Following various meetings held between representatives of the Government of Malta and the family of the late Daphne Caruana Galizia and their representatives, agreement was reached on changes to both the composition of the Board of Independent Public Inquiry and the terms of reference relative to the same Board, the government said in a statement.
Mr Justice Emeritus Michael Mallia is retaining his post as Chairperson. Agreement was reached on Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro as the new members.
Professor Ian Refalo and Dr Anthony Abela Medici, who were nominated as members on the Board, retracted their acceptance to serve on the Board in view of this agreement.
As a sign of goodwill during the talks, the relative oath requested by law prior to the commencement of the inquiry was not administered to any of the members of the Board.
In light of the fact that Judge Abigail Lofaro is a sitting member of the Judiciary, consultations were held with the Chief Justice to mitigate any negative effect on the pending caseload of Judge Lofaro.
The terms of reference of the Board of Independent Public Inquiry have also been finetuned in the light of the discussions between the family Caruana Galizia and the government. The revised terms of reference are being published with this statement.
The government would like to extend its gratitude to Professor Ian Refalo and Dr Abela Medici for their readiness to be of service, as well as Judges Mallia, Said Pullicino and Lofaro for the work which they have accepted to undertake.
Meetings leading to this agreement were attended by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government and the Attorney General from the government’s side, and Dr Joseph Zammit Maempel, Dr Therese Comodini Cachia and members of the Caruana Galizia family.
The Caruana Galizia family had raised objections to the presence of both Refalo and Abela Medici, arguing that a proper inquiry demands that the board’s wider members have no financial or political links to the current political administration.
Refalo has acted as a lawyer for the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) and has also represented Allied Newspapers Ltd former managing director Adrian Hillman, whom Caruana Galizia wrote about extensively in the Panama Papers leak.
Abela Medici’s role was also questioned due to his lack of expertise in the area and his links to the executive by virtue of his government-appointed role as NGO Commissioner.