Police investigators fear that Melvin Theuma, the middleman-turned-state-witness in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination, could have been coached by his close confidante ahead of his interrogation and successful pardon request to implicate Yorgen Fenech in the murder.
Wiretapped phone conversations between Theuma and Edwin ‘Il-Gojja’ Brincat, taken by Malta’s Security Services, allegedly detail the latter telling the former to name Fenech and OPM security guard Kenneth Camilleri (who has links to disgraced former OPM chief-of-staff Keith Schembri) upon his arrest and interrogation.
Sources told Lovin Malta that Brincat did listen to the wiretaps when under interrogation from Chief Homicide Inspector Keith Arnaud and Inspector Kurt Zahra. However, he refused to answer questions on the subject, even when his lawyer was present.
Theuma himself has been approached with the suggestion that he had been coached, along with claims that he bought and negotiated his pardon for €17,000 from former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar.
He rejected claims under interrogation. However, sources described Theuma’s demeanour under questioning as nervy. Fenech’s legal team have made claims that Theuma was coached in court. However, these have been unsubstantiated.
Brincat is a lifelong association with Theuma. He also has a close 30-year relationship with Cutajar, with fears that. it could involve several bribes.
Previous reports have revealed that in a tape recorded in the weeks before his arrest, Theuma tells Johann Cremona, who is also Fenech’s business partner, about the bribe.
In the recorded tapes, Theuma allegedly says that he had given €15,000 to Edwin‘il-Ġojja’ Brincat, his close confidante who also has a 30-year relationship with Cutajar, for the bribe.
He also allegedly reveals that he plans to pay back Brincat in packs of €5,000. Cutajar and Theuma have denied the claim.
Beyond allegations, there is circumstantial evidence heavily linking Cutajar to Brincat and potential criminal activity. Mobile phone data has confirmed that Cutajar contacted Brincat the day before the latter was set to testify in the case against Fenech.
The former police commissioner is also under investigation for leaking details in the case. He has so far confirmed that he met with Brincat to inquire about potential recordings, without informing the investigation beforehand. Brincat has revealed that he immediately informed Theuma that the police were aware of the tapes following the meeting.
Cutajar was removed from his post as Police Commissioner earlier this year. However, he was present during interrogations of several key figures in the case, including Theuma, in November 2019. He was also involved in negotiations for Theuma’s pardon, along with then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and then-Attorney General Peter Grech.
Theuma was able to get the pardon by offering to turn evidence against Fenech. He presented investigators a box, which included a photo with Schembri, a letter naming both Schembri and Fenech as the masterminds, and several devices.
The devices held secretly recorded conversations between Fenech and Theuma. These include information of potential significant leaks from critical players like former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta, which could also implicate Keith Schembri, and the perpetrators’ in-depth knowledge of a pardon request for one of the men charged with carrying out the murder.
Lovin Malta has revealed that Cutajar features heavily in corrupted files found on the devices. Court experts have said that some files were corrupted while being forensically transferred from Europol to each interested party in the case.
Theuma was set to face questions on the claims. However, a suspected suicide attempt has sidelined Theuma from the sittings for the time being, with court-appointed experts assessing his physical and mental health.
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