Some current prisoners could soon be summoned to Parliament to testify in a case involving an MP’s allegation that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had called a snap election to “get Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination out of the way”.
PN MP Jason Azzopardi, who is also the Caruana Galizia family’s lawyer, said he intends to summon a number of prisoners in an upcoming parliamentary committee to discuss whether his allegation was in breach of parliamentary privilege .
After Speaker Anġlu Farrugia ruled against Azzopardi this evening, the PN MP said he intends to appeal this decision, which will prompt a discussion and a vote. If government MPs vote in favour of Muscat, the issue will be referred to Parliament’s Privileges Committee.
“Here, I intend to summon several witnesses, some of whom are at prison,” Azzopardi said. “Then we’ll see who is telling the truth.”
Azzopardi made his shocking claim in Parliament last week moments after Homicide Inspector Kurt Zahra testified that murder suspect Yorgen Fenech had told police he had been informed of the government’s plan to call a snap election in December 2016, five months before it was called.
This was around the same time that the SIM cards used in the burner phones used to kill Caruana Galizia were purchased.
“In the best case scenario, Muscat called a snap election because he knew Daphne was going to expose the Montenegro scandal,” Azzopardi said.
“In the worst case scenario, Muscat knew in advance about the plot to kill her. His best buddy Yorgen, with whom he and Keith Schembri had shared a private WhatsApp chat, had known in December 2016.”
Muscat described this allegation as the worst abuse of parliamentary privilege he has ever seen and requested a ruling on the matter. After the Speaker ruled in his favour today, the former Prime Minister called for the abolition of parliamentary immunity.
Azzopardi defended his parliamentary speech, saying he mentioned two facts that emerged from a court sitting and interpreted them “in a logical and natural manner”.
“I know they were new facts to the public and shocked a number of people, but this doesn’t mean they weren’t true and that an MP cannot interpret them in a logical and natural manner,” he said. God forbid an MP cannot analyse, interpret and draw conclusions from forensically established facts. What kind of an MP would he be otherwise?”
In response, Muscat said Azzopardi can summon hundreds of witnesses if he likes but that “his lie will remain a lie”.
“He is now using legal language and saying he is ‘interpreting’, which means that what he said was based on what he ‘thinks’ and not on facts, in an attempt to smear me. His lie remains a lie.”