A Dutch national’s sensational recordings of state witness Melvin Theuma allegedly detail Keith Schembri’s involvement in a plot to cover-up the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and potentially his direct involvement with the murder itself.
Well-informed sources have told Lovin Malta that the recorded conversations are between Julian Hofstra and Melvin Theuma which took place sometime towards the end of 2018 and start of 2019.
Throughout the recorded conversations, Theuma relays grave concerns that Schembri and main suspect Yorgen Fenech were planning to kill him.
Previous tapes taken by Theuma have so far only made references to Schembri and do not name the former chief of staff outright. However, these latest recordings allegedly name Schembri several times.
The recordings allegedly detail how Schembri was handing over money to Fenech and Theuma. However, it is not clear whether this was for bribes as part of a cover-up or the murder itself.
Hofstra, who is currently serving a prison sentence in Amsterdam, first arrived in Malta in 2016. He was on the run from Dutch authorities for his involvement in an affiliate-marketing scam.
Hofstra, who was a teenager at the time, struck up a friendship with Theuma and the other taxi drivers of the area. The young criminal on the run appealed to the easily impressed Theuma.
The Dutch man’s tech-savvy expertise and lifestyle led to Theuma and him becoming fast friends. Theuma would later confide him major details of the plot.
Hofstra was eventually able to leave and flee Malta, despite facing a European Arrest Warrant. He was later arrested in Denmark.
Fenech’s legal team, Charles Mercieca and Gianluca Caruana Curran, have so far made contact with Hofstra, even visiting the young inmate to listen to said recordings. It appears that both Fenech’s legal team and police are scrambling to get their hands on the crucial evidence.
Sources have told Lovin Malta that Fenech’s team hope that the tapes could prove crucial in securing Fenech some sort of pardon or reduced sentence. However, Lovin Malta is also informed that Fenech is also named in recordings.
Lovin Malta is informed that there are five recorded conversations between Theuma and Hofstra, two of which could prove crucial in uncovering new details over the case.
Till now, Theuma has been reluctant to say outright that Schembri was involved in the plot or its cover-up. He has told the courts that while he believes that Schembri was involved, he cannot confirm it outright. Fenech, meanwhile, has long maintained that Schembri was the actual mastermind behind the murder.
Theuma’s evidence box contained a plethora of secret recordings between himself, Fenech, and Johann Cremona. There was also a handwritten letter naming both Schembri and Fenech’s involvement.
The recordings, which have been played to the court, detail Fenech and Theuma’s involvement – along with a wealth of information that was leaked to them by key players like former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta (who is the estranged husband of Education Minister Justyne Caruana) and Schembri.
Theuma has been out of action since his attempted suicide in July 2020. However, following a court testimony from psychiatric experts, Theuma could be on the witness stand very soon.
The case continues on 28th January at 9.30am.
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