The Malta Independent 25 September 2022, Sunday
View E-Paper

Repubblika summons Joseph Muscat's lawyer to testify after Magistrate refuses to recuse herself

Thursday, 1 September 2022, 10:18 Last update: about 24 days ago

NGO Repubblika is summoning former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's lawyer Pawlu Lia to testify after his daughter-in-law, Magistrate Nadine Lia, refused to recuse herself.

Addressing the media on Thursday, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said that on 29 August, the magistrate ruled that Aquilina was making hearsay claims with regard to the magisterial inquiry, refusing to remove herself from the case.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Aquilina said the Pilatus Bank inquiry had called for charges against the bank, its chair Ali Sadr and five other people. It also called for fresh investigations to establish who owns the once-secret company Egrant. 

Pawlu Lia will now be asked to testify in order to confirm that he is the Magistrate’s father-in-law and that he is also the legal advisor of both Muscat and Keith Schembri, former OPM chief of staff.

Repubblika is saying that this relationship is relevant because of Muscat and Schembri’s close ties with Pilatus Bank and the Egrant case.

In a judicial letter over a month ago, Repubblika said that Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg’s refusal to press charges was unreasonable following a magisterial inquiry which revealed that Pilatus Bank officials should be prosecuted. This comes two weeks after Repubblika filed a judicial letter against Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa for not acting on the magisterial inquiry into Pilatus Bank.

The NGO had initiated the legal challenge after the police had failed to act on the findings of the inquiry. So far only one of several Pilatus officials has been charged in connection with the inquiry's findings, although the police deny there is deliberate procrastination.

Aquilina expressed his frustration in the case because instead of seeing the officials of Pilatus Bank investigated as the magisterial inquiry suggests, the magistrate is ordering the police to investigate Aquilina’s source for the magisterial inquiry.

Repubblika added that the AG chose not to prosecute the bank officials after receiving a 500,000 paged document from a magisterial inquiry which cost €7.5 million.

Aquilina said that he is not going to reveal where he got his source from. But he defended himself by saying that it was not something that he heard from someone else, he saw it with his own eyes.

Repubblika saw the decree as meaning that the magistrate saw nothing wrong in ruling a case where she would have to order the police to investigate a crime against the recent former client and close friends of her father-in-law, Pawlu Lia.

The NGO added that if the Magistrate were to continue to hear the case then she would have to address the conclusions of the 2017 magisterial inquiry where Pawlu Lia defended the potential ultimate beneficial owner of Egrant.

  • don't miss