Watch: One year ago Konrad Mizzi resigned, today he refuses to answer

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Former Minister Konrad Mizzi testified his morning before the public inquiry board.

MFSA ex CEO Joseph Cuschieri is also expected to face the public inquiry board today.

The public inquiry is tasked with among other things to determine whether the state did all it could to prevent the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

13:01 That is it for today. Thank you for following.
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13:01 The public inquiry will continue on Monday at 1 pm.
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13:00 Joseph Cuschieri's testimony ends here.
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12:58 The board asks the witness about his relations with the people who could have been involved in the murder.

Lawyer Pawlu Lia objects: "Why should he reply for such a question? so that the media can have something to report? He was not involved in anything."
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12:58 Lawyer Pawlu Lia has entered the courtroom. He is Joseph Muscat's Lawyer. He exchanges a few words with Dr Gouder.
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12:57 MFSA ex CEO confirms that following the assassination the financial services sector was being affected negatively and mentions again Pilatus Bank.
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12:55 Dr Gouder asks his client if he had any contact with foreign stakeholders.

Cuschieri says that he managed to build good relations with the European Central Bank and other European regulators.
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12:49 Lawyer Charlon Gouder asks his client if as MFSA CEO he used to experience political interference.

"Never. I Felt fully empowered to do what was needed to be done," says Cuschieri.
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12:48 He says that he thinks he visited Yorgen Fenech at his farmhouse in Zebbug, twice but no politicians were present.
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12:47 Dr Azzopardi asks the witness if the Panama Papers affected the financial services.

Cuschieri says that Malta was under scrutiny.
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12:47 He says that in 2018 the Moneyval report was crutial.
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12:44 Dr Azzopardi is next to ask the questions.
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12:44 He says that for the Vegas trip Dr Licari was invited by Fenech.
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12:42 He explains that in 2018 she resigned from MGA and took a short break.

At MFSA there was a call for applications for the role of legal consultant and he advised her to consider the role. He says that they did not receive many applications. They interviewed her and she was chosen.
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12:41 Dr Comodini Cachia is asking about Dr Licari.
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12:41 He said that at the time he was not aware that Fenech was the owner of 17 Black.
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12:40 Cuschieri replies that at the time he did not think that with such a decision he would end up in trouble.
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12:39 Dr Comodini Cachia asks about the conflict of interest when he decided to take the trip with Yorgen Fenech.
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12:37 Dr Gouder insists that no conclusions have been published.
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12:36 She asks if the final conclusion is published.

Cuschieri's Lawyer accuses Dr Comodini Cachia of trying to mislead his client.
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12:36 Dr Comodini Cachia is now asking questions.
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12:35 Regarding his resignation, Joe Cuschieri says that an internal investigation within MFSA has been conducted and concluded but says he resigned out of his free will.
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12:30 He says that to his knowledge the MFSA was not involved in Panama Papers but says that when he was appointed as CEO the Pilatus Bank issue was a great issue.
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12:29 He says that in 2018 the law changed so that MFSA could have an Chief Executive Officer.
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12:27 Together with the FIAU they designed a Memorandum of Understanding creating a programme to regroup the institutions which were the most at risk.
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12:26 "October and November were atrocious," says MFSA ex CEO, referring to the Financial Stability Assessment Programme and the Moneyval report.
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12:20 He says that he does not know the role of Ms Bianco for this trip.

Cuschieri continues saying that Dr Licari had already been working at MGA for the past 10 years so she could give technical feedback, especially from the legal aspect.
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12:20 They spend three days in Vegas.
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12:19 The board is asking about the Las Vegas trip

Cuschieri says that for this trip there were also Yorgen Fenech, Edwina Licari and Charlene Bianco.
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12:18 In 2008 he met Keith Schembri.
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12:17 Joseph Cuschieri says that he met Joseph Muscat when the latter was an MEP. "At the time Muscat was working on the roaming directive, we used to meet a lot and we remained friends," says the witness.
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12:14 He explains that Fenech requested a meeting with him. CHuschieri says that during his time at MGA his relation with Fenech was strictly professional but then they started being in eath other's company.
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12:13 He confirms he met Yorgen Fenech in 2014.
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12:08 He says he served under Minister Chris Cardona, Parliamentary Secretary Edward Zammit Lewis – back in 2013.

