Daphne Caruana Galizia’s grieving family and friends are clamouring for a public inquiry into her murder, their calls borne of suspicion in the government and its motives.
But according to Justice Minister Owen Bonnici, the government has done everything within its power to bring culprits to justice.
“Looking at things after a year [since Ms Caruana Galizia was killed], I believe we did everything to solve the murder,” Dr Bonnici says in a Times Talk interview.
Speaking one day after his cabinet colleague Chris Cardona was linked for a second time to one of the three men accused of killing Ms Caruana Galizia, Dr Bonnici indicated that he saw no reason to ask Dr Cardona for further explanations.
Dr Bonnici said that the Economy Minister had released a “strong and comprehensive” statement denying the allegations, which were published by Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
“Chris Cardona has said he’s ready to cooperate with whoever feels the need to speak to him,” Dr Bonnici said, adding “I have full trust in investigators and the judiciary, and that’s basically it”.
La Repubblica have claimed that phone records revealed that a suspected fuel smuggler had contacted both Dr Cardona and murder suspect Alfred Degiorgio after Ms Caruana Galizia wrote a story about him. The newspaper also alleged that Dr Cardona had attended a bachelor’s party in 2017 which murder suspect Mr Degiorgio was also at.
The Economy Minister has denied the allegations, calling them “false smears” and accusing international journalists of “falling into the trap” of local partisan politics.
In the Times Talk interview, Dr Bonnici also defended the government’s position on a variety of other issues:
On claims that the inquiring magistrate was denied call logs of the accused:
“I wouldn’t know the details... there is absolutely no conflict at all [between the judiciary and the executive] and as far as I am informed the police are cooperating fully with the inquiring magistrate”.
On calls for a public inquiry in Ms Caruana Galizia’s murder:
“The first priority is to solve the murder, and then we can speak about anything else...we’re in the middle of some very delicate correspondence [between the Attorney General and Caruana Galizia family lawyers] and I wouldn’t want to say anything which could obstruct this course”.
On his insistence on clearing a makeshift memorial to Ms Caruana Galizia:
“In this country, everyone must obey the rule of law. The rule of law is not a one-way street. You have every right to express yourself, according to the law. Once an activity ends, everything must be cleared”.
On why he received a copy of the Egrant inquiry:
“I am not the private lawyer of Joseph Muscat, I am the Minister for Justice. The Prime Minister asked me to obtain a copy because I had to see the consequences of the publication of the report on the state”.
On whether his loyalty lies with Dr Muscat or with the state:
“I act always in the best interests of my country. My duty is to serve the Prime Minister in his official capacity...and nothing to do with his personal capacity”.
Watch the full interview in the above video