This series by Godfrey Leone Ganado continues from the earlier series ‘Joseph Muscat’s oath’ and looks into what Owen Bonnici testified in the proceedings brought by Leader of Opposition Adrian Delia against the Attorney General for not giving him a copy of the full report of the Egrant inquiry.
As he had done with the Joseph Muscat series this series will carry extracts from the transcripts of the testimony given by Owen Bonnici. The questions are being numbered and grouped by the author, to make references easier. The transcripts are being reproduced in the original Maltese.
Please also note that the author has not corrected the spelling errors in the transcripts. Incorrect transcripts may condition the interpretation used in the court judgements.
Dr Vincent Galea: Mela meta sirt taf li giet konkluza l-inkjesta jekk joghgbok allura, l-ewwel darba li sirt taf?
Dr Owen Bonnici: Iva jiena sirt naf is-Sibt filghodu, jigifieri biex niftiehem ahjar, is-Sibt qed niehdu lejliet il-gurnata fejn il-Prim Ministru ghamel il-konferenza stampa tieghu l-Hadd filghodu. Jien sirt naf is-Sibt filghodu iva.
Dr Vincent Galea: Minghand min jekk joghgbok?
Dr Owen Bonnici: Jien s ikkomunika mieghi l-Avukat Generali, cempilli Dr Peter Grech u infurmani li l-inkjesta tal-Egrant giet konkluza u infurmani wkoll li kien ser johrog stqarrija li ser jinformal l-pubbliku b’dan il-fatt, jigifieri ma qalx biss lili imma ftit minuti wara filfatt harget stqarrija fejn Dr Grech ghazel u nahseb ghamel tajjeb li jinforma lill-pubbliku b’dak li kien ghadu kemm qal lili ftit minuti qabel.
Dr Vincent Galea: Ftit tal-hin ilu ghidtilna illi l-Avukat Generali jgawdi awtonomija, had ma jindahallu,
Dr Owen Bonnici: U hekk hu.
Dr Vincent Galea: Allura x’kien l-iskop tal-Avukat Generali li jcempel lill-Ministru tal-Gvern jew lill-Ministru tieghu u int ghidtilna li politikament l-Ufficcju tal-Avukat Generali jaqa’ tahtek biex jighidlu illi l-inkjesta kienet lesta jekk joghgbok?
Dr Owen Bonnici: Ara jien infurmat li l-inkjesta kienet ghaddiet ghand l-Avukat Generali lejliet, il-Gimgha u infurmani biha Dr Grech is-Sibt filghodu, jigifieri l-inkjesta ghaddiet ghand l-Avukat Generali il-Gimgha filghaxija u jiena gejt infurmat is-Sibt filghodu. Infurmani Dr Grech ftit minuti qabel infurma lill-bqija tal-pajjiz dwar din l-inkjesta.
Dr Vincent Galea: Ma staqsejtx inti jekk kinetx lesta l-inkjesta jew hekk?
Dr Owen Bonnici: Le Dr Grech ikkomunika mieghi u qalli Ministru irrid ninfurmak illi l-inkjesta tal-Egrant qeghda fl-ufficju tieghi ghax giet konkluza u qalli wkoll li ser junfurma l-pubbliku dwar dak li kien ghadu kemm qalli u jien naturalment ghidtlu iva. Ghidtlu iva, fis-sens ghidtlu noted fis-sens.
Dr Vincent Galea: Fil-pussess tieghek din l-inkjesta issa meta giet ghandek jekk joghgbok, l-ewwel darba?
Dr Owen Bonnici: Giet ghandi s-Sibt, numru ta’ sighat wara t-telefonata, jigifieri infurmani s-Sibt filghodu, giet ghandi wara.
Dr Vincent Galea: Minghand min?
Dr Owen Bonnici: Minghand Pawlu Lia.
Dr Vincent Galea: Dr Lia ghaddijilek, ghadda kopja lilek?
Dr Owen Bonnici – you said twice that you got to know that the inquiry report had been concluded. In fact, you said that Dr Peter Grech, the Attorney General, called you on Saturday morning to inform you and that he also told you that he was going to issue a press release to inform the public. In fact, you said that he issued the statement a few minutes after he spoke to you.
You also testified that you are informed that the inquiry report was received by the AG, the day before, that is, on Friday.
Please note that the Prime Minister testified that you informed him about it on Saturday morning, and in fact, he tweeted about it at 11.28 am that same morning.
I must comment that I am quite surprised that the AG did not inform the Prime Minister, the author and subject of the inquiry before he informed you. I also find it hard to believe that, if the AG and you, knew about it on Friday, the Prime Minister was not immediately informed, particularly knowing that he was very anxious to know whether the magistrate’s conclusions were a ‘cut and paste’ of his terms of reference for the inquiry.
Dr Owen Bonnici – you told the Court, “u jien naturalment ghidtlu iva,” when the AG informed you that he was going to issue a public statement. This may have been a slip of the tongue, because you immediately corrected it by saying, “Ghidtlu iva, fis-sens ghidtlu noted”. Again, here I must say that I find it hard to believe that the AG informed you and not the Prime Minister about the statement. I am also surprised that the Prime Minister did not say whether you had informed him about this statement. Just as much as I question whether the Prime Minister and the AG discussed the report before a hard copy reached him late in the afternoon through his lawyer, Dr Pawlu Lia.
Dr Owen Bonnici – You said twice that you received a hard copy of the full Egrant inquiry report from Dr Pawlu Lia. Do you know that the Prime Minister, when asked whether he had passed on a copy to you, testified that he thinks, “jidhirli”, that it was the AG who had passed a copy to you? In fact, you said that Dr Pawlu Lia communicated with you and gave you a hard copy of the inquiry.