Melvin Theuma, the man was granted immunity to provide details on the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, said in court today that Yorgen Fenech, the man accused with complicity to murder, had informed him about the raid that the police were to make on a Marsa shed in connection with their investigations.
But the date that was given was wrong, as Fenech had indicated the 5th of December when the raid had taken place a day earlier.
Theuma said that he was scared that he would be next on the list, and had drawn up a will the day after the raid was carried out in Marsa and the three men charged with the murder were arrested.
Testifying in court today, Theuma spoke about the way he contacted Alfred Degiorgio to carry out the murder after being given the go-ahead by Yorgen Fenech, the 17 Black owner who was charged last Saturday with complicity to murder.
He said that he did not receive any money for the murder, but instead used his own money to keep the suspects quiet. He said he never told them who was behind the idea to kill the journalist.
He said that he had been with Alfred Degiorgio to the place from where surveillance was kept on the journalist’s home in Bidnija.
This is a minute by minute rendering of the sitting
12.27pm: Sitting adjourned to 12 December at 9.30am.
12.03pm: Theuma is not sure if he included a copy of the photo of Keith and himself at Castille in the envelppe he gave to Yorgen. He said he was ready to mail similar items to the “stamperija” and everything would be revealed. He did this because he was scared they would kill him or put him in jail.
12.02pm: He put three parts of recordings on a pen drive, a letter and he put them in an envelope and gave them to Yorgen. Theuma said he did not think Yorgen believed that Theuma had recordings, and so he gave him proof. The recordings included the sound of Yorgen’s wife and children as they used to have conversations while they were present. Melvin used to use mobile phone to record.
12.01pm: Theuma said that he was scared that Keith Schembri and Yorgen Fenech would play a game to kill him so he started recording Yorgen. The recordings have been passed on to the magistrate and Theuma said he had no other recordings.
11.59am: Melvin says he is not sure that Keith Schembri sent Kenneth, it is just an assumption. He said he started recording conversations with Yorgen after he was told Muscat was speaking. Yorgen used to mention Keith Schembri as his friend a lot, Theuma says.
11.57am: George Degiorgio told Melvin through Mario Degiorgio not to be scared of the people outside, but of those inside because they were the ones who knew his name and involvement. Theuma said that he had never mentioned Yorgen Fenech’s name and so the name they could reveal was his.
11.53am: Theuma said got a call from a man called Johann, and he (Johann) and a certain Kenneth came to meet him. Theuma assumed that Yorgen Fenech sent them to meet him. Or else it could have been Keith Schembri, because Kenneth worked in Castille, Theuma said. Kenneth told him that Degiorgios were gojng to be released on a one million euro bail.
11.50am: Some time later Yorgen called him to meet at a farm. Yorgen told him we have a problem as Vincent is saying everything. Yorgen told him buy four pizza and pay by cash and give it to Mario to pass on the message to the Degiorgios that Vincent is talking. Theuma then had a fight with Yorgen because he told him we were friends how could you get him involved in this.
11.47am: Theuma said he did not get one cent for the killing. He said he lost money on it. Melvin is saying he was drawn to Yorgen at the beginning as he used to take him abroad with him. Later you realize you make a mistake, he said. My life after the killing was bad, he said. At one point he had gone on the roof with the intention of jumping off. ‘I had had enough of my life,” he said.
11.46am: Yorgen used to give moneyto Theuma to pass on to the Degiorgios and their family. George Degiorgio wanted 55k or 60k to send abroad, Theuma says. Mario always asked him for the money. 60k was given by Yorgen and he gave them to Mario
11.45am: Yorgen used to attend drug rehabilitation programs a lot. A week before the raid he was in rehabilitation in Scotland, Theuma says.[embedded content]
11.42am: Mario kept asking him for money for the Degiorgios, and Yorgen used to give most of it. Melvin gave 5000e to Mario to buy a dog and other money was exchange to cover legal expenses.
11.38am: Alfred Degiorgio told Theuma they needed 30k for lawyer. Melvin met with Yorgen to ask him for it, and the money was handed over, minus the 5,000 that Fenech had given Theuma for the holiday. Melvin met with Mario Degiorgio (the third brother)
11.36am: Theuma said Yorgen never threatened him, but he thought that if Fenech had gone as far as ordering the killing of Daphne nothing would stop info from killing him (Theuma).
11.35am: After the raid, Theuma went to a notary to draw up a will because he thought he was next on the list. Melvin went on a downward spiral, taking to drinking, and Yorgen gave him 5,000 euros to go abroad.
11.34am: Melvin would give the money to Lolly who would pass it on to Vincent daughter. Lolly would give him receipts, which Melvin showed to Yorgen Fenech.
11.32am: 300e a week was given by Theuma to Degiorgio and Muscat so that they would keep quiet. He said he was scared they would mention his name.
11.30am: Yorgen told Theuma that the police raid where the suspects where actually caught would happen on 5 December, but it took place the day before, on the 4th.
11.25am: Melvin said Yorgen told him that there will be a police raid as part of the investigations. Melvin and Alfred passed on a coded message to each other though a certain Lollu through lotto numbers
11.22am: Alfred Degiorgio asked Theuma to get another 5000 euros for expenses such as binoculars and rented cars. Theuma gave the 5000e from his own pocket and Alfred Degiorgio asked him why there were a lot of 20-euro notes.
11.20am: Melvin was heavily grilled about if he knew anyone else who wanted her killed. Defense objected to this line of questioning.
