Robert Abela lambasts Jason Azzopardi for phone intercepts ‘invention’

Labour MP Robert Abela has flatly denied being privy to phone intercepts by the Malta Security Service, insisting his message to MEPs was based on public statements

Labour MP Robert Abela
Labour MP Robert Abela

Robert Abela has rubbished claims made by a Nationalist MP that he was privy to phone intercepts of the accused in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder.

The Labour MP said the statement attributed to him in a report penned by three MEPs, who visited Malta on 1 June were based on public statements made by the Malta Security Service and the police some six weeks ago.

Abela was quoted by MEPs saying that phone intercepts of the accused in the Caruana Galizia murder case did not reveal anything about the planned bombing.

In Parliament on Tuesday, PN MP Jason Azzopardi accused Abela of being privy to sensitive data, insisting this was a serious crime. The PN MP said Abela was either given the information by the Prime Minister, or else he was bluffing or lying to MEPs.

However, in Parliament on Wednesday evening, Abela tabled two public statements released by the Malta Security Services and the police some six weeks ago, in which they had denied being privy to any plan to kill Caruana Galizia.

The security service and police were reacting to insinuations that they failed to stop the murder after in court, it had emerged that one of the accused had his phone tapped for months before the murder, on a different case. 

The content of those phone taps was not revealed in court, apart from voice messages intercepted on the day of the murder between George Degiorgio and an individual who worked at a communications company, asking him to top up the mobile phone from which the killer SMS was sent.

Abela’s statement to the MEPs was based on the public statements made two months ago.

READ ALSO: Malta Security Service denies prior knowledge of Caruana Galizia assassination plot

He hit back at Azzopardi for fomenting “inventions”.

“I deny outright I had access to phone intercepts, or that I was bluffing or lying. I was only quoting what the Malta Security Service and the police said in public statements,” Abela said.

He then attributed ill-motive to Azzopardi, who is also appearing as parte civile lawyer for the Caruana Galizia family in the murder compilation, accusing him of trying to derail the court case.

Abela asked the PN MP to clarify whether he had sought private meetings with inquiring magistrate Anthony Vella outside the courtroom.

The Labour MP said the manner in which sensitive information from the case was being leaked to the international media, only to be used by some Opposition MPs, was one way of disrupting court proceedings.

Abela was interrupted by Opposition MP Mario Galea, who asked him to stop attributing ill-faith to the Caruana Galizia family, which was not present in Parliament to defend itself.

Abela insisted that the only reason he could find for the leakages from the court case were to obstruct the course of justice.