Muscat called Rizzo to ask on Daphne’s security

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Former Police Commissioner John Rizzo and Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia testified in the public inquiry into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

  • “I used to see Keith Schembri at the fourth floor of the Laboru Party Headquarters, I wasn’t allowed access to this floor” – Anġlu Farrugia
  • Farrugia explained that he used to see Sandro Chetcuti regularly at the Labour Party Headquarters before the 2013 elections.
  • “I never backed Muscat” – Anġlu Farrugia
  • “I was never one of Muscat’s favourite people” – Anġlu Farrugia
  • Eks-Police Commissioner John Rizzo says that as soon as his role came into effect he kept on providing protection for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
  • “When I was Commissioner I was left to do my job in complete autonomy” – Rizzo
  • “I have enough evidence to take John Dalli to Court but he was not on the islands due to medical reasons. They removed me from Commissioner on Frida and he returned to Malta on Saturday.” – Rizzo
  • “They offered me a €10,000 raise when they told me they would remove me from Commissioner but I refused them. I was never one greedy for money.” – Rizzo
  • “I used to investigate the smallest of allegations and reports, including what Daphne Caruana Galizia used to write in her blogg.” – Rizzo
16:07 Rizzo's testimony comes to an end. The public inquiry will continue next Thursday at 2.20pm.
Beppe Galea
16:06 Rizzo said that Joseph Muscat's call on the security in place at Caruana Galizia's house in Bidnija came before he was sworn in as PM.
Beppe Galea
16:03 Rizzo said that he met Muscat at the counting hall after the election where they shock hands and Muscat told him he wanted to talk to him. Rizzo then contacted the Chief of Staff to organise the meeting.

Rizzo said that he was contacted by Muscat after the electoral victory to ask him if Daphne Caruana Galizia's house in Bidnija was under protection. Rizzo said that he confirmed that there were police officers.
Beppe Galea
16:00 Dr Comodini Cachia asked Rizzo if he had informed the Minister for Home Affairs that there was enough evidence to arraign John Dalli. Rizzo confirmed he had spoken to the Minister.
Rizzo said that at the time MaltaToday had released an article saying he gave instructions to alter information released in the Dalli case to not arraign him. Rizzo said that he denied this categorically.
Beppe Galea
15:59 Rizzo felt that after the election there were changes. He said that since there was a change in administration there had to be changes everywhere.
Beppe Galea
15:56 Dr Comodini Cachia asked Rizzo to clarify whether he gave any orders to stop giving protection to Caruana Galizia. Rizzo said that he does not remember if that happened after the general election. "I tried to remember, but did not manage", he added, whilst answering in the affirmative when asked if such thing would be on record".
Beppe Galea
15:52 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia referred to the change in role. Rizzo said that the Prime Minister had offered him several roles, and that he insisted that he wanted to remain in the Police Force. Rizzo explained that the closest role was that within the Security Services. "When I met Schembri, he told me that the PM wanted me to be transferred to the Civil Protection Department. He also offered me a consultancy position, with an increase of €10,000. RIzzo said that he was ready to give consultations without any compensation.
Beppe Galea
15:49 Rizzo remarked that he used to start investigations even if there is just an allegation. "Everything starts from allegation", he added. He explained if he would not be involved personally, he used to be briefed on daily cases.
Beppe Galea
15:46 Asked about articles published on Daphne Caruana Galizia's blog, Rizzo confirms he had investigated a story about Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando.
As regards to the Panama Papers, John Rizzo stated that the Police Force is obliged to investigate any type of report, including details published by a journalist or anonymous call.
Beppe Galea
15:44 The inquiry board asks whether he found difficulty in investigating persons who held top posts within the government. "Never," he says.
Beppe Galea
15:41 Rizzo said that no one ever gave him an explanation as to why he was being removed.
Beppe Galea
15:38 Rizzo was shocked by the decision to transfer him to the Civil Protection Department. He said that two days before the transfer took place Joseph Muscat asked to meet him.

Rizzo explained that he found Keith Schembri instead of Joseph Muscat who told him that he was needed in the civil protection. They offered him a €10,000 increase in salary but he refused because he said money isn't everything. He started working at the CPD and spent four years there and left.
Beppe Galea
15:35 Rizzo said that prior to his departure he was working on a number of important investigations, inclusing one on a Judge.

He said that he would involve himself in important investigations.

He was asked if there were other important cases similar to the John Dalli case. Rizzo said that he was involved in the oil scandal investigation.
Beppe Galea
15:30 The Board of Inquiry asks about John Dalli.

