An independent investigation in Malta into the car bombing of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has found that the state had to take responsibility after creating a “culture of impunity”.
Caruana Galizia was killed in a massive explosion as she left her home on October 16, 2017.
Prosecutors believe businessman Yorgen Fenech, who had close ties to senior government officials, was the mastermind of the murder. Fenech, who is awaiting trial for association with the murder, denies any responsibility.
Three men suspected of detonating the bomb were arrested in December 2017. Since then, one has pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal and is serving a 15-year prison sentence. The other two are awaiting trial. The confessed broker became a state witness and was granted clemency.
The investigation, conducted by a sitting judge and two retired judges, concluded that the highest levels of power within the government at the time created a culture of impunity.
“The tentacles of impunity then spread to other regulatory bodies and the police, causing a collapse of the rule of law,” said the panel’s report, which was released by Prime Minister Robert Abela.
He said the state did not recognize the real and immediate risks to Caruana Galizia’s life and did not take reasonable steps to avoid them.
It was clear, the investigation board said that the murder was intrinsically or directly related to the investigative work of Caruana Galizia.
Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat resigned in December 2019 following Fenech’s arrest. He was never charged with any crime. The media also later revealed close ties between Fenech, ministers and senior police officers.
The judges called for immediate action to curb and regulate ties between politicians and big business.
Abela tweeted that the report required “mature” and objective analysis. “Lessons must be learned and reforms must continue with greater determination,” he said, without elaborating.
The investigation heard evidence from the police, government officials, the Caruana Galizia family and journalists, among others.