Repubblika has asked the courts to allow it to play an active part in criminal cases against Joseph Muscat, Chris Fearne and others.

The rule of law NGO on Tuesday filed formal court requests to be admitted into the money laundering cases as an injured party.

Repubblika had triggered the investigations into Muscat and his ministers by filing criminal complaints in 2019 and 2021 about the deal to privatise three state hospitals.

Those investigations led to the Attorney General pressing criminal charges against roughly two dozen people and various companies in connection with the deal. They include Muscat, a former prime minister, and his former deputy Fearne, who resigned from cabinet last week.

Those cases will begin before Magistrates Rachel Montebello and Leonard Caruana on May 28 and 29 respectively.

The deal to privatise three state hospitals, signed by the Muscat government, was annulled by a civil court last year following a case filed by former PN leader Adrian Delia.  

In its request to join the criminal court cases, Repubblika noted that its 155-page report in 2019 had formed the basis of the investigation and that it had filed a second report two years later about Muscat’s alleged involvement.

“Money laundering is not a victimless crime because it hurts members of society as a whole,” Repubblika argued in its application.

Money laundering also “undermines society’s trust in those institutions whose purpose is to ensure that such crimes do not take place.”

The NGO noted that it had filed various judicial acts over the past years to provide information about the now-annulled hospitals deal and argued that it had effectively done what the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner ought to have done.

It said it has a “principal and eminent interest” to follow up what it started in 2019, to ensure that all those who committed the crime are brought to justice.

Over the past two weeks, ever since news of the completion of the inquiry emerged, Repubblika has also filed two judicial letters in the First Hall, Civil Court against “a large number of persons” involved in the Vitals deal.

They are calling upon such persons to shoulder responsibility for damages suffered by Repubblika as injured party in the fraudulent deal.

Now as an organization set up to safeguard people’s rights, Repubblika is seeking authorization to join the criminal proceedings as injured party.

The court is expected to decree on the matter once the other parties in the case have submitted their replies to Repubblika’s request.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is assisting Repubblika.

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