OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri has resigned, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said today.
Schembri is expected to be questioned by the police as they widen their investigations into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In his address to reporters, Muscat thanked Schembri for the work he has carried out for the government in the past years, adding that Schembri had a crucial role in his government.
He said that Schembri had told him that he would be resigning so as to allow the government to continue to work in a more serene way. Mark Farrugia will be replacing Schembri, the PM said.
Muscat said that during the parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, he had asked for a secret vote of confidence and “I was given unanimous support”.
Muscat said that he will continue to work for the benefit of the country and take the important decisions that are necessary.
Muscat said that he does not have information that Schembri is to be questioned by the police. He would not comment on the request for a presidential pardon by Yorgen Fenech, the 17 Black owner who was arrested last week.
This resignation comes as the police say they are interrogating more people in connection with the murder.
Fenech is also requesting a presidential pardon after one was given to Melvin Theuma, who is helping police in their investigation.
Theuma was given a presidential pardon shielding him from prosecution on Monday, in exchange for information about the case.
Calls for the resignation of Keith Schembri have been made since he and Minister Konrad Mizzi were named in the Panama Papers in 2016. Until this morning, Schembri resisted these calls, and the Prime Minister has steadfastly defended him.
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