Justice Ministry rejects claims published in the Guardian on oil-smuggling case

Chief prosecutor in Sicily, Carmelo Zuccaro, claimed that attempts to collaborate with the Maltese authorities had 'not been fruitful'

'An international request for information submitted to investigators in Malta had gone unanswered for 18 months', claimed Zuccar
'An international request for information submitted to investigators in Malta had gone unanswered for 18 months', claimed Zuccar

The Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government have responded to the claim made by today’s edition of The Guardian.

This morning’s article, titled “Death of Maltese journalist ‘could be linked to fuel-smuggling network’”, claimed that there were possible links between the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and an Italian investigation, into an illicit fuel-smuggling network.

The article quoted the Chief Prosecutor of Sicily, Carmelo Zuccar as saying that “attempts to collaborate with Maltese authorities on the oil-smuggling investigation had not been fruitful”.

“An international request for information submitted to investigators in Malta had gone unanswered for 18 months”, Zuccar added.

According to the government, the Italian authorities, through Eurojust – an agency of the European Union, which deals with judicial co-operation in criminal matters – referred a request to the office of the Attorney General in Malta, in October 2016. The request involved the collecting of evidence and the hearing of witnesses in connection with this particular investigation, said the Ministry.

They maintained that in less than three months, the office of the Attorney General “initiated the necessary procedures in the Maltese courts, for the collection of the requested evidence according to law.”

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit, they added, subsequently held two sitting for the collection of the requested evidence, as well as a third sitting which “has already been scheduled in the coming days”.

Therefore, any claim that the Maltese authorities are unwilling to co-operate with other jurisdictions on this particular case, is “completely unreasonable, untrue and unjust”, said the Ministry.

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