Malta’s Chief Homicide Inspector Keith Arnaud went to arrest Keith Schembri at his Mellieħa home almost five minutes after the disgraced former Prime Minister’s chief of staff last used his ‘lost’ mobile phone but spent over 20 minutes trying to find the residence’s exact location.
Arnaud arrived at Schembri’s home at 5.05am on 26th November. Sources have revealed that geolocation data shows that Schembri last used his phone at 5am within his Mellieħa home. Arnaud and Inspector Kurt Zahra were the only two officers present for the arrest of Schembri at 5.30am and the subsequent search.
Arnaud has testified that the two men conducted a brief search of Schembri’s home, eventually seizing several devices belonging to himself and his family members. Schembri’s phone, however, was missing, with him telling the two inspectors that he had lost his phone. No further searches were conducted.
It should be noted that just 12 days prior, Arnaud had opened up state witness Melvin Theuma’s evidence box, which included a photo of Theuma with Schembri, and a note naming both Schembri and Fenech as the masterminds in the murder.
Questions surrounding Arnaud’s and the police’s role in the investigation have simmered under the surface ever since the arrest of Yorgen Fenech in November 2019.
Arnaud has admitted to regular updating former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Schembri on the case during official unprecedented meetings on the investigation. Fenech himself has claimed that Schembri was leaking him information fed directly from Arnaud.
Arnaud has testified that he no idea about Schembri and Fenech’s close friendship when sharing crucial information about the case, despite. the pair both admitting they had a fraternal relationship.
Investigators have also confirmed that they left his Castille office unguarded for close to two days after Schembri’s arrest, only to search it ten days later. Schembri’s office at the Labour Party Headquarters is yet to be examined
Arnaud’s predecessor, Silvio Valletta, is suspected to have been leaking sensitive information on the case, while there have also been revelations of his intimate relationship with Fenech.
The former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar is also under criminal investigation for leaking deatils on the case. There are also claims that he could have accepted a bribe from Melvin Theuma and his close confidante Edwin ‘Il-Gojja’ Brincat.
Schembri’s phone would have been of significant interest to investigators. It has been confirmed that he shared a secret WhatsApp group with Fenech and former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. There would also have been several messages, call logs, and other data that could have proved vital in the case. Its disappearance raises a lot of questions.
Just a few hours earlier at roughly 11.30pm on 25th November, an army of officers, including Arnaud, descended upon the home of Adrian Vella, the doctor-turned-messenger of Schembri and main suspect Yorgen Fenech. The heavy police presence was in stark contrast to Schembri’s arrest.
Vella has confirmed under oath that he immediately called Schembri when he heard officers banging on his front door. However, he gave few details on the conversation, telling the court that Schembri told him to open the door.
Schembri remains under investigation for his potential involvement in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, along with a litany of other offences which include:
Tampering with evidence, leaking extensive information about the investigation, obstructing justice, and acquiring a phantom job for middleman Melvin Theuma.
There are also concerns that Schembri could have committed perjury while under oath. His claims that he helped orchestrate the FBI’s involvement in the investigation have been rubbished repeatedly by those involved.
Schembri was most recently arrested in connection to a money-laundering investigation linked to alleged kickbacks from the citizenship-by-investment scheme. He is currently out on police bail and no charges have been filed.
What do you think of the detail? Comment below