The Malta Independent 14 November 2019, Thursday

TMIS Editorial: Credit where it is due and the people’s right know

Sunday, 20 October 2019, 11:30 Last update: about 25 days ago

The dogged determination on the part of the Leader of the Opposition to have access to the full Egrant magisterial inquiry is not being given enough credit where it is certainly due.

After all, the man could very easily have let the whole thing slide into oblivion, especially considering how the infamous conclusions that emerged from the magisterial inquiry, the full extent of which is being kept under lock and key by the only people who supposedly have access to it, only harms two of the perpetual thorns in the side – the late Daphne Caruana Galizia and former opposition leader Simon Busuttil. 

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After all, the latter had fallen on his sword on account of the mere conclusions of that report, while the Prime Minister has even gone so far as to have failed at blackmailing the deceased journalist’s family into admitting her stories on the subject matter had been nothing but a pack of lies, in return from dropping the libel cases he continues to pursue against her.

Politically speaking, that would have been the easiest route for this particular opposition leader to have taken.  But instead, he continues to fight the battle at every pass even though the very people who are also fighting on the same front appear to mock his efforts.

On the other hand, even if he is unsuccessful in his legal bid, the case he has lodged would have still shown the completely inexplicable stubbornness and hypocrisy on the part of the government when it comes to all things Egrant and the release of the full inquiry, which it is still steadfastly refusing to do.

And for those members of the public more removed from the tragedy than members of Caruana Galizia’s family, and as such a less traumatised by the events of 16 October 2017, they should be reminded that what Delia is doing through his court attempts could actually put paid, if successful, to much of what Caruana Galizia had revealed during her lifetime.

He was back in court this week in his bid to gain access to the top secret inquiry, on an issue of such national importance, and to which only four people – the Prime Minister himself, since he requested the inquiry, his justice minister, his former spokesperson and the Attorney General - have apparently been given access.

The case now revolves around if and how three other government ministers had been given illicit access to the inquiry after it was revealed in separate proceedings that Ministers Chris Cardona, Edward Scicluna and Konrad Mizzi had obtained information which had not featured in the published conclusions of the Egrant report, and presented them in court.

On Monday, a Constitutional Court told the ministers’ lawyer that it was ‘not amused’ by a last-minute application to not have the ministers testify that same day in a case filed by Delia.

The ministers had been summoned to testify about how an unpublished extract of the top secret Egrant report ended up being quoted by them in court submissions on the Vitals inquiry, and Delia is looking for a declaration from the ministers to the effect that they had taken the extracts from the Egrant inquiry which they are not meant to have seen.

The Constitutional Court judgment, despite not being amused, upheld the eleventh-hour for the ministers not to testify, meaning forced to answer questions which could lead to them facing criminal action.

Delia yesterday noted how the Court had not forced the ministers to testify so as not to incriminate themselves.  That, in itself, is a problem.

Someone somewhere is not telling the truth. Either the Attorney General had fibbed when he said who he had presented the full report to, or the ministers had received the information from other sources.  Otherwise, how on Earth could they have presented extracts in court from a report that the country is told they have not seen?

Given the national importance of the issue, and as the opposition said yesterday, the people have the right to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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