Top Malta politicians quit as probe into slain reporter widens
Two high-ranking politicians in Malta’s government resigned on Tuesday, with a third “suspending himself” in the biggest political fallout to date from a widening probe into the brutal murder of investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The resignations of Keith Schembri, the chief of staff to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and tourism minister Konrad Mizzi heaped pressure on the government over its handling of Caruana Galizia’s car bomb assassination in 2017.
“Murderers!” chanted hundreds of protesters gathered outside parliament, with some throwing eggs at Muscat, who has been accused of impeding justice by protecting his closest allies.
Jeering demonstrators shouted “Mafia!” at the prime minister as he was whisked away by a large group of bodyguards.
Sources told AFP that Schembri had been called in for questioning by police after being fingered by the main suspect in the case, prominent businessman Yorgen Fenech.
Fenech, who was arrested on his yacht last week as he tried to leave the country, has requested immunity to reveal what he knows. The mogul was released on bail on Tuesday.
Investigators suspect Schembri may have tipped Fenech off, sparking the failed getaway bid, Maltese media reported.
Muscat refused to say what prompted Schembri’s decision to resign, telling reporters it was premature to speculate.
Hours later, Mizzi told journalists it was his “duty” to step down to allow Muscat’s government to complete its term.
In another blow to the government on Tuesday, Economy Minister Chris Cardona’s office said he was “suspending himself with immediate effect from his position as minister, pending the investigations”.
Opposition leader Adrian Delia told parliament that Muscat’s position was “untenable, because the only decisions he can take are to protect those around him”…….read more