MaltaToday’s managing editor Saviour Balzan has said that Keith Schembri was fully aware of what was going on in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and that he used his influence to deceive his political colleagues and the press.
“The chief-of-staff Keith Schembri deceived his political colleagues and so many others when he was fully aware of what was going on,” Balzan wrote in an opinion piece. “Far worse than what I have just said, is that he used his powerful position to influence the powers that be and divert attention from the real culprit or culprits.”
“And there can be only one reason for this collusion: that he knew, or was at the centre of this heinous crime.”
Balzan said that Schembri fomented a story in the local and international press that fuel smugglers and their cronies were behind Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
“Even people in high places in government and the police were fed this line,” he said. “This is why when talking to Reuters yesterday, I said that this now clearly smells of criminal intent.”
Balzan also clarified the circumstances surrounding his infamous late-night phone call with Schembri, shortly after Caruana Galizia wrote that Egrant belonged to the Prime Minister/
“In April 2017 I was again on vacation. Now just in case one is wondering, I do not go on vacation very often. But my dates tend to coincide with some crisis. In fact this time round, I received a phone call from Keith Schembri. I was on a small ferry boat at the time and I told him.”
“I could not talk to him at that moment. Later in the night, he phoned me again, and I took the call. I was a little bit hesitant, because MaltaToday was running a front-page editorial calling for his resignation and that of Konrad.
He lets me know that the Prime Minister wanted to talk to me. I did… “Prime Minister, is it true what is being said about Egrant?”
“I deny it, it is not true and I will prove that it is not true.”
“What happened after that is history… but that telephone log – not the contents – was traced and released by Caruana Galizia after I stated that I had had no telephone conversation with Schembri.”
“It was a mistake to deny it, thinking that no one would reveal the logs and fuel more speculation. I should have just faced the music and said what had been said. It was, after all, only a phone-call.”
Balzan, who endorsed Muscat in the past, reiterated that the Prime Minister must resign on the spot and let a steady pair of hands take over to allow for a sense of normality to return.