Another two staff members of former prime minister Joseph Muscat seemed to have lost their memory or claimed that they did not speak to anyone about anything when testifying before the public board of inquiry looking into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Ray Barbara, Muscat’s former personal assistant, and Kenneth Camilleri, a police officer assigned to Muscat’s security detail, both told the inquiry board that it was possible that they had shared posts on social media that were linked to government propaganda following Caruana Galizia’s death but they claimed they did not remember doing so.
Camilleri was also asked about his friendship with Neville Gafa, a former OPM official who recently testified before the inquiry board saying that he had saved “thousands of lives” through a deal he had brokered on behalf of the Maltese government to send migrants back to Libya.
Although he travelled to Libya with Gafa four times, Camilleri said he had no idea what the meetings were about. This led to a series of questions by the Board of inquiry on the reason behind Gafa’s trips. Camilleri kept saying he did not know.
These testimonies were similar to those given by other OPM staff who also said they did not remember any details about what went on or what was discussed at Castille other than their job responsibilities.
Camilleri also did not know who Gafa was meeting or who was present. “I never sat in for the meetings”. He then clarified that he was present for one meeting but, when asked by the Board what language was used, Camilleri said he did not know because he sat on a sofa towards the back of a room.
At one point, Judge Abigail Lofaro pointed out that they must have spoken about what Gafa was going to do, like when on the flight, for example.
“We spoke about everything but the meetings. We spoke things in general,” Camilleri said, adding that the last time they spoke was after Gafa testified before the Board last week.
Camilleri is currently suspended from his role as senior management officer in enforcement with Transport Malta after his name was mentioned by middleman Melvin Theuma in his testimony in the case against Yorgen Fenech – the alleged mastermind behind Caruana Galizia’s murder.
“I wasn’t given a reason but they told me I was suspended because Theuma mentioned me in court,” Camilleri said.
Camilleri said he had met Theuma four times, but he would not provide any further information saying he was due to testify in the compilation of evidence against Fenech next month.
When pressed by the Board, he admitted that he used to share a lot of posts on social media but would not always read them or understand the subject.
Judge Lofaro called him out: “So you share things about Keith Schembri (former chief of staff) not being involved in Panama Papers but then you never spoke to him?”
The Board also asked him whether he regretted his social media posts. “No. I shared them for partisan reasons.”
He admitted that when Caruana Galizia wrote that Muscat’s wife Michelle was the owner of Egrant, there was a feeling of anger at Castille. This was corroborated by Barbara who pointed out that the former prime minister was shocked and angry when the blog post was published.
In his testimony, Barbara described himself as a “person of trust” whose sole remit was to act as Muscat’s personal assistant and take care of his appointments, engagements and work diary. He never used to sit in for meetings with the former prime minister.
He remembered making an appointment for Joe Gasan to meet Muscat but he could not remember when. He also never spoke to Muscat about Caruana Galizia or her blog posts.
He said he was present at Castille when Muscat held an emergency Cabinet meeting in the early hours of the morning on 29 December 2019. When asked by Azzopardi whether he saw anyone who was not a Castille employee keep the journalists locked in a room, Barbara said he did not see anything as he was in his office.