An unprecedented 1 million euro reward was offered by Malta's government on coupled by full protection for anyone with information on who killed an investigative reporter with a car bomb.
A statement released by the government termed the Oct. 16 car bomb killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, a case of extraordinary importance. Galizia was reporting on corruption that targeted the prime minister and other top figures on the southern Mediterranean island.
The statement said that it was offering the sum to "whomever comes forward with information leading to the identification of those responsible" for her slaying.
"The government is fully committed to solving the murder … (and) bringing those responsible to justice," the statement said.
A reward was being posted by the Maltese government in a bank heist case a few years ago, however, this was believed to be the first time it posted a reward in a murder case.
Caruana Galizia’s killing has been denounced by top European Union officials as an attack on journalistic freedom as they’ve insisted that the rule of law ought to prevail in the tiny member nation. The island is widely considered a tax haven and a tempting venue for those looking to launder or hide ill-gotten gains.
Galizia’s car blew up not far from her home, the explosion stunned the island's citizens, who eagerly followed her blog on corruption to see which business, financial or political figures were the latest in her sights.
Her family didn't immediately comment on the government's move that was made on Saturday. However, earlier this week, the family said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had asked for their "endorsement" for offering a reward.
In response the family said that: "This is how he can get it: show political responsibility and resign … for failing to uphold our fundamental freedoms" to the point where their mother "no longer felt safe walking down the street." They also called on the government to replace the top police commissioner and the attorney general so "then we won't need a million-euro reward and our mother wouldn't have died in vain."
The Panama Papers links to Maltese had been dug by Caruana Galizia among other articles, that Muscat's wife had an offshore account that was used to move money from high-level Azerbaijan figures. However, rhe Muscats denied having such an account and any wrongdoing.
Libel suits had been launched by several top officials that included a minister and Muscat's chief-of-staff. The government made a statement on Saturday in which it said that information could be passed on confidentially to the police and still be eligible for the reward as long as it "is corroborated with other independent evidence which would lead to the identification of the person or persons who committed this act."
Dutch forensic experts and FBI agents are helping Malta with the homicide investigation. However, the date for the funeral is yet to be announced.