U ajma, ħallini !

Ix-xhieda dettaljata u li tkexkex li ta fil-Qorti l-kuntistabbli Simon Schembri mit-taqsima tat-traffiku tal-korp tal-Pulizija, iktar kmieni din il-ġimgħa, turi min xiex jgħaddu wħud mill-pulizija fil-qadi ta’ dmirijiethom biex jipproteġuna. Fortunatament in-numru ta’ dawn l-inċidenti hu wieħed żgħir.

F’kull livell tal-korp tal-pulizija hemm irġiel u nisa ta’ dedikazzjoni kbira li fis-siegħa tal-prova taw servizz impekkabbli. Tul is-snin kellna numru ta’ pulizija li nqatlu fuq xogħolhom, u Simon Schembri jgħodda b’waħda li għal ftit ma ngħaqadx magħhom.

Iż-żamma tal-ordni pubbliku qatt mhi faċli minħabba li dejjem ser ikun hawn min iħares lejn il-pulizja bħala xkiel fil-fissazzjoni li jkollhom biex jagħmlu li jridu, meta jridu u kif iridu. “U ajma, ħallini” qal iż-żgħażugħ li wara pproċeda biex kaxkar lil Simon Schembri madwar 400 metru taħt il-Mercedes li kien qiegħed isuq. In-nuqqas ta’ rispett ta’ uħud, anke fis-sens wiesa’ tal-kelma, jwassal għal dawn iċ-ċirkustanzi, li fortunatament huma ftit. Dawn it-tip ta’ nies mhux jikkontestaw lill-awtoritá, imma jiddisprezzawha.

Il-poplu Malti għandu rispett lejn il-korp tal-pulizija għax b’mod ġenerali japprezza l-impenn u d-dedikazzjoni tal-membri tiegħu lejn il-komunitá. Il-Korp tal-Pulizija hu l-ewwel ħajt ta’ kenn li n-nies tfittex, u ħafna drabi, fid-diffikultajiet tal-ħajja ta’ kuljum dan il-kenn issibu.

Il-Union tal-Pulizija kif ukoll l-Assoċjazzjoni tal-Pulizija ġustament tkellmu dwar il-ħtieġa ta’ assigurazzjoni biex tipproteġi lill-Pulizija u lill-familji tagħhom meta dawn iweġġgħu jew jitilfu ħajjithom waqt il-qadi ta’ dmirijiethom. Dan hu tajjeb li jsir, u għandu jsir malajr kemm jista’ jkun. Imma iktar minn hekk hemm il-ħtieġa li possibilment ikunu evitati inċidenti ta’ din ix-xorta. Biex dan isir hemm bżonn iktar pulizija fuq ir-ronda kif ukoll li kull pulizija jkun akkumpanjat minn tal-inqas pulizija ieħor. Dan iservi biex kull pulizija jkun imwieżen direttament u mill-ewwel u allura bla dubju jonqsu l-inċidenti fejn tintuża’ l-vjolenza fuq il-pulizija waqt il-qadi ta’ dmirijiethom.

Il-Pulizija m’għandhomx jitħallew dipendenti fuq il-karitá, billi jkunu kostretti li jiġbru l-fondi b’sejħiet pubbliċi wara li jinqala’ incident. L-għajnuna għandha tkun ippjanat u għandha tieħu diversi forom. Għandha tkun għajnuna li primarjament tfittex li tevita l-inċidenti u dan permezz ta’ rinforzi, taħriġ kontinwu kif ukoll billi jkunu pprovduti r-riżorsi kollha meħtieġa. Hekk biss il-pulizija tista’ taqdi dmirha aħjar u fl-istess ħin tingħata protezzjoni adegwata.

Fix-xhieda mogħtija l-Qorti matul din il-ġimgħa mill-kuntistabbli Simon Schembri ntqal li personalment kien xtara elmu u uniformi superjuri fil-kwalitá għal dak li kien jipprovdilu l-korp. Ħadd s’issa għadu ma spjega għaliex il-korp ma jipprovdix lill-Pulizija bl-aqwa u l-aħjar mill-ewwel u minn fondi pubbliċi. Joħroġ ċar u bla dubju li l-kundizzjoni tal-kuntistabbli Schembri setgħet kienet ħafna agħar, kieku ma daħħalx idu fil-but.

