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Magistrate quizzed over delayed migrant death inquiry

The Attorney General has asked Magistrate Antonio Micallef Trigona to explain why he has not yet concluded an inquiry into the suspicious death of a Nigerian immigrant  in April 2011.

Ifeanyi Nwokoye, 29, died in hospital soon after he was captured following an escape – an incident being likened to the death in custody last Friday/Saturday of Malian Mamadou Kamara (Zoto).

The Times yesterday reported that five detention officials “directly involved in the demise” of Mr Nwokoye, including an Armed Forces of Malta soldier, are still awaiting possible disciplinary action due to the ongoing magisterial inquiry.

The government told The Times on Monday that it would ask the Attorney General to intervene by filing an application in court demanding the conclusion of the inquiry if he deems it appropriate.

The Times has learnt that the Attorney General filed a court application on Tuesday, asking the magistrate for an explanation.

The Attorney General pointed out that according to article 550A in the Criminal Code, magistrates who did not conclude their procès-verbal within 60 days must submit a report to the Attorney General.

The report, which must continue to be submitted at the end of every following month, should detail the reasons for the delays.

Once the magisterial inquiry is concluded, the government will be able to publish the full findings of the government-launched inquiry headed by Martin Scicluna last year, a short summary of which was published last ­October.

The board did not have access to the autopsy, which is expected to determine the cause of Mr Nwokoye’s death, originally attributed to a heart attack.

According to the government, the board recommended steps against two AFM ­soldiers – one involved in Mr Nwokoye’s death and another who assaulted a Tunisian migrant who had escaped ­at the same time.

Both these AFM soldiers were transferred from the Detention Service shortly after the incident but remain subject to the outcome of the magisterial inquiry, the AFM told The Times yesterday.

Action was not recommended in the case of four detention officers also “involved” in the death.

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