Robert Abela accepts Justyne Caruana’s resignation from Gozo minister

Justyne Caruana has informed the Prime Minister of her resignation from minister, insisting she has nothing to do with the story that shamed her husband

Justyne Caruana has resigned from Gozo minister
Justyne Caruana has resigned from Gozo minister

Updated at 10.38am with government statement quoting Caruana's letter

Robert Abela has told Parliament that he has accepted Justyne Caruana’s resignation in a short statement before the House.

The Prime Minister said he received Caruana’s resignation letter on Monday morning and accepted it. She retains her parliamentary seat.

Caruana was forced to resign after Times of Malta reported that her husband, former deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta, had travelled with murder suspect Yorgen Fenech to watch a football match in the UK.

Valletta was also filmed frolicking in Fenech’s luxury car, a video which was extracted by police investigators from the suspect’s mobile phone.

Valletta has denied any wrongdoing, insisting he did not know Fenech was a person of interest in the murder investigation when he travelled with him. The former deputy police chief had already pulled out of the murder case when he travelled with Fenech.

Abela thanked Caruana for her work in Gozo and in her previous role as parliamentary secretary for the elderly and the disabled.

However, the Prime Minister failed to give more information, something that earned him rebuke from Opposition leader Adrian Delia and independent MP Marlene Farrugia.

Farrugia insisted the Prime Minister’s short statement did not give the country peace of mind that the police investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder was not vitiated.

In a statement released by the Department of Information, Caruana is quoted telling the Prime Minister that she had "absolutely nothing to do" with the story published in the media but opted to resign immediately.

Caruana said that she had always fulfilled her duties faithfuly and with absolute dedication. "I always acted in an upright and correct manner, and so am asking for the chance to be able to defend my name because of my children," Caruana is quoted in the government statement.

Her resignation letter was not published.

READ ALSO: Silvio Valletta says he was unaware of Yorgen Fenech’s suspected involvement in Caruana Galizia murder