Dawn huma uħud mill-affarijiet li jeħtieġ li jkunu rrimedjati. Lill-pulizija l-pajjiż għandu jagħtihom l-aħjar għodda biex jaqdu dmirhom biex fl-istess ħin ikun possibli li iħarsu persunthom bl-aħjar mod possibli.

Il-Pulizija ilhom jitolbu iktar biex ikunu jistgħu jaħdmu sewwa, fosthom il-body cams. Kien tajjeb li sa fl-aħħar, riċentment, fil-bidu tal-Lulju, intqal li l-Pulizija ser jibdew ikunu pprovduti b’dawn il-body cams. Suppost li ser jinbeda proġett pilota, eżattament fit-taqsima tat-traffiku li eventwalment għandu jwassal biex jinfirex fis-sezzjonijiet kollha tal-korp.

Il-parti l-kbira tal-membri tal-Korp tal-Pulizija huma dedikati għal xogħolhom. Hi ħasra li kultant ikun hemm minnhom, ġeneralment fizzjali, li ma jagħmlux xogħolhom sewwa u bħala riżultat jagħtu isem ħażin lill-korp kollu.

Tul is-snin il-Pulizija mhux dejjem kienu stmati tajjeb. Niftakru meta kien tneħħielhom id-dritt għall-pensjoni wara 25 sena servizz, biex eventwalment dan id-dritt reġa’ ngħatalhom lura wara numru ta’ snin. Anke d-dritt li jkunu msieħba fi Trade Union kien pass importanti ‘l-quddiem biex ikun assigurat li l-kundizzjonijiet li fihom jaħdmu l-Pulizija ikunu kontinwament taħt il-lenti, biex jitjiebu.

Hu tajjeb li nuru s-solidarjetá mal-Pulizija u l-familji tagħhom li jbatu konsegwenzi gravi riżultat tad-dedikazzjoni tagħhom għal dmirijiethom. Imma jkun ħafna aħjar jekk naħdmu iktar biex dawn il-konsegwenzi jkunu evitati.

Ippubblikat fuq Illum : Il-Ħadd 26 t’Awwissu 2018

 

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Protecting our boys (and girls) in blue

When Police Constable Simon Schembri from the Police Traffic Section took to the witness stand earlier this week, his thoroughly descriptive testimony was shocking. It described in considerable detail what some of our boys (and girls) in blue are up against when carrying out their duties to protect us. Fortunately, such incidents are not that common.

The Police Corps, at all levels, is replete with dedicated men and women who – in the hour of need – stood up to be counted in defence of our society. Over the years, a number of members of the police corps were murdered while on duty: Simon Schembri was lucky in that, notwithstanding his extensive injuries, he did not join that list.

Maintaining public order has never been an easy task, as there are always those who consider the police force as an obstacle preventing them from acting according to their whims. “Leave me alone” (u ajma ħallini) were the words attributed to the apprehended under-age driver who then proceeded to drag Simon Schembri some 400 metres underneath his Mercedes. This is the result of much more than a lack of respect. People like him, unfortunately, do not simply contest authority, they hold it in contempt.

The Maltese people generally respect members of the police force because they appreciate their dedication to the community they serve and because they are always there to serve when needed.

For some time, the Police Union, as well as the Police Association, have been talking about the need for insurance cover as a protective cushion for police officers who are injured on duty and also for the families of those officers who actually lose their lives in the course of their work. There is no doubt that this should be implemented as a mater of urgency.

However, while it is important to mitigate the impact of injury or death on duty it would obviously be preferable if action was taken to prevent such incidents happening in the first place.  One way would be to assign more officers on the beat, preferably with no policeman or woman being left on his or her own. This would reinforce policing and would inevitably lead to a reduction in the number of incidents in which police officers are faced with a violent reaction when carrying out their duties.

Police officers should not be dependent on charity through public requests for donations after a specific incident to help those who have been injured or the families of those who have been murdered. Such assistance should be pre-planned and it should primarily be prevention-oriented through reinforcement of the police beats, better training and a greater allocation of resources. This would ensure that police officers can carry out their duties in a manner which better ensures their own protection.

