The Malta Independent 2 June 2023, Friday
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Terrified of the truth

Kevin Cassar Sunday, 19 March 2023, 07:43 Last update: about 3 months ago

“There is no need for a public inquiry,” Robert Abela insisted. Jean Paul Sofia’s family is pleading for a public inquiry to reveal the circumstances leading to his horrific death. But Abela is unmoved.

He came up with one pathetic excuse after another to resist the clamour for a public inquiry. Those excuses are straight out of Joseph Muscat’s playbook. 


Abela claimed that “a public inquiry is nothing more than a ministerial inquiry by a number of persons appointed by the minister and who have no security of tenure” (pronounced ‘ten year’ by Abela).

Those were the very same excuses Muscat gave for resisting a public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination.  On 22 September 2018, a full year after her murder, Muscat was cornered by a BBC crew in Brussels.  They asked him why he was still resisting a public inquiry.  His pathetic comments were broadcast on BBC4 Today programme.  “Investigators need to be given the space to investigate,” he commented. “I’m not too sure that a second public inquiry can lead to a better result,” Muscat bluffed.  There was no public inquiry. He was misleading the BBC by referring to a “second” public inquiry. 

Abela’s doing the same. He’s slagging off the opposition for supporting the family in calling for a public inquiry.  He’s dishonestly claiming that “the call for a parallel inquiry is a call by the opposition that introduces mistrust in the process led by the inquiring magistrate”.

Muscat, through his mouthpiece Attorney General Peter Grech, now benefitting from a third Labour direct contract running into tens of thousands of euro, accused the Caruana Galizia family of “unsubstantiated claims, baseless innuendo and incorrect information”.  Abela, in his patronising tone, is similarly rubbishing the request for an inquiry by Sofia’s family.

In December 2018, Muscat’s government voted down a motion by the Opposition calling for a public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination. Muscat claimed that holding a public inquiry in parallel with the criminal investigation would jeopardise the investigation. Abela is copying his mentor. “I believe that a public inquiry, in contrast to what the PN is trying to capitalise on, hinders, not helps the pursuit of justice”.

That’s absolute crap. Despite his vociferous protest, Muscat was forced to set up a public inquiry by the Council of Europe. It didn’t hinder the criminal investigation. Despite Abela’s harassment of the inquiry board, the report was concluded and published.

Abela knows the difference between a magisterial investigation and a public inquiry.

The biggest difference is that a public inquiry is, well, public. Everybody can follow hearings and view the evidence.  And read the final report.  That’s very different from the magistrate’s proces verbal which is effectively secret.  Only the Attorney General gets to see that.  Copies may be given to 3rd parties but only the AG decides who gets one.

We all know what happened with Egrant.  The AG handed it over to Joseph Muscat, who gave it to several of his friends.  He then published convenient sections and deviously concealed others.  We never knew that the Egrant report recommended Karl Cini should be prosecuted for perjury.  We got to see the full report only because Adrian Delia won his legal case. The court found that his fundamental rights had been breached and ordered the AG to give a copy to Delia who published it.

We never found out what the Pilatus report contained. We still don’t.  We only know snippets of the recommendations. Some conscientious soul was so outraged with Labour’s perversion of justice that they leaked it.

What’s happened to countless magisterial reports about prison suicides?  They’re kept hidden. We know nothing of what they contain.

We know exactly what Abela does with reports.  He kept the Miriam Pace report hidden for months.  Only intense pressure from the grieving family made him finally release it. What has he done with its recommendations?  Practically nothing. That’s exactly why Jean Paul Sofia faced the same macabre end as Pace - because Abela sought to protect his business partners and party funders, the developers with his inaction.

Abela did the same with the Caruana Galizia report.  He promised he would implement its recommendations.  Almost two years later he’s implemented none. He only set up a media experts committee and stuffed it with his loyalists like Saviour Balzan and Saviour Formosa.

In his desperate attempt to silence the deafening calls for a public inquiry, Abela publicly humiliates the magistrate: “We have an inquiring magistrate who, for reasons I do not know, has taken more than 3 months to conclude her inquiry”. “The Miriam Pace report was completed in just one month,” he added.  Gone is his mantra that we should leave the institutions to work in serenity.  He’s publicly assaulting the magistrate, knowing full well she can’t defend herself. He’s pinning the blame on her.

Abela vetoes the public inquiry for one reason. He’s terrified of the truth.  His entire project is built on lies and secrecy.  His hold on power depends on it.  He’s been burnt by the Caruana Galizia inquiry and its humiliating exposure of Joseph Muscat, Glenn Bedingfield, Anglu Farrugia, Edward Scicluna, Owen Bonnici.

Abela has too much to hide - he knows that Kordin timber factory was being built illegally on government property.  Its architect, Adriana Zammit, hadn’t even filed a commencement notice or obtained clearance from the Building and Construction Agency. Abela knows the BCA, the Planning Authority, the OHSA all failed their duty. That factory was being built by Serbian contractors who weren’t even registered because Abela failed to set up a register he’d promised for three years.

Abela is guilty of Sofia’s death. He is responsible. Six months after Miriam Pace died Abela promised construction reforms “next month”.  They never came.  Abela was too busy attacking the judiciary, posing for photos, dining with developers and spewing insults at the opposition.

He’s afraid of a public inquiry. He’s terrified of the truth. Because once the truth is out he can’t bury it.

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