Rizzo reveals that he and the Attorney General had decided to pursue a criminal case against John Dalli, the former EU Commissioner linked to a number of corruption cases.

However, when John Dalli returned to Malta from Brussels, he was replaced by Peter Paul Zammit and was told that there was not enough evidence to continue on in the case.
Beppe Galea
15:28 Farrugia is asked on the exchange of information between the Police and the Secret Service. Rizzo said that he often asked the Commissioner to intercept calls. He explains how discussions would be held between him and the Minister and a warrant would then be issued.
Beppe Galea
15:24 The Board asked if there was any reason why he was transferred. Rizzo said that Muscat felt that he has been in the role for too long.

He was asked how he used to decide on giving protection. He said that he used to decide alone based on what was going on.

Rizzo was asked if he ever consulted the Minister for Home Affairs. Rizzo said that it was a standard procedure.

Rizzo says that there was no political interference before the 2013 election.
Beppe Galea
15:22 Rizzo said that there were instances he would feel obliged to give protection. He mentioned Caruana Galizia's house door arson.

He said that he continued serving as Police Commissioner up until the 13th of April 2013.

He said that during the election protection was given but he couldn't remember if it was stopped before he stepped down or afterwards.
Beppe Galea
15:20 Rizzo said that Caruana Galizia never asked for protection. He could not remember the exact time when he gave the order for protection.

Rizzo explained that the police would give protection to a number of other individuals. He said that protection was surely given during the 2013 electoral campaign.
Beppe Galea
15:19 Rizzo states that he served as Police Commissioner between November 2001 up until April 2013.

He is asked to speak about the protection the Police used to give to Daphne Caruana Galizia. He said that he did not give the order for protection but rather he continued to do so because the protection was given before his term. He felt that the police should continue to give protection to Caruana Galizia. He said that there were times where a fixed point was set up, when patrols were done around her house and other times when a police was stationed in front of her house.
Beppe Galea
15:17 Former Police Commissioner John Rizzo takes the stand.
Beppe Galea
15:07 Farrugia's testimony comes to an end. The sitting breaks for a few minutes.
Beppe Galea
15:01 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia, on behalf of the Caruana Galizia family, asks if Farrugia can mention all the names that he said he was sceptical about.
He was informed that he can mention the names in a confidential manner. Farrugia insisted that he was not going to mention names.
Beppe Galea
14:56 Azzopardi asked if Franco Debono was deployed by PL to participate in a debate instead of Farrugia.

Farrugia confirmed that Franco Debono went to a debate on Joseph Muscat's orders. He said that the debate was then cancelled.
Beppe Galea
14:55 Farrugia said that he never spent personal money on his electoral campaigns. He said that Labour's 2013 electoral campaign was very strong compared to the PN's electoral fatigue.
Beppe Galea
14:52 Azzopardi asked Farrugia if he has ever seen Neville Gafa or Konrad Mizzi on the fourth floor. Farrugia said that he used to see them at the party HQ but Farrugia explained that the used to spend his time on the third floor.

Azzopardi asked if Schembri had an official position within the party. He also asked why Schembri had access to the fourth floor but Farrugia did not.

"He had access. I never asked why I wasn't allowed," Farrugia replies.
Beppe Galea
14:48 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi, who is representing the Caruana Galizia family, passed on a series of questions to be addressed to Farrugia.

Azzopardi said that Farrugia, who contested the 1996 elections on behalf of PL, had promoted a bill to give power to an Inquiring Magistrate to investigate corruption cases on his own initiative.

Farrugia explained that Alfred Sant was in favour of having a Super Magistrate. He said that this bill did not pass through because there were indications that there was not enough support from the Opposition MPs.
Beppe Galea
14:45 The Board of Inquiry asks Anglu Farrugia for hard facts and for more names. He said he mentioned the fourth floor and that he has nothing more to add.
Beppe Galea
14:44 Farrugia is being asked if he has ever seen Yorgen Fenech near the PL HQ. “I didn’t,” he replies.
Beppe Galea
14:41 Farrugia said that Konrad Mizzi grew stronger within the PL after the resignation of Joe Farrugia. He goes further to say that Mizzi started to be present everywhere after his own resignation.
Beppe Galea
14:37 Farrugia speaks about the leadership race after Sant's resignation when he had contested that election. He said that during that time, the Executive of the party had made it a point to not give any high position to those who were involved in some kind of corruption since Malta became a Republic.