During the testimony of Police Constable Simon Schembri earlier this week it was revealed that, out of his own pocket, Schembri had purchased a helmet to use on duty which was of superior quality to that provided by the Police Corps, as well as a uniform made of more resistant material than the one provided. No one has so far explained why the Police Corps does not provide items of the best quality for our boys and girls in blue. This is what public funds are for. It is clear that the condition of Constable Schembri would have been much worse, had he not had the foresight to invest in his own safety.

These are some of the matters which need to be addressed. Our police officers deserve the best uniforms and equipment available. This will ensure that while they are striving to produce while on the frontline in our fight against crime, they themselves are also protected.

The Police Force has been requesting more resources for some considerable time. Body cams have been on this list for ages and it is therefore positive to note that, last month, it was announced that a pilot project for the introduction of body cams for use by police officers on duty was to be shortly implemented. The pilot project is to commence in the traffic section and it is hoped it will eventually spread throughout the police force.

Most of the members of the Police Force are dedicated to their duties. It is a pity that, occasionally, a handful of them put the Force in a bad light as a result of the way they act or react.

Police officers have not always been treated properly by the authorities. We remember when their right to a service pension after 25 years’ service was removed, only for it to be reintroduced a few years later. The right of policeman or woman to join a Trade Union is a recent positive development, serving as it does the purpose of ensuring that their conditions of work are kept under the spotlight and subject to continuous improvement.

It is fine to express our solidarity with members of our Police Force when, as a result of carrying out their duties, they suffer injuries or – even worse – sacrifice their lives. But it would be much better if we all worked tirelessly to ensure that these consequences are avoided as much as possible.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 26 August 2018

Wara l-inkjesta Egrant ……… jibda l-kontrattakk

 

L-istorja dwar l-Egrant għad mhiex lesta.

L-ewwel u qabel kollox hemm ir-rapport tal-inkjesta li għadu mhux magħruf, ħlief minn Joseph Muscat u dawk mgħarrfa minnu.

Bħalissa għaddejja l-battalja legali bejn il-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni Adrian Delia u l-Avukat Ġenerali dwar il-pubblikazzjoni tar-rapport. Anke jiena nixtieq li r-rapport ikun ippubblikat imma nifhem li hemm diffikultajiet dwar dawk il-partijiet tar-rapport fejn hemm struzzjonijiet dwar lil min għandhom jittieħdu passi kontrih u dwar xiex. Ovvjament waħedha toħroġ l-osservazzjoni li ma kienitx l-aħjar deċiżjoni li jingħata kopja tar-rapport tal-inkjesta Joseph Muscat, ukoll minħabba li anke dan il-fatt jista’ jkun ta’ preġudizzju għall-investigazzjonijiet li huma meħtieġa min-naħa tal-Pulizija. Li r-rapport ikun ippubblikat b’biċċiet nieqsa ma jsolvi xejn. Naħseb li kien ikun aħjar kieku jkollna paċenzja nistennew, ilkoll kemm aħna.

Imbagħad hemm il-kontrattakk.

Nhar il-Ħadd Joseph Muscat għamel akkużi serji li b’mod ċar juru kif dan il-kontrattakk jista’ jiżviluppa. Muscat qed jgħid li Simon Busuttil kien jaf x’inhu għaddej dwar il-każ Egrant sa mill-bidu nett. Jgħid ukoll li possibilment Busuttil kien ukoll involut fil-koordinazzjoni ta’ kif żviluppaw l-affarijiet.

Issa jiena ma nafx jekk dan il-kliem (flimkien mal-ispjegazzjoni dettaljata dwar x’wassal għalih) intqalx ukoll lill-Maġistrat Aaron Bugeja, u f’dak il-każ jekk il-maġistrat irrappurtax dwaru fir-rapport finali tal-inkjesta, inkluż bir-reazzjoni ta’ Simon Busuttil għal dan. Għax jekk Joseph Muscat għarraf lill-Maġistrat b’dan “il-koordinament” li hu sar jaf bih, bla dubju il-Maġistrat Bugeja jkun talab spjegazzjoni mingħand Simon Busuttil, u kif inhu xieraq ikun għarblu sewwa.

