Rule of law NGO Repubblika has formally called on Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg to issue criminal charges against Pilatus officials, saying a magisterial inquiry had instructed her office to do so months ago. 

Addressing a press conference outside the law courts on Tuesday, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said the NGO will be sending the AG a judicial letter, signed by lawyer Jason Azzopardi, calling on her to take action.

The AG, Aquilina said, is allowing impunity to take over, just like her predecessor.

"We are often alerted to cases of impunity… mistakes, action not taken and also instances when the AG is not issuing charges despite court orders to do so. 

"This is very worrying. We are determined to not let this go on. That is why we are here today," Aquilina told journalists. 

The formal letter, he said, will serve to "alert" the AG to the conclusions of a magisterial inquiry into the now-defunct Pilatus Bank, which had called for criminal charges to be issued against several top officials. So far, only one of its senior officials, Claude-Ann Sant Fournier, has been taken to court, Aquilina said. 

The AG has also failed to issue international arrest warrants against the top officials, the NGO claims in its letter. 

The NGO is also claiming the Pilatus magisterial inquiry found there may have been trading in influence between the bank's chairman Ali Sadr and former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

"We know because of the changes to the law put in place by the government that we are facing a challenge, however we are willing to take any step necessary, both in the Maltese courts and those abroad, to ensure this impunity comes to an end," Aquilina said. 

In recent months, the NGO has made similar calls to Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa.

In June, the group filed an application calling on the courts to order Gafa to prosecute Pilatus Bank following the conclusion of a magisterial inquiry that found evidence of money laundering and criminal association, among other crimes.

But according to Gafa, the civil society's request did not satisfy the rigorous legal requisites necessary for such challenge to succeed and so he called on the court to reject the NGO's application. 

 

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