Rule of law NGO Repubblika said on Thursday it was presenting "tangible proof" that the Pilatus Bank inquiry conclusions existed, after Magistrate Nadine Lia appeared to raise doubts over the existence of the inquiry report earlier this week.

Speaking outside the courts in Valletta after filing a sworn application, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said the NGO was continuing to insist that Magistrate Lia should not be the one to decide its case challenging the police to act against bank officials.

Her father-in-law, lawyer Pawlu Lia, served as lawyer of Joseph Muscat and the former lawyer of Keith Schembri, two individuals who had been close to the bank, Aquilina said.

Magistrate Lia earlier this week turned down requests for recusal. 

Aquilina said the Pilatus Bank inquiry had called for charges against the bank, its chairman Ali Sadr and five other people. It also called for fresh investigations to establish who owns the secret company Egrant. 

"This is an unprecedented step. There has never been a civilian, like myself, who has presented parts of an inquiry under oath," Aquilina said. The application was signed by the NGO's lawyer Jason Azzopardi. 

The NGO has not released the authenticated copies of the inquiry out of goodwill although it will reevaluate this position if things remain unchanged. 

The NGO said it was taking such "exceptional steps" because it is facing "extraordinary situations", he said. 

"The police and the courts are not following orders by the magistrate who conducted the inquiry. Magistrate Nadine Lia is dragging her feet and raising doubts over the very existence of the document," the NGO's president said. 

He pointed out that the NGO had initiated the legal challenge after the police  failed to act on the findings of the inquiry. So far only one of several Pilatus officials has been charged in connection with the inquiry's findings, although the police deny there is deliberate procrastination.

In August, Lia ordered the police to look into how Repubblika was given a copy of the inquiry's conclusions. On this, Aquilina said the magistrate has chosen to investigate the NGO instead of those who committed crimes.

"Instead of asking the police to chase criminals, she wants us and our sources investigated. Under no circumstance will I reveal my source.

"On August 29, Lia issued another decree turning down our requests and she said that what I am saying is detto al detto, which means I am simply repeating what I heard from someone else.

"This is not true and I have sworn, once again, that I have seen parts of the magisterial inquiry and I am in a position to quote from this. This morning I also presented authenticated copies that confirm this," he said.

Aquilina said Repubblika wanted lawyer Pawlu Lia to testify about his time as Schembri’s lawyer as well as when he approached the NGO outside court about the request for magistrate Lia to recuse herself.

"We know we are right and we will do everything in our power to address this. We will not accept that some people are still considered untouchable," Aquilina said. 

Some 400,000 documents making up 60 terabytes of data were seized in the course of the magisterial inquiry into suspected criminal activity at the now-shuttered Pilatus Bank.

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