Keith Schembri, the former chief of staff at the Office of the Prime Minister, and his associates currently being held in preventive custody will have to spend at least another three more nights behind bars, The Shift can exclusively reveal.
Court sources have confirmed that the compilation of evidence against all those arraigned last Saturday facing serious criminal charges in relation to fraud, money laundering, corruption, false declarations and false testimony among others, will start being heard this Thursday before Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech.
It is only then that the lawyers representing Schembri and another 10 individuals will be able to make another bid for their release from prison, asking the magistrate to grant them bail.
Apart from Schembri, his father Alfio Schembri, Kasco Group CEO Malcolm Scerri and Robert Zammit, the 11 arraigned last Saturday include Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna, Karl Cini, Manuel Castagna and Katrin Carter Bondin, as well as financial services company Zenith’s (formerly MFSP) Lorraine Falzon and Matthew Pace.
The charges are connected to a magisterial inquiry involving a deal with Allied Newspapers, publishers of The Times of Malta. Two of its former Managing Directors are among those charged: Vince Buhagiar and Adrian Hillman. The latter has still not been charged as he is abroad. He is expected to be extradited shortly and charged in court.
The magistrate has 15 days to appoint the case according to the law, but it seems Frendo Dimech has decided to start hearing the case on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the constitutional case filed by Keith Schembri, his father Alfio, and his business associates at the Kasco Group last week has also been assigned. The case will start being heard at the end of April by Judge Anna Felice.
The police have not concluded their investigations and are currently looking into several other individuals, including current and former directors of Progress Press and Allied Newspapers.