Prime Minister 'put lives at risk to protect ministers and himself' on Sofia inquiry, Bernard Grech says

During radio interview, PN leader said Robert Abela should “stop insulting people’s intelligence,” accusing him of "protecting his ministers and himself"  and "promoting impunity."

PN leader Bernard Grech speaking on RTK
PN leader Bernard Grech speaking on RTK

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech accused Prime Minister Robert Abela of trying to protect his inner circle at the expense of putting lives at risk when he initially tried to prevent the Sofia inquiry from taking place.

Grech made the remarks during an interview on RTK by Andrew Azzopardi on Saturday morning. 

Advising Abela to “stop insulting people’s intelligence.” Grech said the Prime Minister’s priority was protecting his ministers and himself, accusing him of "promoting impunity."

“He doesn’t want another inquiry concluding that the State and the Executive made mistakes.”

The report published last week by the inquiry into the death of 20-year-old Jean Paul Sofia at a construction site concluded that the State bore responsibility for the collapse, pointing to loopholes in regulation and lax enforcement in the construction sector, amongst many other shortcomings.

Grech reminded the radio show host that Abela, having initially told the victim’s mother that she had it all wrong, had ended up told by the inquiry that it was he who had it all wrong.

“He is putting everyone at risk,” Grech said, arguing that responsibility lay at the feet of the authorities, and ultimately, the politicians who put them there. “Instead, Abela continues to play games with people’s lives.” 

The Sofia inquiry showed that political will is needed to protect the rights of people who don’t have a voice, he said. 

The PN has previously called on Abela’s government to accept political responsibility for the faults found by the inquiry and has presented a motion of no confidence in government ministers Miriam Dalli, Silvio Schembri and Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi.

If that motion is defeated in Parliament, “every avenue is open,” Grech told Azzopardi on Saturday.

“Had it been for Abela, everyone involved in a construction project would remain at risk. He was playing with people’s lives,” the PN leader said. “For them it is a game, but for us it is not.”