Malta News Briefing – Saturday 23 September 2023

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Morning Briefing

Malta calls on Russia to withdraw from Ukrainian territory

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Robert Abela strongly condemned Russia’s ongoing disregard for international law through its attack on Ukraine. He underscored that Malta’s stance of neutrality does not permit tolerance of military aggression or unilateral actions against members of the global community and the rules-based order. Abela also emphasized that Malta’s commitment to neutrality should not be mistaken for indifference to international crises, particularly those causing suffering and pain due to illegal invasions. He called upon Russia, in the name of peace, to withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s sovereign territory and urged all nations present to unite in efforts to end the conflict. (Maltatoday)

No suspicious activity in land transfer involved in Sofia building collapse – State agency

A state agency, INDIS Malta, has asserted that the land transfer to the developers involved in the building collapse, which resulted in the tragic death of worker Jean Paul Sofia, was devoid of any suspicious activities. During the sixth session of the public inquiry into the incident, INDIS Malta’s Executive Chair, Jean Pierre Attard, testified that he inquired about the land transfer to Kurt Buhagiar and Matthew Schembri for the construction of a furniture factory after the collapse occurred. INDIS Malta, responsible for industrial parks, had a contract for the land transfer to these developers. Attard stated that the board members overseeing the transfer did not detect any irregularities or suspicious elements, a view he concurred with after reviewing the documents. (Times of Malta)

Four new magistrates to focus exclusively on magisterial inquiries

Justice Minister Jonathan Attard announced on Friday that there will be a call for the appointment of five new magistrates, with four of them exclusively dedicated to handling magisterial inquiries. Speaking at a press conference, Attard clarified that these four magistrates will play a pivotal role in forthcoming magisterial inquiry reforms, allowing other magistrates to focus on different tasks and procedures. He emphasized the urgency of these reforms, citing the current backlog of 1,723 pending magisterial inquiries, some dating back four decades, as evidence of the imperative need for systemic change. Attard stressed that the authorities cannot remain indifferent to the hardships endured by victims and their families due to the protracted and opaque inquiry process.

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