Publication of Egrant inquiry conclusions enough to satisfy public interest, AG says

Attorney General files a counter-protest to that submitted by Adrian Delia regarding publication of full Egrant inquiry

The publication of the conclusory findings of the Egrant inquiry was enough to satisfy the public interest, the Attorney General said
The publication of the conclusory findings of the Egrant inquiry was enough to satisfy the public interest, the Attorney General said

The Attorney General has filed a counter-protest to the judicial protest submitted by Adrian Delia last week, with the AG arguing that the publication of the Egrant inquiry conclusions was enough to satisfy the public interests' requirement to know the findings of the case.

Delia last week had filed a judicial protest against the AG, after the latter’s refusal to pass on a full copy of Magistrate Aaron Bugeja’s Egrant inquiry report to him.

In the counter-protest, the AG said that it was only in his discretion whether to publish the acts of the proceedings - meaning the full results of the inquiry - including any attached witness statements or documents.

It said that as a matter of general practice, the AG would not publish a copy of the full inquiry, if in that report the inquiring magistrate indicated that additional investigations should be undertaken, or that criminal proceedings should be started against some person or persons.

In the Egrant Inc. case, the AG said he had recognised that there were factors related to the public interest, primarily because the inquiry had a bearing on the Prime Minister. It was for this reason, he said, that he had published the conclusions of the report.

He said he had given a full copy of the inquiry to the Prime Minister after taking into consideration that fact that it was Joseph Muscat himself who had asked for an inquiry to be started, and that the results would have effected Muscat's decision related to whether he would stay in his role or not.

These considerations, however, would not apply when deciding whether the full report should be published or given to other persons, the AG said.

At this stage, the AG underscored, it would not be justified to go against the practice of maintaining an inquiry’s secrecy. He emphasised that he had used his legal discretion in the most public and transparent way, and never swayed from the functions of his office or from that which is legally sustainable and correct.

The AG added that it was clear that the position of the Opposition leader - as the person who had filed the protest - who wanted to have a full copy of the report for political reasons, was completely different to that of the Prime Minister, who was a principle subject of the inquiry.

For this reason, Delia's request for publication of the whole report was unfounded, the AG said.

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