No sitting or former politicians seem to be connected to the evidence that Vince Koħħu Muscat is giving as part of the deal which led him to being sentenced for 15 years for the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Prime Minister Robert Abela said tonight.
Abela was responding to questions from the press at a press conference in Castille where he hailed the deal reached with Muscat who pleaded guilty earlier today and was granted a presidential pardon for his involvement in another 2015 murder.
“This is another step in the process to heal this wound and give justice to Daphne Caruana Galizia and her family, as well as the country,” Abela said.
The Prime Minister said the presidential pardon which was given to Muscat for evidence relating to the 2015 murder of lawyer Carmel Chircop will be published shortly and is dependent on him returning the payment he got for this murder.
Abela, who had in recent years served as the lawyer of two of the alleged bomb makers arrested today, denied any conflict of interest in the presidential pardon decision.
“I will never abdicate from my duties… there was no conflict of interest,” Abela said, when asked whether he should have been involved in the presidential pardon for Muscat.
Abela said he had faith in the Police Commissioner and in the Attorney General, who both recommended Muscat should get a presidential pardon, a decision that was endorsed by the President George Vella.
Muscat’s guilty plea will also allow him to testify in the case against others involved in the Caruana Galizia murder.
Abela said that today’s arrests were confirmation that the institutions of Malta were working and leading to effective results, thanks in part to an unprecedented wave of reforms and investment in resources.
Muscat was today sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges related to the murder.
In exchange, Muscat will testify in the case against George Degiorgio and Alfred Degiorgio, the two brothers who were also charged with carrying out the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. He will also likely testify in other cases.
Muscat was also granted a presidential pardon for the murder of lawyer Carmel Chircop. It is believed he is also giving information on this and other crimes.
Since the plea, three men, Adrian Agius, Robert Agius, and Jamie Vella, were arrested on suspicion that they supplied the bomb for the assassination. There are also questions as to whether the men were involved in the spate of car bombings that occurred in the lead-up to the assassination.
There had been 19 car bombs between 2010 and 2017. With practically all of the victims linked to the criminal underworld, they were often forgotten by the Maltese public while authorities found many dead ends.
Muscat has been angling for a pardon or reduced sentence for the better part of three years, insisting he could provide crucial information on the assassination, several other murders, a notorious HSBC heist, and other crimes. He has allegedly implicated a sitting minister in a “very serious” crime to investigators.
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