The Malta Independent 25 September 2022, Sunday
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‘No substantiated evidence of corruption’ by Joseph Muscat, lawyers tell MEP delegation

Thursday, 14 July 2022, 18:12 Last update: about 3 months ago

There is no substantiated evidence of corruption by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his lawyers have told a delegation of MEPs which looked into the state of rule of law in Malta.

The lawyers objected to remarks made by MEPs on Wednesday wherein they stated that Muscat continues to enjoy impunity from prosecution for serious and substantiated evidence of corruption, including through NAO and FIAU reports as well as comments by Daphne Caruana Galizia.

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The delegation "expressed concern about the impunity afforded to key figures in the Muscat administration, including of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff Keith Schembri, and former cabinet minister Konrad Mizzi, who remain unprosecuted for serious and substantiated evidence of corruption, including through NAO and FIAU reports and evidence published by the late Daphne Caruana Galizia."

Muscat, through his lawyers, objected to “the unfounded assertion made with regards to Muscat given that it is completely baseless.”

The MEPs, who made up the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee, carried out a fact-finding missing in May before publishing a report on Wednesday.

His lawyers cited various reasons to back up their claims.

“There is no report by the NAO that mentions Dr Muscat or points at him in the way you mentioned; There is to our knowledge no FIAU report that mentions Dr Muscat or points at him in the way you mentioned,” the lawyers state.

“The only time that Daphne Caruana Galizia accused Dr Muscat of taking any money was within the context of the Egrant story.  A fully fledged inquiry by an independent magistrate was conducted and found that not only were claims unsubstantiated but that documents were fabricated and signatures forged by third parties in an attempt to frame Dr Muscat and his wife,” they added.

“Moreover, there is no "substantiated evidence of corruption" anywhere in the public domain or elsewhere in regards to Dr Muscat,” the statement continues.

The lawyers said that not only is Muscat “not enjoying any impunity” but that he was subjected to a “heavy handed” early morning police search at his home, which included his daughters’ phones being confiscated.

“This search was widely discussed in political circles antagonistic to Muscat before it took place, something which is documented, while the person who filed the request for investigation was positioned outside the property observing the supposedly secret operation,” they lawyers say.

They said that this “undermines the rule of law and any credibility which is necessary for such an investigation to be taken seriously, and indicates considerable political undertones, especially when Muscat himself had requested to testify in the said inquiry to no avail.”

The lawyers said that while as a former Member of the European Parliament, their client Muscat “understands and accepts the role of the Civil Liberties Committee to make political assessments, with which one might or might not concur, he cannot accept unsubstantiated statements taken out of the political context and put as facts in the judicial sphere.”

They said that the statement “potentially prejudices Muscat's fundamental rights and can be used by political players to exert undue pressure on institutions to conform with the delegation's position even if no such situation exists.”

Thus, they asked “to rectify the situation with immediate effect to reflect the above in order to be not only politically, but also legally and factually correct.”

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