It’s taken far too long, but finally, it’s been confirmed that accused murderer Yorgen Fenech will stand trial for his part in the plot to assassinate Malta’s trail-blazing journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on 16 October 2017. The prosecution has requested he get a life sentence for his role in the brutal slaying that sent shockwaves around the world, and an additional 20-30 years for criminal association.
The news of the indictment yesterday somewhat overshadowed reports from a separate proceeding, in which Fenech was asking, once again, to be granted bail. Among the reasons given by the prosecution for why the request should be denied, was the fact that the accused assassin had purchased an entire arsenal of weapons and ammunition, as well as a large quantity of highly lethal potassium cyanide, enough to kill scores of people.
Fenech bought grenades, pistols, machine guns, rifles and ammunition – 800 bullets – via the dark web, the unindexed section of the internet favoured by criminals, using Bitcoin from five different cryptocurrency wallets, according to news reports. He also bought silencers for the pistols.
The weapons were bought in November 2018, the same month in which he was first exposed as the owner of corruption-conduit Dubai company, 17 Black, while the poison was purchased a few months before he was arrested in November 2019.
The implications are spine-chilling. What was all this for? Fenech appears to have been planning a massacre, or acting on behalf of others who were. Because, we must never forget, Fenech was not acting alone at any point in this heinous saga of murder and mayhem.
He was not alone in masterminding the brutal plot to silence Caruana Galizia, the journalist exposing the crimes he and his cabal of soulless money-hungry crooks were committing, on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis.
Several of the bottom-feeding middlemen and triggermen they hired to do the job, brainless vacuums who bragged in court of killing a human being and then going for a cup of tea, have repeatedly told police that Fenech was not the only mastermind behind the killing.
Accused financial criminal and former OPM chief of staff, Keith Schembri’s name has been mentioned as part of the conspiracy to murder Caruana Galizia by several of the hitmen already in custody, as well as Fenech himself. Schembri was photographed in his own office embracing the taxi driver middleman, Melvin Theuma, and allegedly arranged for Theuma to be given a phantom job.
A year ago, police officer Kurt Zahra testified in court that during interrogation Fenech had told them that Keith Schembri “hatched” the plan to kill Caruana Galizia during a meeting with him and the taxi driver Theuma, at his “ranch” in Zebbug.
Zahra said Fenech claimed Schembri had paid €80,000 towards the murder, and that the former OPM chief of staff had pressed the green light for the killing to go ahead, telling Fenech to put events in motion with the words “mexxi, mexxi, mexxi” (go ahead).
Schembri also sought to confuse the investigation into the murder by pinning the blame on another disgraced former member of the government, Chris Cardona, when he gave a letter to Fenech’s doctor, Adrian Vella, to deliver to Fenech in jail.
Vella himself testified in court that Fenech had told him, during a phone call related to the assassination, that if he “went down, everyone would go down with him.”
It’s time for Yorgen Fenech to bring those others down too.
And not only Schembri. Others high up in the hierarchy of the criminal gang squatting in Castille masquerading as a government are also involved, this much is clear. Others who had as deeply vested an interest as Fenech in trying to shut down Caruana Galizia’s revelations. Others who are known to have spent the five years leading up to the Labour Party’s 2013 electoral win scheming the wholescale ransack of the country’s most precious resources.
The plot to murder Caruana Galizia was a far bigger group of people than has so far been mentioned. We have to remember that these people are, above all, cowards. Lily-livered, craven, abject yellow-bellies lacking any type of courage or conviction. The kind of despicable bullies who need a gang of thugs around them to carry out their crimes, who need an army of hooligans to attack an unprotected, single, target.
Fenech, who faces two effective lifetimes in prison for his part in the brutal murder, did not do this alone. Nothing can change or lessen his own culpability in the crime, but for the sake of this country, he must speak up clearly about who else was involved.
Disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, who actively and continually protected the criminals Caruana Galizia was exposing, selected a police commissioner who would do as he was told, close his eyes to the misdeeds of his government and allow select criminals to escape, destroy evidence, obfuscate investigations and generally derail any efforts to expose or bring crooked politicians and their criminal associates to justice.
Disgraced brothel-creeper and former minister Chris Cardona, who’s alleged to have tried to instigate a separate plot to kill Caruana Galizia, as well as allegedly being involved in other crimes, such as bank robberies, wasn’t selected by Schembri as the fall guy out of a vacuum. Somehow Schembri, in writing that letter trying to pin the blame on Cardona, knew of his murderous intent. How did he know?
Shamed former police commissioner, Lawrence Cutajar must answer questions as to why he attempted to derail his own investigations into the murder. Why was he covering up for them? What did he know?
With him, Silvio Valletta, Ian Abdilla and any other police officers involved in deliberate obfuscation of the investigations – why were they so assiduously attempting to scupper their own probes into the murder plot? What exactly did they know, to make them compromise themselves so entirely in their behaviour?
The circle appears, to me, to be even wider. All those officials who failed to do their jobs and therefore not only created the atmosphere of impunity that allowed the murder to take place, but continued to prevaricate, make excuses for inaction and actively frustrate any progress. Former attorney general Peter Grech, for example, who failed time and again to do his job, to the benefit of the crooks who went on to murder Caruana Galizia.
Then-magistrate Aaron Bugeja, who discouraged whistleblowers in the Egrant inquiry by warning they’d be prosecuted instead of encouraging them to speak up, and who was appointed judge immediately after he concluded that pointless, half-baked, rigged process.
Their behaviour can’t be ascribed purely to incompetence or dereliction of duty. What did they actually know? How much did they know of what they were really protecting, of what they were facilitating, through their actions?
Speak up now, Yorgen Fenech. This is far from over.