Repubblika asks Court to order Ministers to publish source of secret Egrant inquiry quote

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2019-06-12T13:48:26+02:00Wed, 12th Jun '19, 13:48|0 Comments

 

Repubblika filed an application in court asking that Ministers Konrad Mizzi, Edward Scicluna and Chris Cardona are ordered to give it a copy of the document they quoted in court proceedings that appeared to be an extract of the unpublished Egrant inquiry.

Only around 50 of 1,500 pages of the inquiry were published by the Attorney General though copies were given to Justice Minister Owen Bonnici and the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. The inquiry was conducted by then Magistrate Aaron Bugeja on the Prime Minister’s own request and was tasked with gathering evidence on whether Joseph or Michelle Muscat owned secret Panama company Egrant.

The collection of evidence started the morning after the then owner of the bank, Iranian born, Kittittian citizen Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, was seen taking two bags out of the emergency exit of the bank in a filmed escape from the Pilatus Bank building late at night.

The surreptitious exit followed soon after Daphne Caruana Galizia reported the Pilatus Bank building contained evidence that Egrant belonged to Michelle Muscat, the Prime Minister’s wife.

On its conclusion the inquiry reported it did not find evidence to confirm this allegation.

However the inquiry was never published and the Attorney General successfully defended his position in court after Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia sued claiming he had a right to get a copy.

During the course of those proceedings the Attorney General, the Prime Minister and the Justice Minister testified on having ensured a tight control over the circulation of the unpublished portion of the Egrant report.

However in arguing against a claim made by Repubblika that an inquiry is opened to investigate three Minister’s possible involvement in crimes connected with the privatisation of three public hospitals, the Ministers quoted from what they said were the Egrant findings.

The text was not comparable with any of the published portions of the report.

According to the sworn testimonies of the Attorney General, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Justice, none of the three Ministers were supposed to have had sight of the unpublished portion of the document.

In an earlier application, Repubblika asked the Ministers to explain what exactly they were quoting but they responded by dismissing Repubblika’s right to even ask them anything.

In its most recent application Repubblika argued that a basic principle of legal procedure is for all parties to have equality of arms. If the Ministers are going to quote a document in their own defence, their accusers — Repubblika — and the Magistrate who is asked to decide whether an inquiry should commence, should have access to that document.

The case continues.