Min-naħa l-oħra, jekk Joseph Muscat ma għarrafx b’dan lill-Maġistrat Aaron Bugeja naħseb li għandu l-obbligu li jispjega għaliex aġixxa b’dan il-mod.

Dwar dan kollu s’issa xejn mhu magħruf, għajr dak li qed jgħid Joseph Muscat.

Apparti dan, sal-ħin li qed nikteb għadni ma qrajt l-ebda kumment ta’ Simon Busuttil dwar dan. Waqa’ skiet komplet.

Dan kollu jfisser li għad hemm ħafna x’jingħad dwar l-istorja Egrant, kif din żviluppat u dan apparti l-inkjesti maġisterjali l-oħrajn li għadhom għaddejjin.

F’dan il-kuntest ilkoll kemm aħna għandna l-obbligu li ma ngħaġġlux biex naslu għall-konklużjonijiet għax bħal dejjem kulħadd jgħidilna bil-biċċa li jaqbillu u jħalli barra l-bqija.

Ikun għaqli li nistennew li naraw l-istampa kollha. Jekk le niżbaljaw bl-ikraħ.

Għalhekk ukoll importanti li naraw ir-rapport kollu tal-inkjesta, u mhux biċċa jew biċċiet minnu.

It-tigra taċ-Ċaqnu sparixxiet?

Għax hekk bil-fors taħseb meta taqra s-sentenza tal-Maġistrat Mifsud li l-ġimgħa l-oħra illibera liċ-Ċaqnu mill-akkuża li kellu zoo illegali fil-kumpless Montekristo fil-limiti ta’ Ħal-Farruġ.

Dan minkejja li kulħadd jaf mhux biss biz-zoo illegali, imma ukoll bit-tigra li għamlet għal tifel u weġġgħetu serjament.

Fis-sentenza taghha l-Qorti qalet hekk :
“Il-Prosekuzzjoni f’dan il-kaz naqset li tipproduci lista tal-annimali li seta’ kien hemm fil-lok in kwistjoni fil-jum tal-incident. Lanqas fil-Proces Verbal esebit f’dawn l-atti ma tinstab lista ta’ annimali li kien hemm jekk kien hemm f’dak il-jum. Fil-process kollu l-Qorti sabet ritratti biss ta’ annimal wiehed u li jidher li hija tigra. Allura kif xi hadd jippretendi lil din il-Qorti issib lil xi hadd hati li zamm zoo meta min investiga hadd ma ndenja ruhu jaghmel lista tal-annimali li kien hemm, jekk kien hemm, biex ikun ippruvat li kien hemm zoo skont id-definizzjoni tal-ligi?”

Il-fatt li l-Pulizija ma ippreżentatx provi għandu jħassibna ħafna. Iktar u iktar meta nafu li ċ-Ċaqnu għandu l-fama li jipprova jagħmel li jrid. Ħafna drabi jirnexxielu għax min għandu l-obbligu li jwaqqfu ma jagħmel xejn.

Ma nafx jekk dan kienx kaz ta’ negligenza mill-Pulizija inkella jekk hemmx spjegazzjoni oħra, agħar minn hekk. Nittama li l-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija isib il-ħin biex jinvestiga lill-Pulizja li għamlu din il-froġa u wara jiehu l-passi li jirriżultaw meħtieġa.

Għax it-tigra taċ-Ċaqnu ma sparixxietx. Huma l-pulizija li qed jisparixxu, ftit ftit.

Bomba għal Marlene u Godfrey

 

Permezz ta’ ittra anonima qalulhom li jekk ser jibqgħu jimminaw lil Delia qed jistiednu l-istess destin ta’ Daphne jiġifieri bomba li ttemmilhom ħajjithom.

Dan it-theddid hu dejjem kundannabbli. Għalkemm hu tajjeb li Godfrey mar għand il-Pulizija bl-ittra, però kemm hu għaqli li jingħata pubbliċitá lil min qed jhedded?

Undermining the rule of law

The “rule of law” is a basic democratic principle codified in the laws of democratic countries.

