Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case leads to Maltese PM resigning

Friday 6th December 2019 | Jake

The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, resigned in disgrace last weekend, as the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia saw long awaited development. Caruana Galizia was assassinated in 2017, when a bomb was set off in her car. She was famed internationally for her journalistic work on exposing the corruption in the Maltese government, but it won her few friends on the island.

Muscat had planned to stay on as PM until his successor was named, however, an EU mission sent to Malta on a fact-finding trip over the crisis demanded he leave office immediately. Despite the public demanding answers, Muscat ignored calls to intensify the investigation into Caruana Galizia’s murder. In fact, Muscat and his Labour party appear wilfully disinclined to dig much deeper into the case.

A couple of months after her death, three men were arrested for Caruana Galizia’s murder. The case moved slowly, although last year one of those men offered the name of a middleman who had offered cash for the killing. Fast-forward to last month and still little progress had been made. That was until the middleman – a taxi driver named Melvin Theuma – was arrested in a wholly separate money laundering case.

Theuma accused a Maltese casino owner, Yorgen Fenech, of hiring him to find some assassins. In return for the information Theuma had demanded a presidential pardon, and Muscat duly obliged. Fenech was subsequently arrested and denied a presidential pardon of his own. He has been charged with conspiracy to murder, while accusing many in the government of complicity. The government’s economy minister, tourism minister and Muscat’s chief of staff have all resigned following Fenech’s arrest. They deny wrongdoing.

As the case rumbles on there are sure to be further alarming revelations, such is the scale of corruption in Malta. What the people of Malta will hope for is that this watershed case engenders change for a society suffering from its political system. They will also hope for justice for the Caruana Galiz family.