in

‘No complaints’ about Keith Arnaud – Peter Caruana Galizia

Daphne Caruana Galizia family
Daphne Caruana Galizia's family hold a banner saying 'Truth and Justice'. Photo: Pierre Ellul

Peter Caruana Galizia, the husband of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, told a court that he has no complaints about Police Inspector Keith Arnaud, the lead investigator in his wife’s murder case.

The inspector and his colleague Police Inspector Kurt Zahra were always available to the family whenever they wanted to speak to them about the murder investigation.“We have no complaints about Arnaud and Zahra,” he told a court on Tuesday.

Caruana Galizia was questioned in a constitutional court case filed by the accused mastermind of his wife’s murder Yorgen Fenech who wants to remove Arnaud from the role of lead investigator in the murder case. Fenech is claiming that he received information about the case from former chief of staff Keith Schembri who was tipped off by Arnaud.

Coincidentally, it was Arnaud who had arrested Daphne Caruana Galizia back in 2013 on the eve of the general election for breaching the day of silence. He pointed out that the family had found this strange since Arnaud was a homicide inspector. “But we put that behind us,” said Peter Caruana Galizia.

When questioned by Fenech’s lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran about his relationship with Arnaud, Caruana Galizia said he had asked Zahra whether his wife had died while Arnaud was also present when she was killed by a car bomb on 16 October 2017.

Since then, over the years, his family met with Arnaud and Zahra on a regular basis. Arnaud had also been to his house, during which the two had a long chat.

Both Arnaud and Inspector Ian Abdilla were due to be cross-examined but this did not take place as the questions for Arnaud by the defence team were not yet completed and therefore could not proceed. Abdilla was unavailable.

Inspector Nicholas Vella from the anti-money laundering team took the stand and said investigations by the police into the phantom government job given to middleman Melvin Theuma by Schembri were still ongoing and the subject of a magisterial inquiry.

In a previous sitting, Arnaud said that he used to hold meetings with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Schembri where he would update them about the murder investigation. Arnaud was also the person tasked to investigate the source of the police leaks from murder investigation – a decision that was highly criticised.

Meanwhile, two officers from the economic crimes unit have been tasked with investigating the alleged leaks from Castille on Caruana Galizia’s murder. Investigations were ongoing and Vella said he did not at what stage they were at or whether Fenech had been passed on any information. This question was linked to last week’s testimony where Theuma told the Court that Fenech had told him that Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta, together with Schembri, was passing him information.

Gordon Debono

MFSA intervenes to block Gordon Debono’s second court-laundering scam

Konrad Mizzi’s direct orders published more than a year late