Attorney General Peter Grech is to resign in early September, the President has announced.

Grech submitted his letter of resignation on Saturday, President George Vella said in a brief statement which did not include the resignation letter or provide any explanation for Grech's decision.

His resignation will be effective as of September 9, 2020. 

Prime Minister Robert Abela said he took note of Grech's decision and thanked him for his work during his term. 

Grech will leave the post after a decade in the job. He was appointed attorney general in September 2010, succeeding Silvio Camilleri after serving as his deputy for five years. 

His time as attorney general was marked by political and legal fallout from the 2016 Panama Papers data leak, which exposed the offshore dealings of a sitting minister, Konrad Mizzi, and the prime minister's chief of staff, Keith Schembri. 

Grech's decision not to pursue those cases led to him facing calls to step down by civil society activists and Opposition politicians. 

The Nationalist Party said Grech's resignation came late and proved that it had been right to accuse him of serving the ruling Labour Party's interests. 

Resignation comes late - PN

Opposition leader Adrian Delia celebrated news that Grech would be resigning.

"Another one bites the dust," Delia wrote on Facebook. 

"He failed our nation, he failed justice, he disgraced his office like none other." 

PN leadership candidate Bernard Grech said the resignation came when the attorney general found himself at the end of the line. 

"I hope that this office will as of today be allowed to serve its role in a fair and impartial manner," he said.  

PN MP Karol Aquilina said he had written to President Vella's office, asking for Grech's resignation letter to be made public. 

Aquilina published a copy of his request to his Facebook page.

NGO Repubblika said Grech's reasons for resigning should be made public and called for an investigation into his decisions as attorney general.

"We augur that Dr Grech’s replacement will be a person of integrity who will uphold the law above all else, and will not bend to any political will or partisan interests," the NGO said. 

It also called on the president to publish former prime minister Joseph Muscat's resignation letter.

Selecting a new attorney general

Work will now begin to identify a successor to replace Grech as attorney general. 

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis must establish an appointment commission made up of between two and four people, who will be responsible for assessing candidates who apply through an open call. 

The commission will either rank candidates in order of preference or else give the government its opinion on all of them. The Prime Minister will then select his favoured candidate, to be appointed by the president. 

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