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15.11.2017

Still no justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia and MEPs demand action on Malta

By Jane Whyatt, research by Mira Swaminathan

New tributes continue for journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, one month after she was assassinated in a car bomb. And the corruption allegations she was investigating are now the subject of an official European Parliament resolution, following a debate on the Rule of Law in Malta.

Still no justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia but EU probes Malta Photo: European Parliament press room

In Strasbourg the press room of the European Parliament has being re-named in her honour at a  ceremony led by EP President Antonio Tajani. Her widower Peter Caruana Galizia told the press corps: “Daphne never grew cynical, she grew angrier, more outraged by the increasing and frightening facts that emerged from her work.“ Christophe Deloire of Reporters Without Borders said that her murder “left a scar on the earth.

The Parliament itself has voted to act on the Rule of Law in Malta, prompted by the revelations from Ms Caruana Galizia and other journalists working on the Malta Files. They are working undercover in European Investigative Collaborations EIC, a network of investigative journalists, and with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists ICIJ which is co-ordinating the massive data dump known as the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers. 

In its resolution the European Parliament calls for an independent international investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia; acknowledges the Maltese authorities’ moves to invite the participation of international law enforcement bodies, including the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Dutch forensic specialists in this regard; calls for the full involvement of Europol in the investigation for its duration.

MEPs also voted for an annual prize to be awarded in her name for outstanding investigative journalism.

Caruana Galizia gave evidence to EP inquiry

Back in February 2017, the European Parliament’s Panama Papers Committee sent a fact-finding committee to Malta, chaired by German Christian Democrat MEP Werner Langen. The MEPs met Daphne Caruana Galizia and other journalists. In the official report of the mission it is noted:

Daphne Caruana Galizia (blogster) said that the Panama Papers reveal much more than tax evasion; they reveal crimes and corruption. She was opposed to the facilities offered by the Maltese law, such as the citizenship programme (possibility to buy ‘suspicious’ Maltese citizenship) or the possibility to have nominee shareholders, directors,... She said that politicians from both sides blamed her because she “damages” the image of the country with her articles.“

Key players in the alleged corruption network refused to meet the EP fact-finders and offered to send written evidence instead: Ninu Zammit, Former Minister of Energy (did not reply to the invitation) Keith Schembri, Prime Minister’s chief of staff (declined and transmitted to the chairman a letter on the day of the visit), Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna (Managing Partner) or Mr Karl Cini (Tax Partner) (refused to appear in person but is ready to reply in writing to any question Members might have),

The Finance Minister Edward Scicluna did meet the committee but denied that Malta is a tax haven.  “He confirmed that the relevant authorities launched investigations following the revelations of the Panama Papers, including concerning politically exposed persons. He cannot, however, comment on individual cases,“ the report states.

Critical report by MEPs

Malta was holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union at the time. Yet even under this strong spotlight of international attention, the relevant Maltese authorities do not seem to have co-operated with the MEPs. Their mission report is critical: 

The institutions in charge of implementing and enforcing rules as regards tax fraud and money laundering are highly politicised. The press is also highly politicised.“

It is against this background that the investigation into Ms Caruana Galizia’s murder has so far led to no arrests nor suspects being named.

The government, led by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, is offering a one million-euro reward for information about the bombing. But Caruana Galizia’s family has refused to endorse the official reward. They are calling instead for the resignation of the prime minister, the police commissioner and the attorney general. They insisted that no members of the government be allowed to attend her funeral, where more than one and a half thousand mourners packed the island’s biggest church to pay their respects.

Silent march in memory of murdered journalist

A silent procession was organised on 16th November in the Maltese capital Valletta in memory of the 53 year old investigative reporter. Organiser Tina Urso posted on social media: “This is not a protest. We do not want any speakers. This will be a silent, reflective walk. A walk where everyone should think about what role they are playing in fighting for drastic changes in this country.“

Those taking part were asked to bring flowers, candles and bay leaves to refresh the memorial space. Sharing the appeal for another show of strength, one month after his mother’s death, Matthew Caruana Galizia quoted a short phrase from the poem 'The Present Crisis’ by James Russell Lowell:-

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne - Yet that scaffold sways the future

The poem continues more hopefully...

And beyond the dim unknown

Standeth God between the shadows

Keeping watch over his own.

And whoever it was who actually planted and detonated the bomb that took his mother's life, Matthew Caruana Galizia has made it known that he is in no doubt about who is to blame.







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