Cuschieri also mentioned Jose Herrera and Manuel Mallia.

All during his time at MGA.
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12:07 He says he was also on the board of projects Malta.
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12:06 In 2013 he was appointed as Executive Chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority in 2013 and in 2018 he was appointed as MFSA CEO.
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12:06 He says he graduated as an accountant 25 years ago.
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12:04 He confirms he is not under any investigation by the Police.
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12:04 Cuschieri takes the witness stand.
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12:02 Lawyer Charlon Gouder is assisting Joseph Cuschieri.
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12:02 We are back in session.
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11:38 The sitting will resume in about 20 minutes.
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11:38 Konrad Mizzi's testimony ends here.

Next to take the witness stand is Joseph Cuschieri, MFSA's ex CEO.
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11:37 "I played no part" – says Mizzi
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11:37 The board asks about the murder.

Mizzi says he has nothing to do with it.
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11:36 He looks at Daphne's family and gives his condolences.
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11:36 He described Daphne Caruana Galizia as "a vocal critic of him"
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11:34 Regarding the assassination: "Once again, I was shocked, yes. It impacted me, I had a vision for the country, to transform the whole country." – Mizzi
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11:32 Azzopardi asks why was Muscat's last visit as a Prime Minister was to Montengero.

Mizzi does not reply.
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11:30 Konrad Mizzi does not reply.
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11:29 He asks Mizzi when was the first time he met Brian Tonna and when was the last tie he communicated with Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri.
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11:28 He asks Mizzi to explain why he was expelled from the PL's Parliamentary Group if he says that he never received any kickbacks and never conducted any illegal activity.

Mizzi does not reply.
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11:28 Dr Jason Azzopardi is now asking questions.
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11:27 Dr Comodini Cachia: "You gave them this information about Daphne and Matthew Caruana Galizia?"

Konrad Mizzi: "I will not reply"
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11:25 In the same letter, the legal firm asks Reuters to take a "cautious approach" because the journalist has a "political axe to grind."
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11:24 The letter continues saying that their client is concerned that one of the ICIJ employees is Matthew Caruana Galizia, the son of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a public supporter of the Maltese Opposition party, who has written numerous articles about our client and the Maltese Labour Party. Our client considers that Ms Caruana Galizia is a political activist with a clear vendetta and is perpetrating a smear campaign against him with a clear political agenda."
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11:22 Dr Comodini Cachia is quoting from the Schillings letter.

The letter is addressed to Reuters: "As stated above, our client welcomes discussion on the issues raised in this Reuters letter. He has no wish or intention to unreasonably stifle such debates…"
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11:12 She also asks him about the legal entity Schillings – Who introduced it to him and how come he and Keith Schembri used the same firm.

Mizzi does not reply.
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11:09 Comodini Cachia quotes an e-mail from Karl Cini: "My client will get them directly to the bank in original" – referring to documents.

She asks Mizzi if he took them personally to Dubai to open his bank account.
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11:08 Dr Comodini Cachia also asks Mizzi about Fenech and 17 Black – he does not answer.
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11:07 Asked about his relations with Nexia BT, Mizzi does not reply.
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11:06 He is also asked to confirm if Ronald Mizzi was his communications co-ordinator within the Ministry who used to emend PRs for Electrogas and Socar.

Mizzi does not reply.
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11:04 Dr Comodini Cachia reads from an email from Musayev sent to the shareholders dated the 1st of Sept 2017.

"Dear all, Yorgen and I spoke to Konrad Mizzi and David. […] Minister is working on solving excise tax issue."