We are all servants of the law in order to be free and in a democracy, the law should apply to one and all without exception. A weak “rule of law” thus results in less and less democracy until one is left with only a free-standing façade.

The law is there to be observed: it should be a constraint on the behaviour of individuals as well as on that of institutions. All individuals ought to be subject to the same laws, whereas institutions are there to protect us all, not just from ourselves but also from all possible attempted abuse of authority by the institutions themselves.

It is within this context that the report of the ad hoc delegation of the Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament has to be considered. The report is an illustration of how others see the state of our democracy, even though at points it may be inaccurate.

The delegation’s brief was to investigate “alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion”.

The observations and conclusions of the delegation in its 36-page report are certainly not edifying. The common thread running through the different pages of the report is that in Malta there are more masters of the law than servants; this is how others see us.

In my opinion they are not far off the mark. The report repeatedly emphasises the point that the law should be observed in both letter and spirit.

The institutions in Malta are very weak. I would add that they are weak by design, in other words they are designed specifically to genuflect when confronted by crude political power. This is reflected both in the type of appointees as well as in the actual set-up of the institutions which are supposedly there to protect us.

The above-mentioned report observes, for example, that none of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) reports on Maltese politically exposed persons (PEPs) were investigated by the Police, notwithstanding the fact that the said reports had been forwarded to them “for any action the Police may consider appropriate”.

Is it too much to expect that the police do their duty in at least investigating? The fact that no such investigation was carried out drives home the clear unequivocal message that for the police, PEPs are not subject to the law like any other person. The EU Parliament report is very clear as to why such investigations are essential. In fact it is stated that: “Persons perceived to be implicated in serious acts of corruption and money- laundering, as a result of Panama Papers revelations and FIAU reports, should not be kept in public office and must be swiftly and formally investigated and brought to justice. Keeping them in office affects the credibility of the Government, fuels the perception of impunity and may result in further damage to State interests by enabling the continuation of criminal activity.”

The question to be asked is: why is this possible? Why do Maltese authorities tend to bend the rules or close an eye here and there?

You may find an indication as to why this is so in two small incidents occurring in Malta this year. These illustrate the forma mentis of the Maltese “authorities”.

The first example is associated with the fireworks factory at Iż-Żebbiegħ. After 30 years in Court the rural community of iż-Żebbiegħ won a civil case as a result of which a permit for a fireworks factory was declared null and void by the Court of Appeal. The government reacted by rushing through Parliament amendments to the Explosives Ordinance. These amendments with approved by Parliament with the full support of the Opposition. As a result, notwithstanding the decision of the Court of Appeal, a permit for the fireworks factory can still be issued.

The second example is still “work in progress”. The Court of Appeal has, in the application of rent legislation, decided that the Antoine de Paule Band Club in Paola was in breach of its lease agreement. As a result the Court of Appeal ordered the eviction of the band club from the premises they leased within four months.

The government reacted by publishing proposed amendments to the Civil Code, as a result of which the eviction ordered by the Court of Appeal will be blocked.

These are two examples of the government reacting to decisions of our Courts of Law by moving the goalposts – with the direct involvement of the Opposition. The public reactions to these two cases have been minimal. Maltese public opinion has become immune to such “cheating” and bending of the rules because this method of operation has become an integral part of the way in which our institutions function. The Opposition is an active collaborator in this exercise that undermines the rule of law in Malta.

Is it therefore reasonable to be surprised if this “cheating” and bending of the rules is applied not just in minor matters but in very serious ones too? Moving the goalposts whenever it is politically expedient is, unfortunately, part of the way in which this country has operated to date. It is certainly anything but democratic and most obviously anything but respectful towards the rule of law.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 20 May 2018

Il-proġett Daphne: istituzzjonijiet dgħajfa

Is-sitwazzjoni hi waħda gravi.

Il-qtil ta’ ġurnalista minnu innifsu hu tebgħa fuq il-pajjiż kollu.

Il-ħasil tal-flus, probabbilment ġejjin mill-korruzzjoni ta’ kobor li qatt ma rajna bħala, dejjem iktar jidher bħala l-possibli motiv f’dan kollu.

