A government that justifies Edward Zammit Lewis walking out of a Cabinet meeting as he did this morning in possession of any government papers apart from his souvenir copy of his resignation has no intention of implementing the findings of the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry.
Edward Zammit Lewis openly admits he was a “friend” of Yorgen Fenech. He openly admits he spoke to Yorgen Fenech about his personal and his party’s efforts to block the institutions from investigating 17 Black.
About him and his role, the inquiry spoke in clear and damning terms. In words you have already seen translated on this blog, the inquiry says:
Organised crime seeks to act safely under the veil of impunity, as a result of friendships, familiarity and shared interests with people in authority that could guarantee its protection from investigations and the prosecution of its criminal activities.
Then they proceed to make a list of people to make sure we understand who they have in mind. First, they start with a list of civil servants (Joe Bannister, Johann Buttigieg, Heathcliff Farrugia, Joseph Cuschieri, Lawrence Cutajar, and Silvio Valletta).
And then they refer to “similar allegations made about politicians including Joseph Muscat, Edward Zammit Lewis, Adrian Delia, and Pierre Portelli”.
Look at these brief comments Edward Zammit Lewis gave Jacob Borg this morning and look again at the quote above from the inquiry. He confirms “friendship”. And he is unable to deny he shared information with Yorgen Fenech about sharing information on his efforts to guarantee the protection of Yorgen Fenech from investigation and the prosecution of his criminal activities.
The inquiry also found Cabinet ministers responsible collectively for not doing anything when the Panama Papers and the 17 Black revelations emerged. They should have, the inquiry said. That means the inquiry does not accept the excuse of party loyalty or government collegiality. Public officials and politicians have a moral duty to uphold the law, to take sides with truth against lies, even if the lies are perpetrated by their party colleagues or directed by the party whip.
Almost as if he believed what he was saying, Edward Zammit Lewis told Jacob Borg this morning he had been following the instructions of his party. That is just the sort of Nuremberg defence that the inquiry found amounted to the viscous impunity that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia.
There’s an Opposition motion in Parliament now to withdraw confidence from Edward Zammit Lewis. There are no excuses now. The inquiry is out and all those Ministers who voted to hold on to Konrad Mizzi will now be asked not to make the same mistake.