Magistrate Nadine Lia is overseeing the magisterial inquiry into Melvin Theuma’s phantom government job, even though her father-in-law Pawlu Lia is the personal lawyer of Keith Schembri, who allegedly played a crucial role in providing Theuma that job to begin with.
PN MP Jason Azzopardi, who is the lawyer of the Caruana Galizia family, called out Lia’s role in the inquiry, warning that this is a case of justice not being seen to be done.
Azzopardi suggested that assistant police commissioner Ian Abdilla, the head of the economic crimes unit, intentionally held back on initiating an inquiry for 15 days so as to ensure Lia would be the magistrate in charge.
Abdilla countered this assertation, telling Lovin Malta that he does not interfere as to when inspectors under his command choose to initiate magisterial inquiries.
Lia was recently assigned to oversee the compilation of evidence against murder suspect Yorgen Fenech, but recused herself after the lawyers of both the Caruana Galizias and Fenech flagged her father-in-law’s role as Schembri’s lawyer as a conflict of interest.
It is unknown at this stage whether Lia will also recuse herself from this inquiry. A question sent by Lovin Malta to the magistrate to this regard remains unanswered, while Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi refused to state whether or not he will order her to recuse herself.
Police recently launched an investigation after Theuma, the alleged middleman in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, testified in court that he was given a false government job shortly after arranging the price to kill the journalist.
He said that murder suspect Yorgen Fenech had told him to await a call from Sandro Craus, the head of customer care at Castille. Craus then invited him to Castille to meet the Prime Minister’s then chief of staff Keith Schembri, and the middleman was granted a government job shortly afterwards.
Government records show that Theuma was employed as a messenger/driver at the Housing Maintenance Embellishment Co Ltd, a government company that falls under the Family Ministry.
Both Craus and Tony Muscat, the former CEO of the Housing Maintenance Embellishment Co Ltd, reportedly told police that they were following Schembri’s orders.
Schembri was arrested in connection with this probe but was later released