It’s been another massive week for news in Malta. From a PN politician confirming he received financial aid from Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech, to a nail-biting six-hour police operation in Pieta that led to an arrest, it’s safe to say that our newsroom has certainly not been short of stories to write.
Having said that, here are six of Malta’s biggest stories of the past week.
1. Jason Azzopardi confirms Tumas Group paid for his Tel Aviv trip
PN Spokesperson for Justice Jason Azzopardi was found to have had his July 2017 five-day stay at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv back in paid for by Tumas Group – the company owned by the main suspect in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination case, Yorgen Fenech.
In wake of this, Azzopardi emailed Standards Commissioner George Hyzler to investigate his case. However, it seems like Hyzler won’t be able to look into the issue due to the fact that his remit states that he can only investigate issues that occurred after October 2018.
Following this, Azzopardi suspended himself from the Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group, a decision which garnered admiration from his staunch supporters. Despite these developments, Azzopardi vowed to power on with his fight against corruption.
2. Keith Schembri’s mobile phone was turned on 30 minutes before his arrest
Disgraced former chief-of-staff Keith Schembri’s ‘lost’ mobile phone was found to have been last turned on around 30 minutes before his eventual arrest near his Mellieħa home. Schembri’s arrest was in connection with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Chief Homicide Inspector Keith Arnaud had arrived in close proximity of Schembri’s home just five minutes after Schembri last used his phone. However, it took him around 20 minutes to find the property and arrest Schembri.
Twelve days prior to Schembri’s arrest, Arnaud had taken a look at state witness Melvin Theuma’s evidence box, which included a photo of Theuma with Schembri, and a note naming both Schembri and main suspect Yorgen Fenech as the masterminds in the murder.
3. Yorgen Fenech’s lawyer attempts to bribe Times of Malta journalist
Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin spoke up about how Yorgen Fenech’s lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran offered him between two to four €500 notes during a meeting.
Malta’s police opened up an investigation into this after the attempted bribe was made public. Nonetheless, Caruana Curran said that Martin “led them to understand that they could use his services to help neutralise the bias in the reporting in the media.”
4. Daughter of COVID-19 victim forced to foot the bill of her father’s post-death fumigation
Last week was rife with Coronavirus-related controversies. After losing her father to COVID-19, a Maltese woman was left shocked after she was forced to foot the bill for her father’s post-death fumigation and the ‘packing’ of his body.
On a separate note, the mother of an eight-year-old girl who underwent a COVID-19 swab test was told her daughter would have to get tested again after a batch of tests was left unlabelled.
Days after these stories were made public, Prime Minister Robert Abela stirred controversy after he ruled out the imposition of a total lockdown. Abela also warned that a lockdown has caused a great deal of suffering in other European countries.
5. Shots fired during six-hour police operation in Pieta that led to man’s arrest
Police surrounded a Pieta residence on 1st November in a bid to de-escalate a situation involving a man armed with a firearm. The perpetrator, identified as 38-year-old Serbian man Srdjan Stevanovic, allegedly began damaging cars and screaming out that he planned to do something terrible.
One of Stevanovic’s friends spoke to Lovin Malta to offer some insight into the perpetrator’s actions. The source said that Stevanovic had been having some mental health issues as well as disagreements with his neighbours because of his dogs.
“I just wish I had known he had weapons because I would have told him to get rid of them. I wish I had known he was so paranoid. I could have helped him to calm down,” he concluded.
6. Malta’s prison guards foil Daniel Muka’s escape plan
Guards at Malta’s prison foiled an escape attempt by two foreign high-profile murder suspects after they found grappling hooks, tools, and improvised weapons.
One of the prisoners was none other than Daniel Muka, the 25-year-old Albanian charged for the brutal double murder of Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski.
A source from inside the prison told Lovin Malta that the escape was probably planned out with the help of people from outside the prison.
BONUS: Reports state that Konrad Mizzi is being questioned by police again
It is still unclear over what Mizzi has been arrested. However, sources have suggested the issue is being handled by the Economic Crimes Unit.
Mizzi was booted out of the Labour Party earlier this year following revelations involving a controversial €10.3 million Enemalta purchase of a Montenegrin windfarm from a company linked to Yorgen Fenech, the main suspect in the Daphne Caruana Galizia investigation.