It was a typical Wednesday afternoon at the Malta International Airport in Luqa, with the standard checks and searches taking place throughout the halls.
Peter the Customs sniffer dog was only doing his job when his nose tingled and he sensed a passenger was carrying a whole lot of undeclared cash – and that passenger just happened to be Melvin Theuma.
Before Theuma – the suspected middleman in the planned assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia – Peter had just sniffed out a different passenger, who was carrying a total of €15,000 in undeclared cash on his person and in his case.
But that was only a warm-up for what the canine cop was about to uncover – €210,000 in undeclared banknotes within Theuma’s belongings.
Theuma was stopped trying to board a flight to Istanbul, and the economic crimes unit were called in shortly after. Theuma was officially arrested a day later, and it was when he was undergoing police questioning that he told investigators he was the middleman in the planning of the car bomb assassination of Caruana Galizia.
This chain of events has since led to the arrest of Yorgen Fenech, owner of shell company 17 Black, and the subsequent resignations of Konrad Mizzi (the former Minister for Tourism) and Keith Schembri (the former Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat) after Fenech’s release on police bail.
Economy Minister Chris Cardona has also since suspended himself, though questions have arisen as to what the purpose and meaning of the suspension is.
In light of the recent developments in the case, the public has also been very vocal in their stance – holding a number of protests every night outside of parliament and Castille in Valletta – calling for the resignation of the current Prime Minister.
And to think, we owe it all to one good boy on the 9 – 5 grind at Malta’s only airport. Someone really needs to give that dog a bone.