Sunday, 15 December 2019, 07:30 Last update: about 7 hours ago
While there is nothing, so far, to suggest that Keith Schembri was involved in the commissioning of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, he was definitely informed before Yorgen Fenech was arrested, sources told this newsroom.
Investigators in the case believe that Schembri, former chief of staff to the Prime Minister, knew about Yorgen Fenech’s link to the crime, because Fenech told him about it, after it took place.
In their testimonies in court, both Fenech and pardoned middleman Melvin Theuma have pointed to Schembri’s involvement after the murder, with the police being convinced they are telling the truth.
Testifying in the case against the three accused of planting the bomb, Theuma made it clear that Fenech used to get information from Schembri, even saying that “Yorgen told me this.”
From that day, Theuma said he started recording Fenech because he feared that Fenech and Schembri were plotting to kill him. “Like he murdered Daphne Carauna Galizia, he could murder me,” Theuma said.
Theuma said he met Schembri twice, once at Fenech’s Zebbug farmhouse and once at Castille, but on neither occasion was the murder mentioned. “I would have recorded Keith if I he had spoken to me about this matter, so I would have more strength,” Theuma has testified.
“I cannot say under oath that Keith ever paid me for the murder… for the rest of it he has nothing do with anything,” Theuma had said, implying that Schembri’s involvement may have come after, as a favour to his close friend Fenech.
Johan Cremona involved only after murder
Johan Cremona, named by Theuma in relation to Kenneth Camilleri, who worked as part of the security detail of the Prime Minister, is also believed to have known about the murder, but only after it happened. Sources said Cremona helped in the investigations and the information he provided was described as being “crucial.”
Theuma initially mentioned Cremona and Camilleri, as being the two who approached him after the murder. Camilleri told him that the promised bail for the three accused would be given, as well as them receiving one million each after getting bail. Theuma believed that this message was from Schembri, as when he spoke to Fenech about it he had told him that he did not order it.
Fenech, however, had told Theuma that Schembri had denied sending Camilleri to speak to Theuma about the bail request.
The approach was made when Theuma started fearing for his life after hearing that Vince Muscat, one of the three accused, started speaking to the police.
Cremona was also the person who Theuma mentioned as having informed him that he was going to be arrested, a month prior to the actual arrest.
Theuma, in another court sitting, said that he had met Camilleri three or four times, one of which was in Cremona’s garage. That time, Camilleri showed Theuma a paper with Theuma’s old number on it and told him that Theuma was the mastermind.
One of inspectors on the murder case, Keith Arnaud, has told the court that Fenech said that Schembri had become involved because he had respect for Fenech. Fenech had also told Theuma, that Schembri went cold when Fenech had told Schembri about the case.
Schembri had replied that he would help him. In fact Fenech had told Theuma that he and Schembri were friends and that he had no option but to tell him everything. Fenech had also told Theuma that he would ask Schembri about bail for the three accused.
“He will only say what he always says, that he has no power over the matter,” Fenech had told Theuma.
The middleman stated several times, in multiple testimonies, that he suspected Schembri was involved because he was Camilleri’s superior and because he was aware of Fenech and Schembri’s friendship but would never under oath confirm that Schembri was involved.
The letter and the phantom job
Along with three clips from the recordings Theuma had taken of Fenech, Theuma had put in an envelope a photo of him and Schembri, as well as a letter he had written.
Theuma had written this letter, which mentioned Schembri, as an insurance of sorts, he said. The photo was taken in Castille when Theuma met with Schembri about the phantom government job.
Fenech had told Theuma, two days after he had decided on the killing, that he would be expecting a call from the Head of Customer Care of the Office of the Prime Minister, Sandro Craus.
Craus told Theuma to go to Castille the next day, where he found Schembri waiting for him through the main door. Schembri told him he would be given a job, despite Theuma protesting that he had a taxi business and could not attend this job. Craus was the one who took the photo of Theuma and Schembri, although Theuma could not remember if he or Schembri had requested the photo to be taken.
Theuma turned up for a fiveminute interview but never reported to work, despite the fact that he received around five monthly cheques in return.
Following Theuma’s testimony, Schembri was arrested by the Economic Crimes Unit in relation to the phantom job but was subsequently released. This was not the first time Schembri was arrested.
Schembri resigned from the post of OPM chief of staff on 26 November, following which he was held under arrest by the police in connection with their investigation into the murder. He was released by the police on 28 November and has not been seen in public since.