Asked if he was the Minister, Mizzi does not reply.
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11:01 The questions are about Turab Musayev, Chang Chen and his meetings with Yorgen Fenech.

Mizzi does not reply.
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11:01 Dr Comodini Cachia is now asking questions.
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10:59 Konrad Mizzi says that things were done in good faith and that no kickbacks were involved. "I worked in the best interest of the country. Thank you for the opportunity," said Mizzi.
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10:57 Mizzi says that he was not involved in the MOU related to the transfer of the three hospitals.

He also said that there used to be the cabinet's approval behind major projects and issues.
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10:52 Mizzi says that he always followed Prime Minister's instructions as he always consulted with him on the major decisions.
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10:49 We are back in session. The board re enters.
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10:49 Mizzi is next to his lawyers.
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10:48 The board leaves the courtroom.
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10:47 He asks the board for permission to speak to his lawyers.

The board grants permission.
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10:47 Mizzi says that since there are ongoing inquiries he is choosing not to reply.
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10:41 The board notes that they expect him to co-operate so that the truth will come out.

"The Ministers who testified before the inquiry board gave the impression that they had nothing to deal with all this and pointed their finger at you"

Konrad Mizzi smiles.

Said Pullicino tells Mizzi that he has the opportunity to clear his position. "We are not judging you but the administration," said the board.
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10:34 The board asks about the Montenegro windfarms project. Again he does not answer.
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10:33 Asked about his involvement in the transfer from of the 3 hospitals from Vitals to Steward Healthcare, Mizzi does not reply.
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10:31 The board asks about the aim of the meetings with Yorgen Fenech at Castille.

Mizzi does not reply.

He is also asked how he got to know Mark Gasan and Paul Apap Bologna.

Mizzi does not reply.
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10:29 He is asked if he knew Yorgen Fenech, Paul Apap Bologna, Mark Gasan, Konrad Mizzi does not reply.
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10:27 The board now asks Mizzi on the Electrogas and Vitals projects.

"I choose to not answer," says Mizzi.
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10:27 Konrad Mizzi takes a look at it.

He is asked if he has any comments about it. "I will not reply," says Mizzi.
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10:26 He is presented with a copy of the letter from Schillings.
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10:26 "Were you part of the so-called kitchen Cabinet?"

"I will not reply," says Mizzi.
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10:25 He is now asked about Keith Schembri.

Konrad Mizzi does not answer.
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10:23 The board asks him about a letter from Schillings – a legal entity.

Mizzi does not answer. Dr Comodini Cachia presents the letter to the inquiry board.

Mizzi's lawyers ask to see the letter. Konrad Mizzi himself would like to take a look at the letter.
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10:21 The board asks Mizzi if the Cabinet had ever asked him to take legal measures against journalists or Daphne Caruana Galizia due to their reporting on Panama Papers.

Konrad Mizzi does not reply.
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10:20 The board asks if he had an account at Pilatus Bank and if he ever met Ali Sadr.

Mizzi does not reply.
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10:19 The board is quoting an e-mail sent by Kar Cini from Nexia BT regarding the Panama company Hearnville.

Again Mizzi does not reply.
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10:19 "Can you confirm or deny if you had a bank account in Dubai?"

Konrad Mizzi: "I choose to not answer."
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10:17 "Can you tell us how were you going to receive €150,000 a month from Macbridge and 17 Black and you did not know the owners?

"Can you tell us if you ever been to Dubai?"

Konrad Mizzi: "I choose to not answer."
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10:15 Questions on what Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote about him in her blog, about 17 Black, Mario Pullicino, if he has ties with Mayor Trans Limited and on Macbridge, Konrad Mizzi replies "I choose to not answer."
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10:14 Mizzi is giving his reply "I will not answer" even before the board finishes asking the question.
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10:14 Konrad Mizzi isn't replying to any of the questions.
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10:13 The board continues to ask questions about the Panama Papers.
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10:12 The board asks about the Panama Papers.

