The vigil for construction site victim Jean Paul Sofia went ahead as planned this evening as thousands gathered in Valletta to call for justice at the request of Sofia’s mother, in the wake of last week’s denial by Parliament of a public inquiry into her son’s death.
Sofia was killed at what was to be a timber factory that was being built illegally on government property by Serbian contractors and Maltese developers with a criminal past and connections to the Lands Authority when it suddenly collapsed on 3 December.
Calls for a public inquiry into the circumstances leading to his death have been rife but have been consistently denied by the Prime Minister.
PM buckles to public pressure, announces Jean Paul Sofia public inquiry
But in a dramatic turn of events, Prime Minister Robert Abela buckled to mounting public pressure and announced a public inquiry into last December’s Kordin construction site death of 20-year-old Jean Paul Sofia.
The move came after he had his MPs vote against an opposition motion for the public inquiry to be instituted, just before a public protest that was planned for Valletta tonight and as a public petition hit the 30,000 mark.
The terms of reference and who will be leading the public inquiry are still to be announced.
Since then, several NGOs, public figures, and the opposition have joined the parents’ call for a public inquiry, which would delve into the malaise of the construction sector.
Even disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, the General Workers Union and President Emeritus Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca endorsed the call just today.
A public petition calling for the public inquiry also today surpassed the 30,000 mark. At 10% of the electorate, around 35,000, a referendum on the issue at hand can be requested.
Abela has consistently shot down the requests for a public inquiry into the December 2022 death, stating that “a public inquiry hinders and does not help achieve justice” and insisting that the ongoing magisterial inquiry would suffice.
Inquiring Magistrate Marse-Ann Farrugia today, however, requested another monthly extension, the sixth, from the Attorney General’s Office.
Abela wrote to Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti last April and once again last week asking him to ensure the magisterial inquiry is wrapped as soon as possible in what is widely being seen as another attempt to influence the judiciary.