Former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi has said Matthew Caruana Galizia was right to call for the resignation of Speaker Anglu Farrugia over his refusal to punish PL MP Rosianne Cutajar.
“We can’t keep behaving like this… Matthew Caruana Galizia is right in his letter to the Speaker,” Gonzi said, referring to the assassinated journalist’s call for Farrugia’s resignation.
“We are making a mockery over the role of Standards Commissioner and it is now clear that all those speeches about ‘standards’ were nothing but empty words with no substance.”
Caruana Galizia recently wrote to Farrugia to demand his resignation after he refused to punish Cutajar in the wake of a Standards Commissioner report which found her in breach of parliamentary ethics for failing to declare money she received from murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.
Although Cutajar has denied receiving any money from a property sale to Fenech that she helped broker, she has admitted to receiving a €9,000 birthday present from the murder suspect but has insisted she didn’t know she had to declare gifts as part of her income.
“You have made an extraordinary effort to protect an MP who accepted a bribe from a person on track to be prosecuted for high-level corruption, a bribe to fuel the MP’s campaign against justice for my mother,” Caruana Galizia wrote in his letter to the Speaker.
Recalling how Farrugia had – as a police officer – jailed his mother “for simply attending a protest against government violence, Caruana Galizia “first harassed my mother in life, and is now harassing her in death”.
He said Farrugia’s decision to protect a “corrupt” MP instead of protecting the interests of parliamentary democracy was a betrayal of his duty to the country, as well as a betrayal of his mother, who made the ultimate sacrifice, and a betrayal of his role as Speaker.
Farrugia dismissed Caruana Galizia’s call for his resignation by sending him a letter through his lawyer Ian Refalo, which lambasted his statement as “unfounded and vexatious”.
Gonzi, who served as Speaker of the House between 1988 and 1996, warned that Farrugia’s response was not on.
“When has a Speaker, who speaks in the name of the government and Opposition, ever responded to citizens’ complaints by using a legal letter to try and shut them up?” he asked.
Gonzi also recalled a speech he recently gave to mark Parliament’s 100th anniversary in which he said the country’s highest institution has a duty to address shocking events in society, including the assassinations of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Lassana Cisse and the death of irregular migrants at sea.
Cover photo: Left: Lawrence Gonzi, Centre: Anglu Farrugia, Right: Matthew Caruana Galizia
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