Joseph Muscat requests publication of Vitals inquiry evidence against him

Former Labour leader facing money laundering charges in court wants full publication of evidence made against him in magisterial inquiry report

Joseph Muscat
Joseph Muscat

Lawyers for Joseph Muscat have asked the court which recently granted him access to the parts of the magisterial inquiry into the government’s fraudulent deal with Vitals Global Healthcare where he is mentioned, to make the documents available to the public.

This emerges from an application filed as part of Muscat’s court case against the State Advocate and the Attorney General, through which the disgraced former Prime Minister was given a copy of all documentation relating to Muscat that had been gathered during the inquiry.

On May 9, Mr. Justice Giovanni Grixti had ruled that Muscat was to be given immediate access to the relevant documentation. But the Magistrate before whom Muscat is due to be arraigned in the coming days, subsequently extended Judge Grixti’s order to all 23 individuals who are to face criminal charges in the coming days.

The application filed by lawyers Charlon Gouder and Vincent Galea on Friday, states that “access to the documentation in our possession, consisting of acts from the inquiry which were deposited by the Attorney General after the April 9 decree does not remain restricted to the parties in this case, but also be deposited in the court’s registry in order to form part of the acts of this case, visible and accessible to anyone who wants to see the file.”

The reason behind the request, according to Muscat’s lawyers, is that “as there are indications that the report is already in the hands of third parties, especially in the hands of those who had themselves instigated this inquiry, there is already the risk that someone could try and be selective in the publication of this report in order to create an imbalance.”

In order to avoid this scenario, “and with respect to the right to a fair hearing as well as to transparency, those parts of the inquiry which are in the court’s custody and visible to the parties, upon their request, are to be left in the registry of the court, in order to be visible and accessible.”

Muscat also took to Facebook to announce the court request.

“As I have already stated before, after reviewing the parts of the inquiry that concern me, I am more than convinced that this is a case built on conjectures, lies, distortions of facts, and hearsay,” Muscat said in a Facebook post.

“It is my desire to publish this report. However, if I proceed to do so, I would be breaking the law and showing contempt for the Court.

“Therefore, through my lawyers, I have requested that these parts of the inquiry become part of the court case before the Constitutional Court. This way, they will become public, and everyone, including journalists, will be able to obtain a copy.

“This is the only step I can take to legally publish this part of the inquiry, and I am committed to following the law. I am convinced that if this happens, it will be shown that this is just a castle of sand that will be swept away not only by a wave but even by a tsunami,” Muscat said.

Muscat on Wednesday said he had seen two documents concerning the charges against him, and not the entire inquiry report, penned by an Irish team of experts and a Serbian court expert, which he claims carry no rationale on how the accusations were arrived at, or how the alleged scale of fraud was quantified.

He has since had all his assets frozen, with a cautionary value of €30 million.

Muscat did not mention the name of an Indian national who is believed to be the main source of the allegation against him. The allegation – Muscat said – is that he was pocketing €16 million a year which he had stashed in a Dubai company. “The inquiry states that there is no evidence of this cash, and yet they are still charging me... the allegation and reasoning is simply the kind of logic you hear in a bar on Sunday morning.”

“I am looking forward to this. I am convinced that once this Calvary is over, anyone who is associated with the charges will be the cause of the Nationalist Party’s destruction,” Muscat said. “It’s the last nail in the party’s coffin.”