Updated at 4.30pm with PN press conference
Adrian Delia will not receive a full copy of the Egrant inquiry, after a court denied his application on Tuesday.
Mr Justice Robert Mangion read out the final part of his judgement in a brief court session on Tuesday morning which did not delve into the legal reasoning behind his judgement.
It’s time @JosephMuscat_JM stops playing his #Egrant victim card. It’s not like owning a Panama company is wrong for him. If it was, he’d have long fired his closest cabinet members and left with them. Just publish the report and let the people decide. https://t.co/j42LiiA446— Simon Busuttil (@SimonBusuttil) May 14, 2019
The case, before the civil court in its Constitutional jurisdiction, began nine months ago when the Opposition Leader filed a constitutional application seeking a full copy of the inquiry.
Attorney General Peter Grech had only made 49 pages of the inquiry public, saying the full inquiry contained details about private persons and others which could prejudice further criminal investigations.
In a reaction after the judgement, Dr Delia said he would appeal.
Speaking outside the courts, Dr Delia said that the judgement confirmed that the Opposition had a role to play as a public watchdog, "contrary to the Attorney General's argument that this was solely journalist's role".
Delia took himself up a legal alley - PL
Addressing a news conference, Labour MPs Edward Zammit Lewis, Robert Abela and Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said Dr Delia had taken himself and his party up a legal dead end, because he had started the case after the Prime Minister had publicly said that he wanted to publish the full inquiry.
Dr Delia put himself in a legal alley and the Court had now clearly denied his requests.
They said that this was another circumstance which was eating at the Opposition leader’s credibility.
'Our rule of law work will continue' - PN
Addressing a news conference in the afternoon, Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi said the court’s decision confirmed that the publication of the 1,400-page Egrant inquiry report was in the public interest and the people had the right to know what it contained.
The PN would continue to call for a parliamentary committee focused on making rule of law recommendations, in line with a call made in several recent reports including by Greco, the European Commission, the Venice Commission and Moneyval.
“Why had the Prime Minister not accepted the challenge, what was he afraid of,” Dr Azzopardi asked.
MEP David Casa said the country’s problem was that the Prime Minister had taken hold of all institutions so that these served and protected him and his core instead of the people.
The Prime Minister, Mr Casa said, could not be taken seriously because he never kept his word. He had promised he would dismiss his chief of staff Keith Schembri and Minister Konrad Mizzi if they were placed under a criminal investigation but now that there was confirmation that this was the case, he continued to protect them.
The Prime Minister also continued to defend Pilatus Bank, which lost its licence after months of insistence by the PN, and Iranian banker Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, who was being investigated in the US and could be jailed for 125 years.
Timeline of events
April 2017: Daphne Caruana Galizia alleges that the Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat, is the ultimate beneficial owner of mystery Panama company Egrant.
Muscat denies the claim, calling it the “biggest lie in Maltese political history”, and files a complaint to the police commissioner about the allegation.
October 2017: Daphne Caruana Galizia is killed when a bomb goes off in her car as she is driving in Bidnija.
July 2018: A Magisterial inquiry into the Egrant allegations is concluded. The report runs to around 1,500 pages.
July 22, 2018: 49 pages of principal conclusions from the Egrant inquiry are published.
Those conclusions find no evidence that Egrant belonged to Michelle Muscat and note that declarations of trust handed to the inquiring magistrate contained false signatures.
In a press conference, Dr Muscat says the report is proof that he and his family were the victims of a “web of lies” and says that the Attorney General did not publish the full inquiry as certain sections contained private banking information while others referred to people under police investigation.
He nevertheless says he wants the inquiry published in its entirety, with key sections redacted.
July 25, 2018: The Attorney General refuses to give Opposition Leader Adrian Delia a copy of the full Egrant inquiry.
Dr Delia slams the “inexplicable” decision and says he will sue for a copy.
Following AGs inexplicable and biased decision to deprive the opposition from having the full report of the Bugeja’s inquiry I shall be immediately filing court proceedings. #nationalinterest first.— Adrian Delia (@adriandeliapn) July 25, 2018
Dr Muscat says that despite the AG’s position, he will publish the full inquiry himself in “another few days” once a review process is completed.
August 9, 2018: Adrian Delia files a constitutional application seeking a full copy of the Egrant inquiry. He says the report should be published in the interests of equity as the opposition has been placed in a political disadvantage by not knowing all the findings.
August 16, 2018: The courts accept a request by Dr Delia for the case to be heard with urgency.
March 2019: Dr Muscat says he has not published the inquiry as promised because of the ongoing court case.
“I think that out of courtesy and respect towards the institutions, I will await the court decision”, he says.
May 12, 2019: Dr Muscat tells a Sunday crowd that it's a matter of "when" rather than "if" the inquiry is published, as long as doing so does not hinder ongoing investigations.
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