The sister of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia called out a statement made by the Police Commissioner in court today that he was one of the first on the site of the explosion in Bidnija in 2017, saying that he was not present when she arrived.
“Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar has just said under oath in court (that) he was one of the first on site the day Daphne was killed. This is incorrect. He was not there when I arrived shortly after 3pm,” Corinne Vella said in a post on Facebook.
Cutajar was testifying in a constitutional case filed by businessman Yorgen Fenech, the man accused of being the mastermind behind Caruana Galizia’s murder, who wants Police Inspector Keith Arnaud removed from the case. Fenech is claiming that he received information about the case from former chief of staff Keith Schembri who was tipped off by Arnaud.
In his testimony, Cutajar pointed out that Schembri used to sit in for investigation briefings at the Office of the Prime Minister and never informed the police that he personally knew Fenech – two statements that Vella also highlighted on social media.
When asked about the information leaks, Cutajar told the judge that the same two men who were leading the murder investigation – Arnaud and Police Inspector Kurt Zahra – were also asked to investigate these claims. At which point, Judge Lawrence Mintoff interrupted and asked “are you saying Arnaud investigated himself?”.
This statement drew criticism from Opposition Leader Adrian Delia and David Casa, MEP and Nationalist Head of the Delegation who said that it was “beyond belief”.
Beyond belief. @MaltaPolice Commissioner has just confirmed to a shocked judge that Yorgen Fenech's sworn statement that Inspector Arnaud was leaking details of the case to @keithaschembri was internally investigated… by Inspector Arnaud himself. pic.twitter.com/cCQ1KkJY9j
— David Casa (@DavidCasaMEP) January 14, 2020
The commissioner has “just confirmed to a shocked judge that Yorgen Fenech’s sworn statement that Inspector Arnaud was leaking details of the case to Keith Schembri was internally investigated …by Inspector Arnaud himself,” Casa said in a tweet.
Delia picked it up and tagged newly appointed Prime Minister Robert Abela, simply saying “this is an easy one”.
In an interview with The Guardian, Caruana Galizia’s son Andrew said they would know early on whether Abela would prove that he would break with the “corrupt legacy”.
“We will be watching to see what he does and we will probably know within the first few days whether he will really break with Joseph Muscat’s legacy or seeks to protect it,” Caruana Galizia told the Guardian.
Abela had to pass, or fail, a “few tests very early on” including keeping on Economy Minister Chris Cardona or reviving the political career of former minister Konrad Mizzi.