The conclusions of the public inquiry into the State’s role in the murder which led to the brutal assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia could not be more damning.  Just as Daphne had been saying for years, Malta was heading towards becoming a mafia state whereby those who are supposedly tasked to defend the rule of law were in cahoots with the criminals.

“The incestuous relationship at many levels between the public administration at the highest echelons and the big businesses and organized crime created a corrupt system which eroded many of the country’s institutions from the inside”.

The three judges also pointed fingers towards the state saying it was responsible for fuelling a sense of “defacto impunity” whereby there was no fear in committing certain crimes as the attitude from the very top was that there would be no consequences for the perpetrator.

Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil too had paid a heavy price for standing up to be counted in the 2017 general election campaign. More often than not, he used to be mocked by his detractors such as when he turned up in court with piles of box files containing evidence on money laundering and corruption involving Keith Schembri and Adrian Hillman. That day government and Labour propagandists went into overdrive, dismissing it all as a charade. It turned out he was right, but more so Daphne who a few months later paid the ultimate price to expose the truth. This is not about politics, this is not about hate speech, but this is about a woman who single-handedly exposed tons of corruption which no other media house in Malta had the courage to do. While others might have been apprehensive fearing a government backlash in the form of advertising – which is the major source of revenue for most but not all media houses in Malta – she would simply steam ahead and expose corrupt deals involving politicians, businessmen, public figures and shady regimes.

In the aftermath of the publication of the report Prime Minister Robert Abela apologized to the Caruana Galizia family and heaped praised upon himself for enacting a host of reforms. Yet, he is still surrounded in cabinet by certain elements who were at the forefront in demonizing Daphne including a former justice ministry who ordered the makeshift memorial in front of the law courts to be cleared dozens of times, and a former home affairs minister under whose watch the police commissioner was no more than a puppet-on-a string or in the best case scenario as effective as a six-year-old defending the goal against Messi and Ronaldo. Political accountability is not putting yourself to the test by going to the polls. Elections have nothing to do whatsoever with getting pardoned by the electorate and pressing for this route would be a mistake. Ultimately, getting a fresh mandate will not contribute to start repairing the country’s reputation. There is only one way out of this deep hole. Time has never been so ripe for the wheels of justice to start turning without fear and favour.