A judge’s decision to halt a magisterial inquiry into the Vitals Global Healthcare deal has landed him in hot water after lawyer Andrew Borg Cardona and the NGO Repubblika filed a complaint with the Commission for the Administration of Justice.
“[Judge Giovanni Grixti’s decision] shows a loss of respect to the judicial process,” the group said.
In May, Repubblika launched a court application demanding a criminal inquiry that focused on the three ministers involved in the controversial €2.1 billion concession to run three state hospitals, Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona, and Edward Scicluna.
The three ministers were accused of facilitating a “coordinated” “act of modern-day piracy”, “corruption and money laundering, among other crimes” which saw VGH’s investor leave a debt of €50 million.
Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit initially acceded to the request, before an appeal went before Justice Grixti. The judge ruled that journalistic investigations used in Repubblika’s report were simply opinions and not suitable enough to start an inquiry.
Repubblika has since submitted a fresh request.
Saying that the judge “occupies a parallel universe”, the group said that arguments of the presumption of innocence had no place in this current stage, while also adding a series of facts to pour water on the judge’s “opinions” claim.
The Commission for the Administration is the organ that supervises the judiciary, effectively a place where judges are judged. Consisting of a committee include three members of the judiciary and other representatives, which includes the Prime Minister’s personal lawyer Pawlu Lia.