Daphne Caruana Galizia case: Under-fire Malta police chief quits

image copyrightAFP
image captionIn October 2017 activists protested against the police chief

Malta's police chief Lawrence Cutajar has resigned amid criticism over the investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and alleged political corruption.

The announcement came from the new prime minister, Robert Abela, who was sworn in on Monday.

He quoted Mr Cutajar as saying reforms to the police force were necessary.

Caruana Galizia, an anti-corruption blogger, was killed by a car bomb in 2017. Four men have been charged.

She had investigated corruption among Malta's political and business elite, and had made serious allegations against senior government figures.

media captionProtesters outside Malta's parliament demand justice

Civil society activists accused Mr Cutajar - appointed in 2016 - and Attorney General Peter Grech of failing to crack down on high-level corruption.

Mr Abela said he found no reason to dismiss Mr Grech. But he said a new, "transparent" method for appointing the Maltese police commissioner would be examined. Currently it is the PM's choice, not parliament's.

Former Labour Party leader and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat resigned after being accused of protecting his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and others linked to Yorgen Fenech, a wealthy businessman now in custody over his alleged role in Caruana Galizia's murder.

One of her sons, Paul, welcomed the police chief's resignation, in a tweet.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Mr Schembri has denied wrongdoing. Mr Fenech's arrest also sparked the resignation of the tourism minister, Konrad Mizzi, who was previously energy minister.

Three men - brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio and their friend Vince Muscat - are on trial for allegedly detonating the car bomb. They have pleaded not guilty, as has Mr Fenech, charged as an accomplice.

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