Claims of €540,000 contract to former PM Joseph Muscat / Malta News Briefing – Friday 21 January 2022

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1745- Latest News update

Times of Malta says that The man accused of raping and murdering a woman in Sliema told police he didn’t intend on hurting her “that much”.

MaltaToday says that Nationalist leader Bernard Grech says Prime Minister should exercise political maturity.

Newsbook says that the annual inflation rate in Malta in December 2021 stood at 2.6%, up from 0.2% a year earlier, data published by Eurostat shows.

TVM says that a 36-year-old woman of foreign nationality pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic violence against her husband after she reported he had raped her.

Updated 1240 – Mid-Day Briefing

Caruana Galizia makes claims of €540,000 contract to former PM Joseph Muscat: Former PM Joseph Muscat was allegedly given a €540,000 contract by a Swiss firm according to new claims by journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia. On Twitter, Caruana Galizia claimed that Muscat was to be given €15,000 monthly payments for three years. These payments were halted after UBS bank became suspicious of the transactions and closed off the company’s accounts. This revelation came out hot on the heels of news that Muscat’s house was raided with regard to payments he allegedly received as part of the controversial VGH hospitals privatisation deal.

Compilation of evidence against Abner Aquilina commences: The court today began to hear the compilation of evidence against Abner Aquilina, the man accused of raping and murdering Paulina Demsbka on 2nd January, at Independence Gardens in Sliema. Aquilina, who is pleading not guilty, is currently under quarantine and followed the session through a video link. The prosecution, led by Superintendent Keith Arnaud, gave details on the events as they happened, including the first exchanges they had with Aquilina, his mother and a friend of the Polish national. The defence argued that Aquilina’s rights might have been breached when he was recorded on bodycam, but the prosecution and a parte civile lawyer insisted that Aquilina was spoken to in connection with commotion he created at a nearby church. The case resumes in two weeks’ time.

Debt levels increase: Malta’s debt level has reached 57.2% of GDP by the end of the third quarter of last year, an increase of 5.7% over the same period of last year. This was the third largest increase in the European Union.

Covid-19 Update: Active Covid-19 cases declined to 7941, after 1062 persons recovered overnight, while new cases remained stable at 306. 99 persons are in hospital, seven of whom in ITU. During the last 24 hours, a 74-year old female passed away while Covid-19 positive, Malta’s 521st victim.

Morning Briefing

Muscat tip-off claims are diversionary tactics – PN Leader

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said that former PM Joseph Muscat’s claims that he was tipped off by a police search on his home are an attempt to divert attention. Grech insisted that claims of a tipoff was not the story one should be talking about. “If there is to be any sort of investigation, then this should be done by the police,” he said. “We are in a horrible and, dare I say, dangerous state where we need political parties, politicians, or civil society to ask the police to investigate” Grech insisted. Muscat’s home was searched by financial crime police as part of a corruption probe into the Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) hospitals scandal.

Court greenlights Miriam Chetcuti interview

A court has given the green-light to ONE Tv to broadcast an interview with Miriam Chetcuti, the mother of murder victim Chantelle Chetcuti. The latter was killed in 2020, allegedly by her ex-partner Justin Borg. His lawyers, sought to stop the transmission, insisting it would prejudice the case. However, the the First Hall of the Civil Court presided by madam justice Anna Felice, turned down Borg’s request for an injunction.

Covid-19 update: Six people have died as 286 new COVID-19 cases were detected in the past 24 hours. It is the highest death toll in one day since the pandemic reached Malta. The victims included three men aged 47, 75 and 79, and three women aged 75, 79 and 97. There were 286 new cases and 552 new recoveries.

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