Last Thursday, when Matthew Caruana Galizia took the witness stand in the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, he gave the impression that he was working, together with his mother, on cases of corruption involving the current Labour Government. As I have explained in a previous blog, by now the police should have arraigned anybody involved in the alleged corruption linked to Electrogas. What resulted from Matthew Caruana Galizia’s evidence is a series of conflicting dates when he and his mother began investigating Electrogas and 17Black.
Readers ought to be reminded that Matthew Caruana Galizia implied that his mother started investigating Electrogas in 2017. Next, he said that his mother began investigating 17Black in 2016 and finally he stated that his mother started investigating shell companies in 2014!
17Black was set up as a shell company so that – and this is the allegation that is being made – the dirty money of corruption, generated by Electrogas, could be channelled through this company.
I honestly believe that it would have been better for Matthew Caruana Galizia to first explain where he was precisely during the timeframes indicated above. Why did he insist that he was working with his mother?
At this point, I think that it is important for Matthew Caruana Galizia to explain his connections with the IIJC journalists, about whom he said nothing in court, and whether it is true that he was in Costa Rica working for this consortium? Only if all these questions are answered satisfactorily, the truth will start to emerge. From what has been stated so far, Daphne was obtaining the information from Matthew. Am I right to conclude that he was passing this information to his mother because he could not write about it?
Then, there is the story about how the owner of 17Black was identified. I don’t think that the consortium or Matthew Caruana Galizia discovered who was the company’s true owner through some sort of inquisitive investigation or phishing. The ownership was revealed through what is known as inference. 17Black was the number that Yorgen’s father, George Fenech, who died in 2014, always used to play when visiting Casinos. George Fenech, Richard Cachia Caruana and Joe Gasan enjoyed going together to the Casino of Montecarlo.
What we do know for certain is that Daphne Caruana Galizia had close ties with Richard Cachia Caruana. Richard Cachia Caruana and Joe Gason used to visit the Montecarlo Casino with George Fenech. They all knew George Fenech’s passion to play on the number 17Black.
This brings us to the story of the whistleblower as recounted in court by Matthew Caruana Galizia. Matthew Caruana Galizia declared that he came to know about the emails that were passed between Yorgen Fenech and the (Electrogas commercial director) Catherine Halpin, from a whistleblower, whose name, he could not reveal in court to protect his source. This leaves me perplexed. First, he can state it behind close doors. Secondly, one needs to remember that the Labour Government passed the Whistleblower’s Act, which legislation was also backed by the Nationalist MPs.
It follows that if this information was obtained from a genuine and reliable person, this individual should have applied for protection status under the Whistleblower’s Act. Why has this person not done so? In this scenario, where this individual did not apply for protection, how credible is his/her information? Can such information, which is simply hearsay, hold up in court? Does this whistleblower actually exist?
If what Matthew Caruana Galizia testified about this whistleblower is true, then what is preventing this whistleblower from asking for legal protection?
I am sure that if Matthew Caruana Galizia’s source is genuine, the police would support his or her plea for protection. After obtaining protection, this whistleblower could be brought to court as witness. If this does not materialise, any information passed on cannot be taken to be good evidence. Lawyers follow what is known as the best evidence rule. If the best evidence is not produced, then one cannot rest on secondary or hearsay evidence. This is normally discarded in the court.