Keith Schembri has seemingly gone quiet on social media as Malta was thrust into a political crisis, hardly surprising seeing as he has been formally named as a suspect in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The former chief of staff of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has only published one post on Facebook since Yorgen Fenech’s arrest on 20th November, which was to announce his resignation from the Labour Party.
However, Schembri’s Twitter activity shows that he is certainly keeping abreast of happenings in Malta and overseas and an analysis of it can give an indication of where his mind is at.
At first glance, Schembri’s Twitter ‘like’ feed looks like that of any avid Manchester United fan. He has liked several posts related to his favourite football club and appears to be excited about their latest signing Bruno Fernandes.
Politically, Schembri clearly appears to be a fan of Brexit.
As the UK formally departed from the EU yesterday, Schembri liked two videos of Brexit supporters celebrating in the streets, a tweet by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to mark the occasion and a tweet by an anonymous user which accused London mayor Sadiq Khan of “doing everything he can to destroy London and make it become no longer English/British.”
This view on Brexit sharply contradicts with the views publicly aired by Joseph Muscat, who in 2018 had gone so far as to call for a second referendum on the topic. However, if Muscat had expected this stance to lend him political support in the corridors of the EU, he was badly mistaken.
Indeed, after Yorgen Fenech implicated Schembri in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the European Parliament passed a resolution with a huge majority which called on Muscat to resign and which voiced their deep concern about the integrity and credibility of the murder investigation.
On the international front, Schembri also liked a tweet by US President Donald Trump on 29th January which decried the impeachment procedures against him as a political con job.
Locally, Muscat may have told MEPs on 3rd December that Schembri had betrayed him, but Schembri’s Twitter feed doesn’t reflect any sort of animosity towards his former employer.
He liked a tweet by ONE TV presenter Karl Stagno Navarra which referred to Muscat’s statement on Boxing Day that he will not engage with reports that Fenech had gifted him a luxury limited edition Bvlgari watch and which denounced these reports as part of a smear campaign led by people close to Fenech.
As it happened, Muscat did end up engaging, confirming that he did receive this watch but that he had left it in the hands of the state.
Schembri liked Muscat’s last tweet (as of the time of writing) on 12th January, which praised Robert Abela following his election as Prime Minister, as well as a tweet by Economy Minister Silvio Schembri which hailed Muscat as a “father figure” and the best Prime Minister in Malta’s history.
Since his resignation as chief of staff, he has also liked tweets by ministers Chris Fearne, Ian Borg, Owen Bonnici and Clint Camilleri and MP Anthony Agius Decelis, as well as tweets published by Infrastructure Malta and its CEO Fredrick Azzopardi.
Interestingly, he has also seemingly given his seal of approval to his successor as OPM chief of staff (or head of secretariat as the position is now called) Clyde Caruana, liking a tweet by Stagno Navarra which described Caruana as an “excellent choice”.
Elsewhere, Schembri’s Twitter feed reflects a more lighthearted side to the elusive person. Besides the regular Man United and football posts, Schembri has made no secret of his love of gin, liking a number of posts published by gin-related accounts, including this meme of a man wondering his phone is broken. #Relatable?
He also liked several posts related to the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, the Bradley Lowery Foundation for children with serious illnesses and even a cute video of pandas playing with each other.
Schembri was recently arrested but released without charge during police investigations into the assassination of Caruana Galizia. However, homicide inspector Keith Arnaud confirmed afterwards that he is still being investigated for murder, tampering with evidence and other offences.
Fenech, who used to be his close friend, has implicated Schembri in the murder and has told police that Schembri had sent Adrian Vella to him with a script instructing him to pin the assassination on former Economy Minister Chris Cardona.
Suspected middleman Melvin Theuma, who has been granted a presidential pardon in return for revealing information, had named Schembri along with Fenech in his death note, as well as in a number of conversations with Fenech which he had recorded.
However, Theuma has insisted he has no knowledge of Schembri’s potential involvement in the murder and that he had only named the former chief of staff because he suspected him due to his close friendship with Fenech.