Repubblika submits fresh request for an inquiry into VGH 'scandal'

Repubblika expressed its concern at the Court of Appeal's ruling, stating that in a democracy the work of journalists is an indispensable component of the functioning of the rule of law

Repubblika have instructed lawyer Jason Azzopardi to submit a fresh in genera inquiry into the Vitals hospital concessions deal
Repubblika have instructed lawyer Jason Azzopardi to submit a fresh in genera inquiry into the Vitals hospital concessions deal

The NGO Repubblika has submitted a fresh request for an in genere inquiry into the Vitals hospital concessions deal a day after Mr Justice Giovanni Grixi revoked it.

"This decision does not in any way affect our determination to fight corruption and to insist that our institutions do their job in fighting corruption as well," the NGO wrote in a statement on Friday.

"We have therefore instructed our lawyer, in this case Jason Azzopardi, to submit a fresh request for an in genere inquiry into the shocking VGH scandal. Our application has been updated with more information made available since our first submission in this case several months ago," the statement read. 

On Thursday, Mr Justice Giovanni Grixti deemed that the 'facts' brought by Repubblika stating that the VGH transfer merited an investigation were a collection of journalistic opinions, blogs and other opinions which the NGO chose to amalgamate.

Repubblika expressed its concern at this ruling by the Court of Appeal, stating that in a democracy, the work of journalists is an indispensable component of the functioning of the rule of law. 

"The judge found that the investigations by journalists publishing in newspapers or online are not a suitable basis for starting an inquiry. We respectfully disagree... investigative journalism publishes what institutions fail to do and provoke therefore those same institutions to make up for their failure and act," Repubblika said.

It added that the court's duty was to provide the checks and balances to a corrupt executive rather than sanction its corruption, arguing that Thursday's ruling was setting a precedent for future courts to ignore what is published in the media. 

"We hope that the judiciary does not share the view expressed in yesterday’s judgement that the work of journalists should be at best ignored by the state’s institutions, at worst suppressed.

"The Police can commence an investigation even on an anonymous tip-off. But this judgement requires that a judicial investigation must have boiler proof evidence cast in steel before the magistrate starts looking into it. That is, no doubt, a convenience for corrupt ministers but an injustice for citizens of this country," Repubblika wrote.

In their statement, the NGO urged people to join them on a demonstration for truth and justice in Valletta on 16 October. 

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