The Malta Independent 2 December 2023, Saturday
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Updated: Inquiry into roles of Prime Minister, AFM in migrant operations concluded

Wednesday, 27 May 2020, 16:02 Last update: about 5 years ago

A magisterial inquiry that looked into claims that the Prime Minister and the army commander were responsible for a number of migrant deaths and that an AFM crew sabotaged a migrant vessel has been concluded, according to reports.

The inquiry was launched after civil society NGO Repubblika filed two criminal complaints. It said PM Robert Abela and Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi were responsible for the deaths of a group of migrants on Easter weekend, while the P52 had “intentionally” sabotaged another migrant vessel. The NGO later presented evidence showing that there was no sabotage and that the crew had engaged the engine’s kill-switch as part of a normal rescue procedure.


Times of Malta said the inquiry, led by Magistrate Joe Mifsud, has been concluded and will now be handed over to the Attorney General. The PM is expected to write to the AG for a copy of the inquiry, the newspaper said.

The P52

Controversy had erupted over PN MP Jason Azzopardi’s role as one of the lawyers representing Repubblika. He had later withdrawn his brief. Prime Minister Abela had blasted Repubblika’s actions, saying that there were some who wanted to put him and 12 soldiers in prison. He had also said that the work of the AFM had been hindered at a sensitive time when the country was dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Magistrate Mifsud has interviewed dozens of army members over the past few weeks.

Repubblika expressed surprise that the inquiry has reportedly been concluded, saying that it is not normal for inquiries of this type to be concluded in such a short time.

There are inquiries into the actions of Maltese politicians that have been pending for years, it said. Yet this one was concluded in a month.

Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi

It also said that, if the Prime Minister is to be given a copy of the inquiry, the document should be published in full for everyone to see.

The NGO said it had done the right thing to call for an investigation in view of the refusal, by the government and the army, to answer questions.

Repubblika said it hopes that the institutions made every effort to ensure that justice is done with the 12 people who lost their lives "in our seas." This includes the police, "who have given no indication that they have investigated our complaint," it said.

The NGO said that, whatever the outcome of the inquiry, its action has uncovered secret pushback operations that have been stopped as a result of the inquiry.





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