Keith Schembri’s ‘lost’ mobile phone was last turned on roughly 30 minutes before his eventual arrest in connection with the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia near his Mellieħa home.
Well-informed sources have revealed to Lovin Malta that the last known record of Schembri’s phone is at 5am on 26th November. Data analysis has narrowed down the location to Mellieħa, nearby Schembri’s residence.
Schembri, Malta’s disgraced former Prime Minister’s chief of staff, was arrested at 5.30am by Chief Homicide Inspector Keith Arnaud and Inspector Kurt Zahra. No other officers or members from foreign bodies like Europol were present.
Arnaud has since confirmed under oath that he had arrived in the vicinity of Schembri’s home at 5.05am but spent the next 20 minutes trying to find its exact location.
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.
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 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.
Vella’s phone was only seized once he arrived at the police station. Several contents on his phone, including WhatsApp (where messages are encrypted), had been deleted. He insists he deleted WhatsApp because of personal messages on the service.
He was arrested because of his role in passing on documents between Fenech and Schembri while the former was out on police bail. Vella has confirmed the claim to the courts. Vella has also said under oath that when he went to drop off the documents at Fenech’s home, Schembri called him and asked to speak to the murder suspect.
The documents reportedly deal with an alleged frame-up attempt of Chris Cardona, which have been published by Lovin Malta. Cardona, who has sent the letter for forensic testing, is yet to say who he thinks was behind the attempt.
Schembri, meanwhile, has been heavily linked to the case ever since Fenech’s arrest, with the murder suspect insisting that Schembri is the actual mastermind of the plot. Fenech and Schembri were extremely close, with the former even naming Schembri as his next-of-kin following a drug bust in the US.
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 latest revelations?