Abela coy about possibility of replacing AG

PL

Prime Minister Robert Abela hinted that he may consider appointing a new Attorney General, replacing an incumbent who has long been at the receiving end of harsh criticism.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday morning, Abela was coy on the possibility, but said that he did not exclude replacing Peter Grech, arguing that it was healthy to make changes from time to time. But he mentioned that this may happen in the “near or not so near future.”

The latest incident which has led to calls for the removal of Peter came just this week, after the surfacing of a 2016 memo he sent to police. In this memo, Grech warned that seizing evidence from Nexia BT in connection with a possible Panama Papers investigation would be drastic and highly intrusive.

The family of Daphne Caruana Galizia reiterated its call that Grech should leave immediately in the wake of the revelation: it had already done so in the wake of Daphne’s assassination in October 2017. One of her three sons, Matthew, described the note as a “murder memo” as he argued that she would still be alive had the authorities done their jobs.

But Grech has defended himself, insisting that his advice was reasonable and responsible, and denying that he had asked the police to halt investigations into the Panama Papers scandal.

On his part, Abela highlighted that Grech had advised the police on their request, but as a lawyer, suggested that his advice should have been more specific.

The Times of Malta, quoting government sources, said that the appointment of a new Attorney General has been on the government’s radar, but no decision has yet been taken.

Grech had been made deputy Attorney General in 2005, and was appointed to the top post in 2010 as a replacement for Silvio Camilleri, who was made Chief Justice. The 63-year-old has been working at the Office of the Attorney General since 1983.