Castille, the Office of the Prime Minister, receives roughly 60 requests for government jobs per day, according to the Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.
Schembri, who was speaking under oath in Yorgen Fenech’s constitutional case to remove Inspector Keith Arnaud from he Daphne Caruana Galizia, faced questions over the phantom government job given to Melvin Theuma, the middleman in the assassination, just days after planning the murder.
“Someone, I don’t remember who had referred him to my office. I see many people like Melvin Theuma, around five or six people every day,” Schembri said, adding that this was around 10% of all job requests at Castille.
This means that Castille sees anything between 50 to 60 job requests per day, that’s close to 13,000 every single year.
However, Schembri failed to disclose how many of these requests are accepted.
According to official figures, the number of public sector employees stands at roughly 48,000, with the workforce increasing by close to 1,500 ever year since 2010. This means that Schembri is either exaggerating the number of people he saw, or what could be more likely, is the scale of his involvement in state employment.
Concerns have also been raised as to whether these jobs followed a legitimate process or whether favours like the one granted to Theuma. One legal source told Lovin Malta that Schembri appeared to admit in court that he handed out hundreds of jobs as favours.
“That’s hundreds of counts of trading in influence, each count punishable by 3-6 years in prison under article 121A of the Criminal Code,” the legal source said.
Questions must also be asked why the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, whoever they may be, spends their time dealing with the applications of what is low-level employment, rather than Craus, who heads such a unit within OPM.
In sworn testimony, Theuma told the court that a few days after arranging the price for the assassination (€150,000), Fenech called him in order to tell him to expect a call from OPM Head of Customer Care Sandro Craus.
Craus informed Theuma that he had a meeting with Keith Schembri, in what was his first-ever visit to the Office of the Prime Minister.
Keith Schembri greeted Theuma on the steps of Castille and took him inside of its iconic halls and offered him an espresso. This was when the infamous photo of the pair was taken.
He was then given a no-work government job with the Family Ministry as a messenger/driver within the Housing Maintenance and Embellishment Company.
While Schembri doesn’t deny Theuma was granted the job, he insists that Theuma asked for the job. This has been rubbished several times by Theuma, who has repeatedly said that he didn’t even need the job as he had sufficient work as a taxi driver for the Hilton Hotel.
It should be made clear that Theuma’s pardon hinges on him providing truthful testimony in court.