House turns down motion for public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder

Government rejects motion for public inquiry into Caruana Galizia murder in parallel with ongoing criminal inquiry • PN does not support PD amendment for truth and justice commission

The Maltese House of Representatives has voted down a motion by the Opposition to hold a public inquiry into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The motion was put forward by the Nationalist Party on 4 December calling for a public inquiry into the murder, and also calling for the removal of the police commissioner and the Attorney General from office.

An amendment to the motion was submitted by the Partit Demokratiku, calling instead for the establishment of a permanent truth and justice commission to investigate the murders of Karin Grech, Raymond Caruana and Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The government defeated the PN motion, after the amendment proposed by PD was not even supported by the PN.

Both PN and PD amendments were not approved by the House.

PN deputy leader David Agius justified the PN voting against the PD amendment by saying that Marlene Farrugia's amendment, calling for the establishment of a permanent commission, "does not include the PN's wish to remove the police commissioner and the Attorney General."

Agius said that the PN found no issue with the PD's motion being presented as a Private Members Bill to be discussed at a later sitting.

PD MP Marlene Farrugia reacted in parliament saying: "Our amendment was purposefully designed so that political fingers would be prevented from touching these investigations."

PD told MaltaToday that PN never approached PD to compromise on the motion. "It just asked PD to withdraw it."

READ MORE: PD calls for unity • PN motion calls for a public inquiry into Daphne murder

Partit Demokratiku expressed disappointment after the motion for a public inquiry fell through, accusing Opposition leader Adrian Delia and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of both conspiring against "a better country".

The government's amendment to the motion called for the rejection of a public inquiry while the magisterial inquiry into the murder was still ongoing, citing the Attorney General's recommendation against holding a public inquiry in parallel with the criminal investigations.

The PD motion was not approved, with 59 votes against and just two in favour, namely PD MPs Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia.

The government's amendment passed with 35 in favour and 26 against.

In a press statement, Partit Demokratiku expressed a "great disappointment that MPs from both major parties voted against a Commission tasked with the objective of bringing truth, justice and lasting change for the victims, their families and Malta. This evening’s vote sends a clear message: Joseph Muscat and Adrian Delia stand together against a renewed Malta."

PD said that today's loss was a loss for the victims of the political assassinations and for Malta at large. "Our politics remains bound to tribalism, unable and unwilling to bring truth, justice and lasting change," PD leader Godfrey Farrugia said.

PD justified the reason for an amendment to just a basic public inquiry as put forward by the PN, saying that such public inquiry had to be established on sound legal footing. The PD's motion also included Karin Grech and Raymond Caruana. "Their murders happened in different historical contexts but raise the same question: Could the state have done more to protect their lives?" Farrugia said.

Three men have so far been charged with Caruana Galizia's murder. She was killed in a car bomb metres away from her home on 16 October 2017. The men executed the crime but the people who commissioned them are still at large.

Partit Demokratiku's comment

PD leader Godfrey Farrugia told MaltaToday that the hope that MPs agree on such a pressing issue was futile and quickly discarded by both sides of the House.

"We wanted to end the parliamentary year on the eve of Malta's Republic Day by seeing all members agree upon our compromise—that in cases of political assassinations, a legislative framework would ensure that public inquiries be far from political interference. The PL and PN MPs did not embrace this invitation."