Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has issued a statement in the wake of a damning report by the board of the public inquiry linked to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The board of inquiry investigating the assassination argued that while Muscat was not directly responsible, his actions had led to a culture of impunity that allowed the murder to take place.
The inquiry also noted that while it could not state with confidence that the Maltese government was being run by the mafia, the happenings leading up to the assassination were leading the country in that direction and would have done so had the murder not happened.
In a statement, Muscat said:
“There can never be any justification for the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. What happened on 16 October 2017 made me resolute not to act like my predecessors who paid lip service but did nothing about homicides that rocked the country.”
“I must remark that the reservations I had about the Inquiry’s departure from its original Terms of Reference which I illustrated at length during my five-hour testimony last December, still stand, were not adequately addressed, and are further confirmed by the conclusions.”
“It is to be noted that the Inquiry found that the State had no prior knowledge of, or was involved in the assassination. The report also unequivocally states that I was in no way implicated in the murder. While the Inquiry expressed its disapproval on my political judgement in the aftermath of the Panama Papers, it failed to point out that I took the decision to fetch another mandate in the following months, where the electorate judged me even on how I managed the situation.”
“While the Inquiry affirms that a state of impunity was created, it fails to adequately acknowledge that the alleged hitmen were apprehended in less than two months and the alleged mastermind a few months later, following investigations involving amongst others Europol and FBI. This fact disproves any impression of impunity that the alleged perpetrators may have had. I maintain that there was impunity in cases before my term in office, where high profile crimes were committed but nobody was ever prosecuted.”
“I will not put much credence in the persistent rumours that third parties had access to a draft report prior to its publication. Nevertheless, clarity needs to be made on a statement made yesterday by the Leader of the Opposition, indicating he knew when the report would be handed over. He also referred to proposals in the report. The proposals were not mentioned in the Terms of Reference, and while their inclusion is totally legitimate and important, one has to question how the Leader of the Opposition was aware of such a section in the report.”
“Furthermore, he delved deeper stating his agreement with the report’s proposals, and asking for their implementation, even before the report was handed over to government. One wonders how he knew about these details or if it is customary for him to agree beforehand with something he did not know the contents of. Moreover, the fact that extracts from the report found themselves in the public domain before the actual publication is questionable.”
“In conclusion, despite the very serious reservations on the shortcomings of the Inquiry, I accept the said conclusions as I have always done in the past out of respect for the Institutions. I do hope that others will accept the result of other Inquiries by members of the same judiciary, such as the Egrant case, rather than continuously casting ill-founded doubts on them.”
“As I said when I announced I would be stepping down from Prime Minister, I was doing so to shoulder responsibilities which were mine and also those which were not, including those mentioned in this Inquiry. I paid the ultimate political price for this.”
What do you think of Muscat’s statement?