Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis has dismissed theories that he was acting on orders from above when he incessantly messaged murder suspect Yorgen Fenech in the months before his arrest.
At a press conference today, Lovin Malta asked the minister whether then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat or his chief of staff Keith Schembri had instructed him to message Fenech or to keep continuous contact with him.
However, Zammit Lewis was categorical in his denial, stating that “no one instructed me to do anything.”
@lovinmaltaofficial Here’s what the minister had to say when asked whether he was instructed to send those messages 👀 Thoughts? 🧐 #fyp #fypmalta #lovinmalta #malta ♬ original sound – Lovin Malta
“I have already explained my relationship with Mr Fenech, and my track record as Justice Minister speaks for itself,” he said. “I will stop there and remain focused on my government work because the same questions keep emerging up every month but I’ve already responded to them.”
Lovin Malta revealed the existence of WhatsApp conversations between the two men earlier this year, including how Zammit Lewis told Fenech that he “misses him so much” and that he was “worried” about him and how the minister told the murder suspect that “ignorant PL voters underrated him”.
Author and former PL delegate Mark Camilleri recently published several of these chats, ranging between January and October 2019, a month before Fenech’s arrest for the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In the messages published by Camilleri, Zammit Lewis repeatedly asked Fenech whether he wants to meet up.
In May 2019, five months before Fenech was arrested for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Zammit Lewis invited himself and “Keith” (a potential reference to then OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri) over to Fenech’s farm.
PN candidate Mark Anthony Sammut recently suggested that Muscat and Schembri had asked Zammit Lewis to maintain continuous contact with Fenech out of fear he could expose corruption scandals.
“We know that Zammit Lewis is very good friends with Muscat, so much so that they often went on family holidays too, including paid holidays at Fenech’s hotels,” he said.
“We also know that Joseph Muscat had known Yorgen Fenech was a suspect in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder since May 2018, when he signed the warrant granting the Security Services permission to tap Fenech’s phone.”
This theory was also floated by PN chief strategist Chris Peregin, who postulated that Zammit Lewis was tasked with keeping tabs on Fenech for reasons unknown.
Muscat has previously confirmed that he knew Fenech was on a shortlist of murder suspects, although he hasn’t stated whether he ever knew who the other suspects were.
The former Prime Minister had known Fenech was a suspect when he invited him to his private birthday party at Girgenti in February 2019, where Fenech infamously gifted Muscat three Petrus wine bottles.
The former Prime Minister has repeatedly said he invited Fenech to the party after consulting the Malta Security Services, who advised him to act normally around the businessman so as not to arouse his suspicion that he was under investigation.
However, Fenech has told police that he discussed the murder with Muscat at Girgenti, including whether middleman Melvin Theuma could be trusted.
Muscat has vehemently denied this claim.
Do you think Edward Zammit Lewis should be clearer about his relationship with Yorgen Fenech?