Updated 1.55pm with PN statement

Robert Abela has access to a secret magisterial inquiry into the Vitals deal and is using his knowledge of it for his own political benefit, Opposition leader Bernard Grech has charged.

“If it’s not true, go ahead and sue me,” the Nationalist Party leader said at a public meeting on Friday evening. “If it’s not true, go ahead and report me.”

Grech said that Abela’s words and actions made it clear that he and others already have access to the inquiry report.

“Abela is using this information to save his own skin while drowning others. I’m making a clear accusation,” Grech said.

Bernard Grech speaking in Mqabba. Video: NET

The Vitals inquiry was sent to the office of Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg last week, who must now decide whether to press criminal charges against anyone cited within it.

Its contents remain secret, but speculation about what the inquiry found and who it recommends criminal action against has shaken Malta’s political establishment this past week.

Sources say Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri are among a long list of people likely to face charges related to money laundering, with Chris Fearne and Edward Scicluna also expected to be charged, albeit for lesser offences.

Fearne is understood to have offered his resignation as a Labour MP during a Thursday evening parliamentary meeting. On Friday, he publicly said that he had never broken the law or ministerial ethics and had nothing to hide.

Muscat,who has said he has “no doubt” he will be among those charged, has also said he is innocent and will fight what he describes as a “political vendetta” to the very end.

Speaking on Friday, Prime Minister Robert Abela hinted that he has seen a copy of the inquiry.

While he stopped short of directly answering when asked if he has seen the inquiry, in comments to Malta Today he said that he would not rest on the inquiry’s conclusions when deciding whether or not to sack officials involved.

“I will look at the entire document and see if those recommended for criminal prosecution are cited in the inquiry text as having probably committed a crime, or if the conclusions advise criminal prosecution despite the report itself finding no evidence of them having committed a crime,” Abela said.

The prime minister went on: “I will also see if the report recommends prosecutions out of the blue for people whose only sin is having been loyal to the state, under both PN and PL administrations."

The Vitals magisterial inquiry began in 2019 following a complaint by NGO Repubblika, which suspected top government ministers of corruption related to the multi-million euro deal that saw an unknown company given the keys to three state hospitals. 

Separately, former Opposition leader Adrian Delia filed a civil case to have the deal annulled. He won that case last year, forcing the concessionaires to exit Malta and the hospitals to return to the public.  

PN: AG must publish inquiry immediately

In a statement on Saturday afternoon, the PN said the attorney general should publish the inquiry without delay.

Given that Abela and others within the government evidently have access to the iniquity, the Opposition and the general public was being kept at a disadvantage.

It said that it would be willing to go to court to force the matter, recalling that the attorney general's office had already been judged to be discriminating in the government's favour in a similar fashion back in 2019. 

Back then, the attorney general was forced by a court to hand then-Opposition leader Adrian Delia a full copy of the Egrant inquiry.   

The attorney general had given a copy of that inquiry to then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Muscat's personal lawyer and the Justice Minister, but not to the Opposition leader.

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