Prime Minister Robert Abela on Wednesday said he would reserve judgement on whether to respect the findings of a public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.  

Speaking to Times of Malta outside Parliament on Wednesday evening, Abela would not commit to respecting the conclusions of the inquiry into the state’s possible role in the death of the journalist, saying he did not wish to “rush”. 

“Given that the board has taken the decision to extend [beyond its deadline] one will have to see when the [final] report is handed over,” he said. 

Prime Minister Robert Abela. Video: Ivan Martin.

The inquiry was originally meant to be concluded in September but the prime minister had granted it a one-time extension to Tuesday. 

Despite this deadline, the three judges presiding over the inquiry on Monday said they needed more time to conclude their work and planned to hear more testimony and would go on until at least mid-January.  

They insist the terms of reference set by the government gave them the ability to go on until they feel they have met their mandate. 

Reacting to the board’s decision, the government issued a brief statement on Tuesday evening saying that once the board had taken it upon themselves to extend the inquiry's deadline, they must now assume responsibility. 

Fielding questions from Times of Malta, Abela said the government’s statement had been misquoted. 

“Nowhere did the statement refer to ‘consequences’... The statement spoke of ‘responsibilities’ and of the ‘significance’ [of this decision. There is a clear difference and the statement leaves no room for interpretation,” he said.  

Asked whether he would respect the inquiry’s conclusions, Abela said “let’s not rush”. 

Abale said the board had decided that it has the ability to extend its term indefinitely.  

“The board said it has testimony it wishes to hear until mid-January, and then, I understand from the decree issued [by the board] that it will be turning to its report. One will have to see when the [final] report is handed over,” he said. 

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