Watch: Zammit Lewis defends Abela’s one-time extension to Daphne inquiry

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis stood by Prime Minister Robert Abela’s controversial one-time extension of the deadline for the conclusion of the public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, insisting that it was important for the process to be concluded quickly.

In remarks made to Newsbook.com.mt, Zammit Lewis stressed that the inquiry should be given all the resources it needed, and that he had full faith in the members of the inquiry board.

But he also argued that there should be no delays.

“What must begin must end, and we believe that this inquiry, once started, should have closure as well,” he maintained.

 But the one-time extension has no shortage of critics, including the Caruana Galizia family. One of the family’s lawyers, MP Therese Comodini Cachia, had emphasised that the family required adequate time to prepare its written submissions once all witnesses are heard, and that the board needed time to finalise its report.

Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt, the Council of Europe’s rapporteur on the assassination and on the rule of law in Malta, insisted that the government had no right to interfere in the workings of an independent public inquiry.

He also dismissed Abela’s claim that his position was based on the terms of reference, arguing that these had been selectively misquoted. These terms state that the board “shall endeavour to conclude its work within a time frame of nine months without prejudice to the proper fulfilment of these terms;” as Omtzigt points out, they do not force the inquiry’s conclusion within the suggested time limit.

The inquiry continued today, with the testimony of ElectroGas shareholder Paul Apap Bologna.