Robert Abela has hailed the arraignment of two men accused of supplying the bomb that killed journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia as evidence that there is rule of law in Malta.

However, the prime minister refused to be drawn on whether he could rule out political involvement in the 2017 assassination. 

He was reacting after Robert Agius and Jamie Vella were charged with complicity in the murder and forming part of a criminal gang during a late night arraignment on Wednesday. 

Vella was also charged with another murder - that of lawyer Carmel Chircop, who was gunned down in a Birkirkara garage in 2015. A third man, Agius' brother, Adrian, was charged with masterminding that assassination.

Watch the news conference:

Abela said that the fact that police have charged more people "continues to confirm how much the institutions are working" and said there is "no doubt that what happened this week confirms that there is rule of law in Malta".

Thanking the police commissioner and the attorney general for their work, he added: "anyone who thinks they can enjoy impunity is wrong."

He said he promised that his administration would provide all the necessary resources and a place to work without political intrusion. 

"I confirmed this by the decisions I took in recent months. The police commissioner was selected after a public call, we reformed the judiciary selection process, I gave up a number of powers as PM, and we implemented good governance laws," he said.

He concluded his brief statement with declaring his government "a force in favour of what is good".

Abela was twice asked if he could rule out the involvement of politicians in the murder, but did not answer the question, instead reflecting on cabinet's decision to grant a pardon in relation to the Carmel Chircop case.

He said this was done after the police commissioner and attorney general gave reasons why a plea bargain should be accepted. 

He repeated that Muscat made two requests and that the first time, advice was to deny, the second time, it was to approve. 

"I believe that we have now started on the path towards full justice for Daphne and her family and I look forward to this country moving forward," he said.

PM 'should not seek credit'

In a reaction, the ADPD party said Robert Abela is trying hard, through repeatedly calling press conferences, to take credit for the development in the Daphne Caruna Galizia case.

ADPD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said:”The Prime Minister has no right to take credit for the work of the Police Force in registering another development in the case of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. If the Prime Minister wants credit, then he should unwind the Electrogas deal, hold Vitals to account on the hospitals deal, and generally do a root an branch investigation of every single transaction which Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi were involved in during their tenure.”

Cacopardo said the assassination of Caruana Galizia did not happen out of the blue but against a background of institutionalised and industrial scale corruption.

"It is now up to the prime minister to deal with the background that led to the assassination. Ignoring that background and its illicit fruits means endorsing it. It is clear that a Maltese mafia has been tolerated and left to operate undisturbed for years on end.” 

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