This opinion piece is available in Maltese.
“Today, for the first time in more than six years hearing the oppressive mantra ‘no politician or persons in public office were involved in the murder’, we have sworn testimony revealing political involvement in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s homicide”. This was Christian Grima’s Facebook post after George Degiorgio confirmed his statement under oath.
George Degiorgio, who’s been sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment for his part in the assassination of Caruana Galizia, was called as a witness in a case brought by disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat.
Muscat is suing lawyer Christian Grima.
On Saviour Balzan’s Xtra, Michelle Muscat was at her most despicable. “I am far sorrier about whatever happened to her (Daphne Caruana Galizia) than the journalist’s own family. I told myself, ‘Now I’m going to have to live with her lies’”, Michelle Muscat said.
Christian Grima retorted on a Facebook post: “Whatever happened to her? Your husband blew her up. That’s what happened to her”.
Grima’s comment seems to have needled Muscat’s dozing conscience back to life. “I can never accept lies such as Grima’s,” he said, deciding to take court action against the lawyer. He must be regretting it now.
Grima summoned George and Alfred Degiorgio to the witness stand. News media reported that the convicted brothers refused to testify, but that’s not entirely true. George Degiorgio, for the first time, confirmed under oath statements he made about Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
“The phoney offer of a million euro reward for information (about Caruana Galizia’s assassination) was a game so that those truly involved would appear innocent. We declare that in this case, there are prominent people from the political field who used to occupy ministerial posts who were involved,” Degiorgio’s statement read.
Joseph Muscat’s government offered that ‘unprecedented’ one million euro reward for anyone providing police with information that led to the identification of those responsible for her murder.
But that offer came with several conditions – whoever provided information had to tell the truth and the whole truth and testify under oath about everything, thus revealing their identity.
Alternatively, if those coming forward wanted to pass on information confidentially, they were instructed to go to the police, whose deputy commissioner was Yorgen Fenech’s close friend Silvio Valletta and whose commissioner leaked information to the middleman in the assassination.
Degiorgio, in his sworn statement, alleged that “in Caruana Galizia’s case the former commissioner and other senior police officials were involved as well as ‘persons of trust’… we can testify to the involvement of former minister Chris Cardona and Keith Schembri”.
But Degiorgio made even more worrying accusations. “These facts were brought to the attention of Prime Minister Robert Abela as well as the police commissioner and senior police officials”.
“We want the whole truth to emerge, but it is clear that this cannot happen because internal pacts must be honoured,” the Degiorgios alleged. “We are making this statement public because after passing sensitive and useful information to the police, the police took no action”.
“There is a conspiracy to exculpate those criminals who ordered these crimes,” they insisted. “We know that actions weren’t taken on the direct orders of prominent persons for their own protection”.
“We passed on a lot of sensitive information to Inspector Keith Arnaud that should have reached the police commissioner, the attorney general, the cabinet and the president. This is information we know personally, not hearsay. We are ready to give this information again, but only to those who truly want to solve these cases”.
“The truth will surface,” the Degiorgios warned.
Joseph Muscat must be ruing his decision to sue Christian Grima. He must be quaking in his boots hearing George Degiorgio confirm that “certain individuals are projecting themselves as pure, but they are possessed by the devil”.
“We truly want the families of the victims to get the whole truth so they can find comfort in justice that should be done with those who were behind the crimes we offered to testify about,” they added.
No wonder Muscat’s lawyer Pawlu Lia objected when Degiorgio was asked about Keith Schembri’s involvement in Caruana Galizia’s assassination. Lia attempted to block those questions, challenging the relevance to Muscat’s libel case.
Why is Muscat’s lawyer so worried that the truth will surface?
Keith Schembri called Dr Adrian Vella and handed him a letter to pass on to Yorgen Fenech while in police custody, allegedly instructing him on how to pin the blame for the assassination on former minister Chris Cardona.
Dr Adrian Vella was also due to take the witness stand in Muscat’s libel case, but he didn’t turn up. The bizarre excuse for his failure to testify was that the notice of summons, issued three weeks earlier, “was still circulating among court ushers”.
The Degiorgios know much about that assassination, and they claim they know much more.
Their allegations, now confirmed under oath, are alarming. They claim that former ministers Carmelo Abela and Chris Cardona were involved in the 2010 HSBC heist and a cash van robbery at Sta Venera.
They claim that senior political figures, including ministers and persons of trust, were involved in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
They claim that innocent people are being pursued for her murder while the real culprits are being protected.
They allege that the sensitive information they provided to the police and Prime Minister Robert Abela was ignored.
George Degiorgio confirmed all this under oath before the court.
The Degiorgios declared they wanted the whole truth to come out. The Degiorgios have committed heinous crimes., but they still have an opportunity to provide some measure of closure.