[WATCH] Abela doubles down on ‘political terrorism’ remarks: Magistrate purposely chose start of election campaign to conclude inquiry

Prime Minister Robert Abela questions timing on when hospitals inquiry was concluded by magistrate, saying he is duty-bound to ensure judiciary is not used to ‘disrupt the political timeline’

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Updated at 9pm with PN reaction 

Prime Minister Robert Abela has doubled down on his comments where he had warned the judiciary not to commit “political terrorism.” 

On Sunday, without mentioning Joseph Muscat, Abela explicitly noted, “Justice does not mean political terrorism,” amid growing speculation within legal circles that the magistrate responsible for the hospitals inquiry has passed on her findings to the Attorney General. 

On Monday, MaltaToday asked Abela what he was referring to in his comments, as he noted that he was speaking in a general manner about the judiciary system. He reminded that a few months ago, he had warned against a “particular investigation” being used to disrupt next June’s elections.

Abela further stated that if it is true that the inquiring magistrate concluded her inquiry into the hospitals concession on the day that candidates could declare their interest to contest next June’s elections, then he was “obliged” to speak in the manner that he did.

When asked directly if he would consider recommendations to charge Muscat as “poiltical terrorism,” Abela replied that he would not speak about hypothetical cases.

“No one is a fool,” Abela noted, as he spoke about his suspicions regarding the conclusion of the inquiry.

Abela was then asked if he thought his comments on Sunday were meant to instigate supporters, to which he responded that he disagreed.

The Prime Minister then said that on Wednesday morning, the Attorney General is going to testify whether or not the conclusions had been recieved. “Tomorrow morning we’ll know the day that proces verbal, then everyone will come to their own conclusions.”

Abela said that he is convinced that the Maltese people are intelligent enough to “come to their own conclusions.”

The inquiry was initiated in 2019 on Repubblika’s initiative. The inquiry originally targeted former ministers Chris Cardona, Konrad Mizzi and Edward Scicluna but later widened to include Muscat.

Muscat had tried to remove the magistrate from the inquiry, insisting she had a conflict because her relatives were publicly critical of him. He also complained of constant leaks from the inquiry and decried the magistrate’s refusal to let him testify before her.

In January 2022, as part of the inquiry, police officers searched Muscat’s Burmarrad home and ceased several electronic devices.

Nationalist Party reaction

Reacting to Abela's comments, the Nationalist Party (PN) stated that Robert Abela's latest attack on the judiciary marks a concerning trend.

They said Abela persists in undermining the judiciary's independence and its efforts to investigate police shortcomings over the years.

It criticised Abela's remarks on the Inquiring Magistrate as irresponsible and dangerous, emphasizing that his actions contradict his oath of office as Prime Minister.

They condemned Abela's attempts to interfere with the constitutional duties of Prosecutors and Magistrates, labelling it as a betrayal of the Maltese and Gozitan people's trust in upholding truth and justice.

The PN called for an end to Abela's attacks on the judiciary and urged him to respect the institutions' autonomy in fulfilling their mandates without interference.