The former Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri “absolutely” did not coordinate the FBI’s involvement in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation, unlike what he said under oath, former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar told Lovin Malta.
“No, he absolutely did not do that. I can’t remember the specific individual but it was definitely the inspectors on-site that day who suggested it. We even went to a Magistrate to ensure that they could be considered as experts in the courts,” Cutajar said in an interview.
Lovin Malta had previously revealed that the request was made by Superintendent George Cremona, who is the Head of the Counter-Terrorism Unit & Criminal Intelligence Unit.
He called the FBI’s attaché in Rome roughly two hours after the murder took place on 16th October 2017.
The information seems to rubbish Schembri’s testimony given on 18th December 2019 during a constitutional case instituted by murder suspect Yorgen Fenech’s to remove Chief Homicide Inspector Keith Arnaud from the investigation.
“[I brought people in to help with the case] Like the FBI, for example. After Ms Caruana Galizia was killed, within the first 20-25 minutes, I told the Prime Minister that I will speak to the US Embassy to find out what assistance they can offer.”
“The Prime Minister said from day one that he will leave no stone unturned. We spoke to the US embassy, and I made that call. They informed me that FBI officials were in Rome and told me that, if I made the necessary arrangements, they could arrive in Malta the next morning.”
“I obviously spoke to the AG and the police to see whether I had their go-ahead because it’s their jurisdiction.”
If Cutajar is telling the truth, it would seem that Schembri could have committed perjury
As per Maltese law, people who commit perjury in civil cases are liable to imprisonment from seven months to two years.
During his testimony, the former chief of staff has also contradicted the versions of events of three people – Fenech himself, his doctor Adrian Vella, and Melvin Theuma, who has been granted a conditional presidential pardon in return for revealing everything he knows about the case.
Fenech has described a “fraternal” relationship with Schembri to the courts, and Schembri has confirmed under oath that they had even holidayed together on occasion.
Fenech has claimed that he was fed information on the investigation directly from Schembri and others, including former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta. These details included the arrest of the three men charged with carrying out the murder, a potential pardon, and information that the suspects’ phones were wiretapped.
Schembri will testify in the police’s case against Fenech on Monday 22nd June at 10am.
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