted to intimidate him off the case, which Magistrate Lia put down to being a “spontaneous incident”.

Repubblika observed how, “Magistrate Lia has only previously heard the testimony of Notary Aquilina, her father-in-law Pawlu Lia, and from third parties who were on the scene.

“As such, she has no legitimate means of reaching this judgment on the nature of the incident. A reasonable suspicion arises that Magistrate Lia privately consulted with her father-in-law about the incident.”

This suspicion in its own right, Repubblika contends, let alone if this is what actually happened, is reason enough for Magistrate Lia’s recusal.

                           
                               
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Francis Said
Francis Said
23 days ago

What exactly are the duties of the Administration of Justice?
Should they not be examining this Magistrate, if she is independent enough to decide on this case?
Dear Hon. President of the Republic, should you not see to this issue to ensure that our Courts of Law carry out their duties without fear or favour?

v zammit
v zammit
23 days ago

Repubblika ought to have mentioned one basic principle in the administration of justice, namely that no one should be a judge in one’s own cause. Judges and magistrates are to practise what they preach,

Travis Brannon
Travis Brannon
23 days ago

I would like to comment on this article, shocking in its implications, as to why there are no comments from the Maltese community at large, even though this article has been online for over 24 hours and is shocking in its implications. Even though this article is potentially explosive, in that it may reveal potential corruption and collusion between the corrupt Labour Party and a manifestly corrupt and grossly incompetent Maltese judiciary. There are no comments, I believe, because of fear. And fear that is warranted given the corrupt nature of the Maltese institutions and the inevitable vexatious and weaponized, characteristically Maltese, libel suits that guilty Maltese inevitably use to punitively punish the whistleblower and blame shift.

The Maltese judicial system’s primary objective is not the unbiased administration of the rule of law, where all individuals are equal (think blindfolded lady justice) but it’s primary objective, it’s raison de etre, is to maintain the status quo of the mafia state – criminality, unbridled corruption that benefits the few, and a stranglehold on political power. The Maltese judiciary does this by protecting political criminals and their cronies and through either ignoring or purposely botching high profile cases which implicate these PEPs. These are facts and are common knowledge to people in Malta (in most cases too terrified to call it out for what it is given the inevitable sadistic retribution they and their families will suffer given what the powerful elite consider their insolence) and the people of the world familiar with the ugly reality of Maltese culture and the average mode Maltese mind.

Within Malta, it is common knowledge that if you confront politically connected people or lawyers that are as vicious as they are amoral, you will be sucked into a maelstrom of vindictiveness and lies that will be played out for years in a corrupt, biased circus that masquerades as a court of law. It will be endless years of misery and suffering, not to mention the financial cost that such corruption, gross incompetence and delays lead to. For the average Maltese some subjects are just too risky to add their voice to, and having lived in Malta for 18 years, and having been dragged through the sleaze and misery, lies and incompetence that define the Maltese judicial system, I can confidently say to the Maltese of good will who are weary of lending their voice to a case like this – the potential collision of a politically connected Magistrate who has the power to make your life a living hell, if not incarcerate you – I say compassionately, I don’t blame you for your silence.

As was the case with Daphne, Republikka, The Shift and a few other solitary voices of decent all stand alone for the most part. But silence and fear are the mental manacles that the corrupt and abusive elite install in the Maltese mind so as to perpetuate the cultural ethos of the mafia state that your children are now being unconsciously shaped by and will inherit when you are gone. That being said, if only one or two Maltese spoke up and voiced the obvious – namely Pawlu Lia and Nadine Lia may in fact be colluding with Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri to block an investigation into a money laundering bank that will lead to their prosecution and even perhaps revelations of involvement in murder – if only one or two publicly voiced that obvious conclusion, they would be halled over the corrupt coals of the Maltese judicial system and made to suffer like Job. They would be literally crucified. I understand the fear.

All that being said, imagine the difference if one hundred or two hundred thousand voices all publicly voiced the obvious and demanded justice and a full realization of the truth. The cultural situation in Malta would be very different and you would be bequeathing a very different Malta to your children.

But sadly fear rules the roost in Malta and the vicious bastards holding the power in the Maltese mafia state dominate the minds of the people, through fear, intimidation, and the unspoken promise of vicious retribution, retribution which the solitary Maltese individual is defenceless against. And that’s just the way the elite want it.

D M Briffa
D M Briffa
23 days ago
Reply to  Travis Brannon

Whilst I would accept that some people fail to speak out through fear, I think the chief reason people do nothing is apathy. That and numbness. There have been so many abuses these past nine years that lots of people are no longer shocked.

Apathy can be lessened when the protest ‘voice’ reaches critical mass. We saw this with the demonstrations in 2019. The size of the crowds increased when people began to see 1,500 to 2,000 people at the demos. The size of the crowd on 1 December 2019 was estimated at 20,000. That mass encouraged people to attend the protests, partly because they felt less threatened, taking comfort from the fact that so many other people were showing their heads above the parapet. But part of the ‘critical mass effect’ is that people begin to think that change is possible and that they are not shouting into the wind.

v. zammit
v. zammit
23 days ago
Reply to  Travis Brannon

Fear is they are dragging the judiciary into the pit.
Our courts are courts of law. As one wise lawyer once put it on looking at the statue of justice, blindfolded, in our courts of law: if you want justice go elsewhere.

Chan
Chan
23 days ago
Reply to  Travis Brannon

Well said you are completely right. I have spent the last nearly 8 years fighting for justice against corruption. It has taken a toll on me mentally and financially. But I will not give up until every corrupt person involved is prosecuted and I get my life back. They will not beat me into submission. They depend on people being afraid by their intimidation tactics. They seem not to care about evidence and the cover-up go all the way to the top. I will keep fighting till I get all the way to the European court and I am not only doing this for me but for every maltese and foreign citizen living in malta to be able to live in a safe Democratic state.

Xmun Garretta
Xmun Garretta
22 days ago
Reply to  Chan

In-nutar tal-qmis bajda li jrid jindahal u jizzattat ghax ma jippruvax igib malta lil dik il-giddieba efimova? Id-deputat giglio jaghtih palata probabbli ghax jaf kemm hi mara mahmuga … imma l-bobby jibza’ minnha ….

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