11.16am: Theuma said that he was very scared after the murder had taken place. The next day he met with Yorgen at Portomaso telling him he was scared. Melvin told Yorgen about the FBI being brought in to help in the investigation and how concerned he was. Fenech replied that that the Maltese police would investigate. Theuma said no one else told him to kill Daphne. He does not know anyone else who wanted to kill her.
11.15am: Theuma said he did not know the date when Daphne would be killed. But 5 to 6 days before it happened the mobile phone he used to call Alfred was unreachable. Melvin said Yorgen was constantly calling him telling Melvin to speak to Alfred to do it because it would be useless if the killing is done after the information is out.
11.12am: Another time Alfred took Melvin in Vincent Muscat’s car to the place overlooking the house where Daphne lived. Melvin said this was done to show him that he was doing his job. He described the location of the lookout Alfred was using as he was surveilling Daphne. Although they used Muscat’s car he was not present. The lookout was not close and binoculars were used. Alfred told Melvin he used to spend days surveiling Daphne.
11.11am: Melvin spoke to George Deegiorgio and George told him “mietu daqs dawk bulljiet ma tmutx din?”. Vincent was not around when these conversations took place. Theuma asked Yorgen where Daphne used be and he mentioned two cafes. He told this info to Alfred. Alfred gave him a mobile phone which he used only to communicate with Alfred. But his son played with the phone and called Melvin’s partner by mistake. Melvin took this mobile with him abroad one time and he called Alfred.
11.09am: Theuma told Alfred Degiorgio to hurry but Alfred told him he needs his time. Melvin insisted he never told Alfred who was telling him to kill Daphne. Fenech told Melvin to tell Alfred to make sure that the same thing like Romeo Bone does not happen. Romeo bone lost his legs in a bomb but survived.
11.07am: The safety deposit box was at BOV of Marsa. From that time onwards Fenech kept on calling constantly telling him to tell them hurry up and kill her because the information was going to come out.
11.03am: Theuma then met Alfred Degiorgio at Busy Bee and told him he has the go ahead. The money given to Theuma by Fenech in a brown envelope. It was the full 150k. Melvin counted the 30k for Alfred and he kept the rest. He is not sure if he kept them in safety deposit box or at home.
11.04am: Two weeks later Theuma took Fenech to the airport and Fenech gave him the money to give to Alfred Degiorgio.
11.02am: Theuma met Fenech to give him the money of the winnings and Fenech didn’t mention anything about the murder.
11am: After the election Yorgen Fenech called him to go ahead with the plan to assassinate Caruana Galizia but since Fenech was drunk Theuma did not give much notice.
10.58am: The witness gambled money for Yorgen Fenech on by how many votes Labour would win election. He received a commission.
10.56am: Theuma met Alfred Degiorgio and gave him 1,500 euros to keep him quiet. Asked why he had given him the money although there had been no confirmation, Theuma said so as to not to lose face.
10.54am: The election was called. Yorgen Fenech told Theuma “to stop everything”, but Theuma replied that he had nothing to stop because the go-ahead had not been given.
10.52am: Theuma said that he never went to work with the government but he started receiving cheques. He did not know where he was supposed to be working.
10.50am: Asked if he knew Schembri from beforehand, Theuma said that he had met him once at a meal in Yorgen Fenech’s farmhouse in Zebbug. They only shook hands. He had met Schmembri just twice – at the farmhouse and in Castille.
10.48am: Two days later Fenech informed Theuma that he would be receiving a call from Castille. A meeting was arranged and he went there to meet Keith Schembri, and a photo was taken together. Theuma was informed that he was to be given a job with the government.
10.45am: Two days later Theuma and Alfred Degiorgio met at Busy Bee. Degiorgio demanded 150,000 euros, 30,000 of which needed to be paid upfront. Theuma had spoken to Fenech and the deal was done.
10.43am: Fenech asked him if he knew Alfred Degiorgio. Theuma said no. He says Fenech told him to find Degiorgio “because I want to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia”. He said Fenech said that she was going to publish information about his uncle, Ray.
10.41am: One night Theuma says that when he finished work and went home he received call from Yorgen Fenech. This was some two or three weeks before the 2017 election was called.
10.40am: Theuma said that Yorgen Fenech allowed him to operate his taxi at the Hilton. Not everybody can do that, Theuma said.
10.38am: Yorgen used to pay everything for Melvin when they went abroad, including meals.
10.37am: He says he was Yorgen Fenech’s friend and went abroad with him. They were in France together.
10.36am: Inspector Arnaud asks Theuma whether he knows the accused, and Theuma replies that he knows one of the brothers (Alfred) and Muscat. Asked again if he knows them all, Theuma said yes.
10.35am: Theuma takes the stand. Magistrate warns him that he must abide by the conditions of the presidential pardon and say the truth and nothing but the truth.
10.34am: For the presecution, Dra Galea Farrugia said this does not prohibit the testimony from taking place.
10.33am: William Cuschieri for the Degiorgio brothers says that legal proceeedigns have been initiated to prohibit Theuma from testifying and to counter the pardon given to him.
10.32am: Inspectos Keith Arnaud informs the court that Melvin Theuma has been granted immunity to testify by presidential decree dated 25 November. No criminal action may be taken against him is he abides by the conditions of the decree.
10.31am: Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit enters courtroom.
10.30am: The third suspect, Vince Muscat, is brought in.
10.30am: Members of the Caruana Galizia family, including Daphne’s husband Peter and her parents, are present.
10.29am: Melvin Theuma walks in, but walks put immediately after
10.28am: Alfred and George Degiorgio, accused of the murder, enter the courtroom.
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