Repubblika president slams authorities’ request to hold Pilatus case behind closed doors

Addressing Repubblika's AGM, Robert Aquilina says that the court request to hear the Pilatus case behind closed doors is a ‘desperate attempt to silence us’

Repubblika president Robert Aquilina has publicly censured the State Advocate and Attorney General, accusing them of working against the interests of justice.

In a speech thanking the NGO for re-electing him as its president for the next two years, Robert Aquilina hit out at the State Advocate for blocking Aquilna’s testimony from being heard in public,  describing it as a “desperate attempt to silence us.”

Aquilina was referring to yesterday’s sitting in the civil case filed by Repubblika, in which it is requesting judicial review of the State’s decision not to prosecute senior figures at Pilatus Bank.

“Yesterday I intended to exhibit evidence... That I received from my sources... evidence that shows that the Attorney General, with the complicity of the Police Commissioner, went out of her way to ensure that the Pilatus Bank criminals - those who made a mess of our country’s name around the world - get off scot free.

“However, in that sitting we found the State Advocate and the Attorney General making all possible legal somersaults to prevent my testimony from being heard in open court.”

He accused the State Advocate and the Attorney General of wanting his evidence to remain under wraps.

“They want to keep you in the dark about how Victoria Buttigieg and Angelo Gafa protected the Pilatus Bank criminals.”

Aquilina said Repubblika, together with its lawyer Jason Azzopardi, had fought hard to stand up to the tactics employed by the State, in “their desperate attempts to stop us from revealing the truth”.

Aquilina said that he was unable to give his testimony for this reason, adding that the court is to hand down a decision on the issue of whether or not the case will be heard publicly or not, on Tuesday.

“I am going to say it loud and clear: the State Advocate and the Attorney General are working against the interests of justice, against the interests of good governance and against accountability.”

“Out of respect for the court, I will not reveal what was said in the courtroom behind closed doors and what I saw happen in there with my own eyes. But I will make it clear: If anyone thinks they have a right to immunity from criticism, if respect and prudence are interpreted as weakness, if anyone here entertains the notion that we will falter in the face of distortion and manipulation of the facts, they are greatly mistaken.”

“We are willing to pay, even with our freedom, so that the truth comes out and comes out in full and so that we show the people how they have been betrayed by those who were supposed to be protecting them.”

Aquilina reminded the public officials concerned that they had a duty to serve the honest citizens of Malta, “and not those who tricked them and sullied their name across the world.”

“To the State Advocate and the Attorney General I say that they have a clear choice before them, a choice between right and wrong, a choice between concealment and transparency. A choice between derailing the justice process or serving justice and serving it well."

“I tell them that the one option they don’t have is to shut us up.”

Aquilina invited the two State offices to take him to court if they felt his words to be slanderous, and not “grumble and whine.”

“And then everyone will have to bear the responsibility for their actions,” he said.