Video evidence submitted in the public inquiry into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia seems to rubbish sworn testimony given by former Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri in the police’s case against main suspect Yorgen Fenech.
On Monday, Schembri told the court that he was at the Office of the Prime Minister with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and former Head of Communications Kurt Farrugia, when the previous Mater Dei CEO called to inform them there was an explosion at Burmarrad.
He said that Muscat had called to check on his father who had a fireworks factory in the area. Soon there was a second call saying it was a bomb and the victim was likely to be Caruana Galizia.
The bomb that killed Caruana Galizia went off at around 3pm on 16th October 2017. Now, video evidence submitted by Daphne’s husband Peter Caruana Galizia indicates that Muscat was actually on a press tour at Parallel’s Malta-based office.
One particular timestamp at the 57-second mark, Caruana Galizia says, clearly shows Muscat speaking to the press with a video camera clearly marking the time at 3:15pm on 16th October 2017.
Former Minister Chris Cardona, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli, OPM aide Ray Barbara, and former Head of Communications Kurt Farrugia are also present.
This is the first major challenge to Schembri’s testimony, which went unchallenged by defence lawyers because his testimony was suspended for the time being.
As part of the same claims, Schembri also insisted that he had called up the US Embassy to coordinate the FBI’s involvement in the case at least five minutes after finding out about the murder.
This has been denied by former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar was said this is “absolutely” not the case. Meanwhile, well-informed sources close to the investigation have told Lovin Malta that the request was actually made by Superintendent George Cremona, who is the Head of the Counter-Terrorism Unit & Criminal Intelligence Unit.
Fenech has described a “fraternal” relationship with Schembri to the courts, and Schembri has confirmed under oath that they had even holidayed together on occasion.
Fenech has claimed that he was fed information on the investigation directly from Schembri and others, including former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta. These details included the arrest of the three men charged with carrying out the murder, a potential pardon, and information that the suspects’ phones were wiretapped.
Schembri remains under investigation for his involvement in the case.