Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff Keith Schembri, and former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta only became potential suspects in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination once police heard recorded conversations between state witness Melvin Theuma and main suspect Yorgen Fenech, former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar insists.
Schembri, Valletta, and Muscat have featured heavily in the tapes – raising serious issues over whether any of the men aided Fenech in the murder plot. Schembri and Valletta, in particular, have been named as major leaks in the investigation.
Speaking to Lovin Malta in an interview, Cutajar maintained the police never had any cause to suspect them, with not a single shred of evidence linking them to the case.
“For most of the investigation, there was no sign they were involved – the investigators were still analysing the recordings when I left,” he maintained.
Cutajar had advised Muscat to grant Theuma a presidential pardon back in December, a decision the Prime Minister ended up taking unilaterally .
He told Lovin Malta he spoke to both Schembri and Muscat during pardon discussions, but repeatedly dismissed suggestions of their influence over Theuma’s current version of events.
“No. Certainly not. I simply submitted a report compiled by the investigative team, which I had nothing to do with,” Cutajar said.
Fenech claims in recordings that he was fed information on the investigation directly from Schembri and former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta.
These details included the arrest of the three men charged with carrying out the murder, Vince Muscat’s potential pardon, that their phones were wiretapped, and that Chris Cardona’s number was discovered on the phone of one of Daphne’s killers.
Valletta, who is referred to as “Valletta l-oħxon” in Theuma’s secret recordings of Fenech, was leading the case into the assassination until he was forcibly removed by court order. He was the one who set up unprecedented briefings with Schembri and Muscat on the case. The briefings started soon after the murder and continued up until a month before Theuma’s arrest.
Valletta has been revealed to have held intimate dinners with Fenech and to having gone abroad with him on at least two occasions. Meanwhile, there is a video of Valletta “fooling around” in Fenech’s Rolls Royce.
Cutajar told Times of Malta in a separate interview that he was unaware of his meetings with Fenech.
Fenech’s and Schembri’s mutual doctor Adrian Vella said Schembri used him to pass on messages to Fenech while he was under police bail. Vella also passed on a letter instructing Fenech to pin the murder on Cardona.
Schembri’s missing mobile phone and a late-night visit to Muscat the eve before his arrest remain a mystery.
Fenech has described a “fraternal” relationship with Schembri to the courts. Schembri has even confirmed under oath that they were friends and had also holidayed together on occasion. There are other claims Schembri has made under oath that have been dismissed by Cutajar.
Meanwhile, Theuma has repeatedly said that while he cannot confirm himself, he believes Schembri was part of the murder plot.
He is likely to testify in the case against Fenech on Monday 22nd June at 10am.
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