Malta judges set to conclude report into murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia

The findings will have to be made public within eight working days

Hannah Roberts
Friday 16 July 2021 08:21
Comments
<p>The investigative journalist was killed while driving in 2017</p>

The investigative journalist was killed while driving in 2017

When a bomb exploded in Malta in October 2017, killing an investigative journalist, it sent a shockwave across the island and began to peel back the curtain on a murky underworld of political corruption in the European Union’s smallest country.

Campaigning journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in October 2017 as she investigated a grid of companies that she believed were channeling kickbacks to Maltese politicians.

Today, a panel of judges should announce they have concluded an inquiry into the assassination, but it is as yet unclear if they will immediately make their findings public.

The case forced the resignation of the prime minister Joseph Muscat in 2019 and the country’s evident failure to tackle political graft and money laundering was a key factor in its recent grey listing by the The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.

The independent inquiry, separate to a police investigation, looked into whether and how far the state was responsible for Caruana Galizia’s death or neglected to prevent it. Witness testimony has raised concerns about endemic corruption, political involvement in the murder, and obstruction of justice.

The inquiry only took place after fierce resistance from the government which only caved after two years of sustained international pressure and demands from her family.

In a Facebook note posted the day after the murder, her son Matthew, also a journalist, wrote: “This was no ordinary murder... We are at war against the state and organised crime, which have become indistinguishable.”

Since it began its work there have been concerns over conflict of interest of some of the board members, and the terms of reference, and international press freedom NGOs have denounced interference.

Caruana Galizia reported on financial crimes, money laundering and fraud by elected and public officials.

The inquiry heard testimony from dozens of witnesses, including investigators, politicians and journalists describing the murder scene and detailing threats to Caruana Galizia.  Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat criticised the inquiry for overreaching while giving evidence for five hours.

In December 2020, Special Rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Pieter Omtzigt wrote: “In a few months, the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry has done more to expose the corruption, misgovernment and criminal conspiracies that plagued Malta at the time of her death than all of the endless, opaque and ineffectual magisterial inquiries put together.”

The board must publish the report within eight working days, according to the terms of reference. The prime minister must also table the report in parliament within five working days of receiving it.

Expectations of any reforms coming out of the inquiry are limited in the build up to an election, potentially scheduled for next year.

Almost four years after the murder there have been no convictions although four men have been charged supplying and triggering the bomb. An accomplice Vincent Muscat who turned state’s witness told police that the killers were paid 150,000 euros to murder Caruana Galizia. They used a bomb bought from Maltese gangsters and supplied by the Italian mafia, he said.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in