Il-kollass tal-istituzzjonijiet jgħaqqad kollox.

Il-ġurnalisti barranin investigaw huma ukoll. Għamlu ir-riflessjonijiet tagħhom fuq dak li semgħu, fuq dak li raw u fuq it-tweġibiet li ngħataw għall-mistoqsijiet tagħhom.

Għaliex, qed jistaqsu, ma ġie investigat l-ebda politiku Malti? Għaliex dawk li kitbet fuqhom DCG, l-ebda wieħed minnhom ma kien tal-inqas mistieden jieħu kafè mal-Kummissarju biex jgħin ftit lill-Pulizija fl-investigazzjoni tagħhom?

Qed jingħad li dawk li eventwalment ġew akkużati bil-qtil kienu avżati li l-Pulizija kienu ser jagħmlu raid fit-tinda tal-patata. Min qalilhom?

Dawn huma kollha affarijiet li jixħtu dellijiet kbar fuq il-proċess tal-ġustizzja fil-pajjiż.

L-istituzzjonijiet huma dgħajfa ħafna u m’għandna l-ebda kenn fihom.

Iż-żamma tal-ordni pubbliku fil-Marsa

L-ordni pubbliku nassoċjawh mal-Pulizija. Għax normalment hu xogħol il-Pulizija li żżomm l-ordni pubbliku. Ikun hemm mumenti straordinarji li l-pulizija jkollhom bżonn l-għajnuna. F’dawn iċ-ċirkustanzi ħafna drabi l-pulizja jingħataw l-għajnuna tal-armata.

M’hiex sitwazzjoni normali li l-armata tkun iddur fit-toroq biex iżżomm l-ordni pubbliku. Dan iseħħ jew f’mumenti ta’ emergenza inkella meta d-demokrazija tkun taħt theddida. Hekk isir fid-dinja kollha.

Huwa f’dan il-kuntest li wieħed għandu jqis id-dikjarazzjoni tal-Prim Ministru nhar l-Ħadd li għadda f’Santa Luċija dwar il-presenza tal-armata fit-toroq tal-Marsa biex tgħin lill-Pulizija fiż-żamma tal-ordni pubbliku. Iktar kmieni tkellem ukoll il-Ministru tal-Intern fuq l-istess punt.

Irrid ngħid li m’huwiex xogħol l-armata li tinżel fit-toroq. L-armata m’hiex imħarrġa għal hekk. It-taħriġ tagħha huwa biex tiddefendi lil pajjiż fil-konfront ta’ perikli ġejjin minn barra xtutna. Biż-żmien l-armata ngħata ukoll it-taħriġ biex tintervjeni f’każ ta’ diżastri naturali, bħal għargħar, kif ġieli fil-fatt tagħmel meta tgħin lid-Dipartiment tal-Protezzjoni Civili. Dan hu kollu tajjeb u l-armata jixirqilha l-grazzi tagħna lkoll għal dak kollu li jirnexxielha twettaq.

Kemm il-Prim Ministru f’Santa Luċija kif ukoll il-Ministru tal-Intern fil-Marsa iktar qabel, ħabbru ukoll li fl-Għassa tal-Marsa ser jibda jkun hemm Spettur kif ukoll li l-presenza tal-Pulizija fil-Marsa ser tiżdied bl-Ghassa tibda tkun miftuħa għal 24 siegħa kuljum. Dan hu kollu tajjeb għax il-presenza tal-Pulizija fit-toroq hi ta’ għajnuna kbira fiż-żamma tal-ordni pubbliku. Għax huwa meħtieg presenza ikbar ta’ pulizija fit-toroq tagħna, mhux biss fit-toroq tal-Marsa imma f’dawk tal-pajjiz kollu.

Fi ftit kliem hi l-pulizja li għanda tkun inkarigata miż-żamma tal-ordni pubbliku mhux l-armata. Dan jgħodd għall-Marsa u għal kull rokna ta’ Malta.

Open a bottle of wine baby!

The developments over the past week in the investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija have been substantial.

At this point in time, it appears that, as a result of the Malta Police having been assisted by more experienced investigators, they have possibly started mastering the technological divide which, until fairly recently seemed unbridgeable. Searches, arrests and arraignments have followed in quick succession. Other hitherto unsolved crimes involving bombs in the past few months may now possibly be on the verge of being solved too.

