Prime Minister Joseph Muscat expressed his full confidence in the impartiality of the members presiding the inquiry which will look into whether the government could have prevented the brutal murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017.
However, he said he was looking forward to meet the Caruana Galizia family to discuss their concerns on the matter.
Dr Muscat was speaking during a brief telephone interview broadcast on the Labour Party radio station on Sunday morning.
Announced last Friday, this inquiry will be presided by Judge Michael Mallia, who will be assisted by the former dean of the Faculty of Law Ian Refalo and forensic expert Anthony Abela Medici. According to the terms of reference they have to conclude the investigation in nine months’ time.
The timing of this announcement raised eyebrows as it was made minutes before Opposition leader Adrian Delia was due to address a mass meeting, and days before the expiration of a three-month deadline which had been imposed by the Council of Europe.
However, Dr Muscat noted that government’s only consideration was to ensure that the inquiry would not jeopardise the pending court case against three men accused of this murder.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister insisted that nobody was disputing the integrity of the three members of the board.
“I will listen to what the family of the late Ms Caruana Galizia have to say. I have no problem to meet them and am looking forward to this,” he said.
Dr Muscat pointed out that nobody had criticised the inquiry’s terms of reference and expressed his full confidence in the impartiality of the board members.
“Nobody is disputing the ethical qualities or the moral fibre of the chosen persons,” he added.
While welcoming the decision to launch this inquiry, the family immediately expressed concerns on the impartiality of the board members.
Marsa junction project
The Prime Minister hailed the Marsa junction project as a game-changer in terms of the country’s road network in the south of the island.
The first two flyovers linking Triq Aldo Moro in Marsa to Triq Garibaldi in Luqa were inaugurated on Friday. The entire project is scheduled for completion by the end of next year.
The Prime Minister also referred to the forthcoming Budget saying that the ultimate objective would be to prepare the country for the future.