He said that a Commission was formed with three persons chairing it. He also said that when he was a Police officer he had arrested Labour Ministers and PL MPs.
Beppe Galea
14:31 Farrugia is being asked if he had seen the party shifting to a pro-business approach and distancing itself from left-wing politics.
Beppe Galea
14:26 The Inquiry Board told Farrugia to mention the names of the businessmen that used to bother him. Farrugia stated that he did not like Marisa Micallef Leyson who used to write on the Malta Independent. He remarked that he remembers PL as a party of volunteers, who keeps the party at heart, and ask basic questions. He said he has never been permitted to discuss a project.

As regards to the energy sector, Anġlu Farrugia said that he was the Deputy Leader of the PL between 2008 and 2012. He insisted that he was never informed about the project. He mentioned that when on Xarabank, Cacopardo asked him if the PL in Government will cut electricity bills. Farrugia said that he answered 'no' which shows that he was left in the dark.
Beppe Galea
14:23 Farrugia said that he used to frequently see Sandro Chetcuti at the Labour Headquarters. He said that Keith Schembri used to be on the fourth floor. Farrugia further explained how Schembri would take an active part in the party's activities.
Beppe Galea
14:20 Farrugia recounts how there were people saying that he met Muscat after his resignation. He said that his wife told him that if it was not true he had to deny it publicly.
Beppe Galea
14:17 The Board of Inquiry remarked that Farrugia was expelled by the Party and they asked him what were the values that were not being addressed.

"Muscat never asked me about what I said", Farrugia explains.

"When I came to the conclusion that I had to resign, I did so with a clear and long letter."
Beppe Galea
14:15 Anglu Farrugia recalled that he told Joseph Muscat to address all injustice when in Government. He added that when Muscat became the party leader, "he never liked me". The Speaker of the House stated that there were 15,000 individuals who did not vote PL because of Dom Mintoff.
Beppe Galea
14:11 Farrugia said that he entered the PL soon after finishing his service as part of the police force. He said that during Alfred Sant's tenure, there was a sense of continuity. He said he never supported Joseph Muscat. He explained how the only time they met was at the European Parliament in 2004 or 2005.
Beppe Galea
14:09 Farrugia explained that he was brought up in an environment that does not value money. He remarked that his father was a chemist, who used to prepare medicine for the poor. "There were five others like my father for all Maltese and Gozitans", he added.
Beppe Galea
14:06 He explained that he loved the party. He said that once he went out of his office at 11pm and he could not enter again when he came back. Another person came to open the door and asked him why he was there so late.

Farrugia insisted that as PL Deputy Leader he never accepted donations from businessmen.
Beppe Galea
14:04 Asked to specify who were these people, he mentioned Sandro Chetcuti. Farrugia remarked that he used to notice unusual people, whilst insisting that he knew all MPs. He added that he resigned on the 20th December 2012 due to a passing remark on a Magistrate.
Beppe Galea
14:02 The Speaker is asked to elaborate on a statement he had made in the past. He explained that he was being interviewed by Herman Grech from Times of Malta a few days after he resigned from Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. He said that the question was about the values of the party. He said he was uncomfortable with certain movements within the party. He recounted how he would ask himself why certain people were seen at PL Headquarters.
Beppe Galea
14:01 Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia is present to testify.
Beppe Galea

Background

During the last sitting of the public inquiry into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the sons (Paul & Andrew) of the slain journalist testified followed by her sister Corinne Vella.

During the first sitting, widower Peter Caruana Galizia and his son Matthew Caruana Galizia testified before the Board of Inquiry.

Lawyers Therese Comodini Cachia and Jason Azzopardi are appearing for the family.

Highlights from last sitting:

  • Corinne Vella, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s sister, tells the court that ‘she knows that Economy Minister was at the brothel because someone was willing to sign an affidavit
  • False trails were planted to lead journalists astray
  • Fuel smuggling narrative was pushed by Keith Schembri despite being fully aware of the details of the investigation
  • Vella said that her sister’s reporting disrupted corruption plans
  • She asked why a snap election was called in 2017
  • Andrew Caruana Galizia told the board of inquiry that a roadblock extended his mother’s life by a few days remarking that a minimum level of protection could have prevented the murder
  • Andrew Caruana Galizia testified on how state actors were involved in turning his mother into a target
  • Andrew Caruana Galizia testified on how dangerous conditions prevailed during at least a year before the assassination
  • Paul Caruana Galizia told the board of inquiry that during a meeting on the terms of reference and composition of the Board of Inquiry, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici had told them that if they accepted Judge Emeritus Antonio Mizzi, ‘they would make his life easier’
  • Keith Schembri’s missing phone data could be cloned in the same way his mother’s phone was cloned, Paul Caruana Galizia told the court
  • Daphne Caruana Galizia’s son also told the board of inquiry that the Executive not only did not prevent the murder, but could have caused it