Magistrate Nadine Lia, the daughter-in-law of Pawlu Lia is presiding over a case in court brought up by NGO Republika that is challenging the police’s inaction over Pilatus Bank and its owners. Magistrate Lia has just issued a court decree asking the police to explain how the magisterial inquiry was leaked to the NGO.
Nadine Lia is married to the son of Pawlu Lia, who was previously the lawyer to the Labour Party and the current lawyer to Joseph Muscat. The Pilatus Bank saga involves allegations of money laundering by Joseph Muscat his chief of staff Keith Schembri.
Nadine Lia could do the decent thing and recuse herself from the case, but the very fact that she didn’t is an indictment that her position as a magistrate is being usurped to serve the mafia and not the law. Such a flagrant conflict of interest should not be accepted and both the Chamber of Advocates and the Opposition should see that Lia is not involved in any cases which carry political interests. She can’t be impartial and she won’t be. Everyone knows this and it is nothing less than scandalous that the inner circle of Joseph Muscat is now in control over a case in court involving Pilatus Bank.
The press should also ask questions to the Justice Ministry about how Lia ended up presiding over this case (they won’t answer my questions). Pawlu Lia is no longer representing the Labour Party and he is more concerned with Joseph Muscat and his friends, but the Labour Party will have no qualms in collaborating with Pawu Lia to effect damage control.
Pawlu Lia fell from grace as the humble Labour Party lawyer when he was allowed to be used by Joseph Muscat. Pawlu could have said no, but he was too submissive and uncritical and instead opted to go along with Muscat. In return for his loyalty to Muscat Pawlu Lia gained favours such as having his daughter in law appointed as a magistrate: a quid pro quo which was of great reciprocal benefit to both parties. Maybe, it was poverty or greed which turned the humble, socialist, old-banger-car-driving Pawlu Lia into the lawyer of the mafia, or maybe it was just because he was too soft to say no. Pawlu Lia rarely asked for money from Labour Party and when he did, he probably charged a pittance. Having the Labour Party in government had finally given him the opportunity to enjoy some grease. I have had many friends who went down the same route. For most of them, once the grease got going, they just kept wanting more.
As for the issue of investigations on leaks and whatnot, we, as journalists, should not be cornered and forced to publish our sources and by default have our work and security compromised.