Konrad Mizzi: "I will not answer"
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10:10 The board asks:

How did he approach the Labour Party regarding the Powerstation project
If he met with members of the Electrogas Consortium prior to the 2013 election
He is asked how he got to know Joseph Muscat
If he kept Muscat updated on the projects that fell under his responsibility such as the Vitals

Till now Konrad Mizzi is choosing not to answer any question.
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10:09 Mizzi is asked how he interested himself in the energy sector.

"I choose to not answer" – Mizzi
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10:07 The board starts questioning Mizzi.

He is asked how did he start in politics.

"I choose not to answer," says Mizzi.
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10:07 Mizzi's lawyers are trying to find it.
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10:05 Madame Justice Lofaro tells Mizzi's lawyers to explain which provision of law says that Mizzi is to be granted disclosure.
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10:03 Konrad Mizzi's post: www.facebook.com/konradmizzi/photos/a.1343370612377486/3461302553917604/
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10:01 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia informs the board that this morning Konrad Mizzi wrote another post on Facebook in which herself and Dr Jason Azzopardi were mentioned.

They deny all the allegations, said Dr Comodini Cachia.
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09:59 Lawyer Peralta argues that his client's replies might be misinterpreted.

The board informs Mizzi that if he feels that with his replies he might incriminate himself he can opt to not answer the questions.
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09:58 Mizzi says he does not know if he is under Police bail.

His lawyers confirm.

There are three pending inquiries.

Konrad Mizzi says that these inquiries are about his work as a Minister.
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09:57 Mizzi says that he is informed about the pending inquiries from what the media reports.
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09:55 Mizzi's lawyer says that the decree issued by the board was immediately published by the Times of Malta.

Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino says that the media is thoroughly following this inquiry.
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09:53 "I saw comments about him from your end," says Mizzi to Madame Justice Lofaro.

Madame Justice asks for which comments he is referring to.

Mizzi says that when Minister Michael Falzon gave his testimony, Madame Justice Lofaro told him not to compare himself with Konrad Mizzi.
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09:51 "They are using the public inquiry for their political gain," said Mizzi.
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09:51 Konrad Mizzi says that he is not questioning the board's integrity but is questioning the parte civile.
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09:50 The board insists for an apology.
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09:49 "The public knows that Dr Azzopardi's and Dr Comdini Cachia's agenda is political in this inquiry," said Mizzi.
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09:49 Madame Justice Lofaro says that the board is not here to represent any political party.
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09:47 Judge Emeritus Mallia says that he expects an apology from Mizzi.
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09:46 Ex Magistrate Peralta, who is assisting Mizzi says that his client has a right for disclosure due to other ongoing procedures.
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09:46 Madame Justice Lofaro says it is not true as she read his Facebook post too.
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09:45 Mizzi says that what he wrote on Facebook differs from what the court application says.
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09:45 Mizzi says it would be better if his lawyers can explain. The board disagrees.
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09:42 The board starts questioning Mizzi on the court application he filed.
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09:41 Konrad Mizzi is asked to take the witness stand.
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09:40 Mizzi filed a complaint in court in which he asked not to appear at the inquiry, denying any involvement in the murder, while offering his condolences to the journalist’s family.
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09:40 The Board of Inquiry ordered Konrad Mizzi to testify despite his attempt not to.

On Thursday, Mizzi wrote on Facebook where he criticized the public inquiry and said it had been politicized. He particularly criticized the role of lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia, for being Members of Parliament and participating in the inquiry representing the Caruana Galizia family.
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09:39 Members from the Caruana Galizia family are present inside the courtroom.
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09:38 Konrad Mizzi will testify this morning. He is being legally assisted by ex-Magistrate Carol Peralta and Lawyer Jean Paul Sammut.
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09:32 Welcome to Newsbook.com.mt live blog. We are live from courtroom no 20.
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09:32 Good morning.
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