Three government ministers are once again under criminal investigation after a court ordered that fresh claims be included in the inquiry into the Vitals Global Healthcare deal being held by magistrate Gabriella Vella.
In a 28-page decree issued on Wednesday afternoon, Magistrate Doreen Clarke said the prerequisites for such an inquiry had been satisfied and the request was justified.
The inquiry is the second one requested by rule of law NGO Repubblika in order to establish whether Scicluna, Cardona and Mizzi as well as Technoline managing director Ivan Vassallo had given the group of investors behind VGH an unfair advantage in the contract’s selection process.
In July Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit had ordered an inquiry into the three Ministers together with Vassallo, only for it to be overturned on appeal by Mr. Justice Giovanni Grixti in October. In the interim period, Magistrate Gabriella Vella had also started her inquiry into Ivan Vassallo who had not appealed the first order.
Repubblika had immediately filed a fresh request for an inquiry into the three Ministers together with a complaint to the Commission for the Administration of Justice about the conduct of Mr. Justice Grixti.
Magistrate Clarke ruled that the Ministers’ arguments that Repubblika had not proven that there had been bribery and corruption were unfounded at law. Citing a raft of case law and legal texts, the Magistrate ruled that the law gave private citizens the right to request an inquiry, but not to collect evidence, which was the point of an inquiry.
Reacting, Cardona, Scicluna and MIzzi said they had noted the decree whereby, whilst noting that most of the documents submitted by Repubblika would not even be considered as evidence, Repubblika’s allegations would be referred to a magisterial inquiry which was already open.
“As the Magistrate herself noted, the decision is in conflict with a previous recent decision of a superior court. An appeal to the Criminal Court will therefore be entered in the coming days.”