2 December 2019
Joseph Muscat (in picture) told the nation Sunday night that he would resign in January, following pressure from angry citizens for the truth about the 2017 car bombing that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, an anti-corruption journalist. He said he had informed Malta’s president that he would quit as leader of the governing Labour Party on 12 January and that in the days after he would resign as prime minister.  He claimed that he had done justice in the case of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Hours earlier, nearly 20,000 Maltese protested outside a courthouse in the capital, Valletta, demanding that he step down in the largest such turnout of nearly daily protests in recent weeks.
But the slain reporter’s family contended Muscat’s leaving alone would not satisfy the anti-corruption activists who are determined that corruption and cronyism between politicians and business figures be rooted out. This is what Daphne Caruana Galizia gave her life for. Justice will be done to her only when corruption and cronyism are routed out in Malta. “People will be out in the streets again tomorrow,” tweeted one of her sons, Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is also a journalist.
Three hired killers – brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio and their friend Vincent Muscat, all in their fifties – have been charged with triggering the bomb in her car. Who hired them? So far, the investigators have not been able to find out.
Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri was allegedly linked to the killing. Schembri was among government members targeted by Caruana Galizia’s investigative reporting. Schembri, who resigned last week, was arrested in the probe but later released. He denies wrongdoing.
Yorgen Fenech, a prominent Maltese businessman, was arraigned on charges of alleged complicity in the killing and of allegedly organizing and financing the bombing. Fenech had requested immunity from prosecution promising to reveal information about government officials. His bid for immunity was rejected first by Muscat and later by Muscat’s Cabinet. Fenech is said to be a close associate of Schembri. Fenech is the owner of 17 Black, a company based in Dubai that was allegedly set up to transfer money to the Panamanian companies – Hearnville Inc and Tillgate Inc – owned by former energy minister Konrad Mizzi and Muscat’s former Chief of Staff Schembri. He has also said he has incriminating information about other members of Muscat political party.
In particular, she focused on investigative reporting into government corruption, nepotism, patronage, allegations of money laundering, links between Malta’s online gambling industry and organized crime, Malta’s citizenship-by-investment scheme, and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.
She exposed that minister Konrad Mizzi had companies in Panama and New Zealand to keep his ill-gotten gains. She also revealed that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, owned a similar trust in New Zealand which in turn held a Panama company. She alleged Michelle Muscat, wife of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat owned Egrant, another Panama company.
The title of Caruana’s last blog post before she was killed read, “That crook Schembri was in court today, pleading that he is not a crook”, ending with the line “there are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.” – Wikipedia.
European Parliament lawmakers were critical of Caruana Galizia’s murder and the functioning of rule of law in Malta. They are due to visit Malta in coming days.
mainichi.jp reported.