I have been fielding many questions from international journalists this morning about what’s going on in Malta. One of them asked me a question that stumped me. Why is the prime minister briefing the press on a police investigation? Why doesn’t the police do it?
For us so close to this story the question slips our mind. The mental picture of Lawrence Cutajar explaining anything is not far from having Diego Maradona doing it. His Deputy Silvio Valletta? He’s compromised by his marriage to a government minister.
But if that’s not acceptable how is it acceptable for the prime minister to present himself to us as chief investigator in a crime that now is clear to everyone was motivated by corruption involving his two most intimate associates?
Joseph Muscat told journalists this morning no politician is implicated in the murder. He said ‘so far’ as if he wants to allow for the possibility that this might happen. Then when it doesn’t happen, he says that’s because no politician participated in Daphne’s assassination and not because he was controlling the investigations.
The arrest of Yorgen Fenech does not mean Yorgen Fenech is guilty. That is only determined when he’s charged, tried and convicted.
But it does show the authorities agree with us that Daphne was killed because of her journalism, specifically the story of corruption involving Yorgen Fenech, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.
Therefore, whether the latter two were involved in the murder or not is for the investigators to determine, necessarily without Joseph Muscat’s clearly conflicted supervision.
But whether there is political accountability to be carried now should not be something we get too confused about. It’s nothing we have to wait more for. Joseph Muscat has been telling us for three years that he will decide on whether to fire Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi ‘after the facts emerge’. What bloody facts is he waiting for? Aren’t the facts that led the army to chase Yorgen Fenech’s yacht back inland enough for him to decide?
No? But they’re enough for the rest of us to decide.
If you’re reading this, please understand that they will stay there if they can. Joseph Muscat is even asking you to thank him that Yorgen Fenech was arrested, implicitly admitting that institutions in Malta act depending on whether Joseph Muscat wants them to or not. Please understand that this is not the way it should work. Institutions should work independently of the prime minister, not because of him.
He shouldn’t be leading these investigations. He should be resigning on the basis of what is already publicly known.
If you’re reading this, don’t let him get away with it.