The systematic and detailed leaks to both local and foreign news outlets are apparently a celebration of this new technological mastery, although those master-minding the leaks may also be sending messages to those who can still spill the beans as to who commissioned the assassination.

“Open a bottle of wine, baby!” Feeding the press with titbits as to the celebratory bottle of wine requested by the same fingers which triggered the bomb through an SMS may send shivers down our spines as to the carefully planned assassination and the ruthlessness of the perpetrators. This precise detail was then followed by the information that the mobile phone used to trigger the bomb had exceeded its credit limit which led to a hitch, as a result of which an essential €5 mobile phone credit top-up served to unmistakeably identify the fingers operating the deadly phone.

A detailed examination of the conversations and messages exchanged through the deadly mobile phone has, most probably, revealed much more information which -rightly- has not been yet released. Even this information may be ultra-sensitive, at this point in time, in the exercise to identify those who may have commissioned this murder.

Undoubtedly, police investigators will have identified a multitude of possibilities, some realistic, others far-fetched, as to who could have had an interest in commissioning the assassination. Some of those arrested during the large-scale police operation in Marsa, Ħaż-Żebbuġ and St.Paul’s Bay earlier this week, are, in fact, indicative of this investigative line of action, even though seven of those arrested were eventually released on police bail.

Among the leaked information is the fact that the assassination has been planned for two months, meaning that the police have detailed information of electronic messages and phone conversations spanning this long. This undoubtedly will be the source of much more information that has so far been withheld. It could point towards other leads of crucial importance to understanding the still unknown elements of the plot.

The leaks are undoubtedly sourced at the nerve centre of the investigation. They reveal  uneasiness on the part of the police with regard to the local media, opting to leak substantial information to the foreign press. The local media also demands information, even though at times to make this available would clearly be counterproductive. The police would do well to invest substantially in some professional training on how to deal with the press. The top brass of the police force (starting with Commissioner Cutajar) clearly need it.

Notwithstanding these developments, basic misgivings about the investigation itself remain. The bad move on the part of Magistrate Consuelo Scerri-Herrera, who rushed head-on into the investigation when it was ethical to have stayed miles away from it, as well as the involvement of Deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta, are serious mistakes that should have been avoided. The results obtained so far in the investigation do not cancel out these basic mistakes.

The arraignments made so far are a step forward. The case will, however, only be solved when those commissioning the assassination, as well as their motives, are known. It is only then that Daphne will rest in peace.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 10 December 2017

Iftaħli flixkun inbid, qalbi!

L-iżviluppi matul il-ġimgħa li għaddiet fl-investigazzjoni dwar il-qtil ta’ Daphne Caruana Galizia fil-Bidnija kienu sostanzjali. Jidher li l-Pulizija Maltija, bħala riżultat tal-għajnuna li rċieviet minn forzi tal-ordni ta’ pajjiżi oħra b’esperjenza vasta f’dawn it-tip ta’ investigazzjonijiet bdew jitgħallmu jużaw it-teknoloġija biex isolvu l-investigazzjonijiet. Bħala riżultat ta’ dan segwew tfittxijiet u arresti, u tlieta ttellgħu l-Qorti akkużati bil-qtil. Jidher ukoll li każijiet oħra ta’ qtil b’bombi li seħħew fl-aħħar xhur hu possibli ħafna li jissolvew.

L-informazzjoni li ħarġet u għada ħierġa kemm lill-medja lokali kif ukoll lil dik barranija jidher li hi ċelebrazzjoni ta’ dan l-għarfien ġdid: li t-teknoloġija tista’ wara kollox tkun għodda tajba u utli ħafna fl-investigazzjonijiet. Imma jista’ jkun ukoll li l-informazzjoni li ħarġet hi ukoll messaġġ li issa, wara kollox, ftit baqa’ mistur u li min għandu jikxef il-ftit li baqa’ jaqbillu jiċċaqlaq: min ordna l-qtil ta’ Daphne Caruana Galizia?

“Iftaħli flixkun inbid, qalbi!” Li nkunu nafu dwar t-talba għal-flixkun inbid biex jiċċelebra, liema talba saret minn l-istess swaba’ li splodew il-bomba permezz ta’ SMS li ntbagħtet hi aħbar li għandha tqabbadna l-bard għax tikxef il-preparazzjoni u l-kefrija ta’ dawk li ħejjew għal u wettqu dan il-qtil. Dan id-dettal hu segwit minn informazzjoni li t-telefon ċellulari li ntuża biex tkun sploduta l-bomba kien wasal fil-limitu, għax ma kienx baqa’ flus u li kien meħtieġ top-up ta’ €5. Kien bħala riżultat ta’ dan it-top-up li ġew identifikati l-identità tas-swaba’ qerrieda.

Bla dubju, eżami dettaljat tal-messaġġi u l-konverzazzjonijiet li seħħew bil-mobile qerriedi żvelaw ħafna iktar minn hekk. B’mod għaqli dan s’issa għadu mhux magħruf mill-pubbliku. Għax jista’ jkun li din l-informazzjoni għad tista’ twassal f’ras il-għajn: min ordna l-qtil. Dawk li qed imexxu l-investigazzjoni mingħajr dubju jkunu identifikaw il-parti l-kbira tal-possibilitajiet dwar x’seta ġara: uħud rejalistiċi, oħrajn xi ftit jew wisq inġebbda: possibilitajiet dwar min seta’ kellu interess li jordna dan il-qtil. Uħud minn dawk arrestati bħala riżultat tal-operazzjoni tal-Pulizija li seħħet iktar kmieni din il-ġimgħa fil-Marsa, Ħaż-Żebbuġ u San Pawl il-Baħar jindikaw x’qed jaħsbu l-investgaturi dwar dawn il-possibilitajiet.

Fost l-informazzjoni li ħarġet hemm li l-qtil kien ilu jkun ippjanat għal madwar xahrejn. Dan ifisser li fl-investigazzjoni tagħhom il-pulizija eżaminaw tal-inqas informazzjoni elettronika li tmur lura tal-inqas xahrejn. Dan ifisser ukoll li hemm ħafna iktar informazzjoni li s’issa għad ma ħarġitx għax probabbilment m’huwiex għaqli li din toħroġ minħabba li titfa dawl fuq dak li s’issa għadu mhux magħruf: min ordna l-qtil?

L-informazzjoni bla ebda dubju ħarġet minn ras il-għajn. Imma turi Pulizija li m’hiex kunfidenti mal-istampa lokali u li għaldaqstant għażlet dik barranija biex tiżvela dak li riedet. Anke l-istampa lokali għandha dritt li tkun infurmata avolja kulltant din l-informazzjoni tista’ tkun kontro-produċenti. Jidher ċar li l-Pulizija għandha bżonn tinvesti f’taħriġ professjonali fuq l-imġieba tagħha mal-istampa. Taħrig li għandu jingħata lill-fizzjali kollha: jistgħu jibdew mill-Kummissarju Cutajar.

Minkejja dak kollu li seħħ matul din il-ġimgħa, l-kritika inizzjali dwar l-investigazzjoni tibqa’ waħda valida. Il-pass żbaljat tal-Maġistrat Consuelo Scerri-Herrera li telqet tiġri lejn il-Bidnija biex tibda l-investigazzjoni meta kien ovvju li għal raġunijiet etiċi kellha tibqa’ l-bogħod kemm jista’ jkun jibqa’ żball li jeħtieġ li jkun indirizzat biex ma jkunx hemm ripetizzjoni tiegħu. Anke l-involviment tad-Deputat Kummissarju Silvio Valletta kien żball oħxon li ma jitħassax bir-riżultati miksuba s’issa.

Il-konkluzjonijiet s’issa tal-investigazzjoni huma pass il-quddiem. Il-kaz imma ikun riżolt biss meta jkun magħruf min ordna l-qtil kif ukoll il-motivi tiegħu jew tagħha. Huwa biss f’dak il-ħin li Daphne tkun tista’ tistrieħ fis-sliem.

 

Ippubblikat f’Illum – 10 ta’ Diċembru 2017