Father jailed over Zabbar car arson, sons given suspended sentences Tuesday, 10 December 2019, The man behind an arson attack in Ħaż-Żabbar footage of which went viral on social media has been sentenced to four years in prison.
The shocking footage emerged yesterday, showing a man dousing a car in petrol and then setting it alight while horrified family screamed at him.
The arson attack was captured on video by a member of the family. One of the men shouting that he was burning their car because the family have “no respect”. Although it was not mentioned in court today, the incident is believed to have started over an argument over a parking spot. Felice Delia, a 54-year-old resident from Marsaskala, appeared in court before duty magistrate Simone Grech along with two men who were under 18. All three pleaded guilty. Delia was sentenced to imprisonment for four years, while the other two accused were handed the same sentence, suspended for two years. The victims were placed under a protection order, with the accused also being ordered to pay for the damage he caused to their car.
Christmas Crib in Ramla John and Jean Pierre Muscat of Ramla Road, are busy preparing to open their farm as a Christmas display with live animals.
Filmat: Il-mument li taw in-nar karozza f’Ħaż-Żabbar Minn Christoph Schwaiger
Il-Pulizija qed tinvestiga każ li fih xi persuni taw in-nar lil karozza f’Ħaż-Żabbar. Kelliem għall-Pulizija qal lil Newsbook.com.mt li l-każ seħħ ilbieraħ għat-3pm. Minn informazzjoni li kiseb Newsbook.com.mt l-inċident seħħ fi Triq id-Dejqa. Jidher li l-inċident inqala’ fuq xi ġlieda minħabba parkeġġ. Il-filmat li wasal għand Newsbook.com.mt juri l-mument li fih ingħatat in-nar il-karozza.
Don’t expect ‘benediction’ from PM, Chris Fearne tells police Says the law is the same for everyoneBy Herman Grech Editor-in-chief Times of Malta. The police should not expect to get direction, let alone “benediction” from the prime minister, Chris Fearne said on Saturday. The deputy prime minister, who is the favourite to succeed Joseph Muscat as prime minister, was asked if he believed Keith Schembri should be investigated right away in the wake of incriminating testimony given by the man accused of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder. Mr Fearne insisted he will make sure justice is served under his watch, if elected to Castille. “The police should do what their oath of office says, fully and without fear or favour and in every single case and with no exception. “Should I be elected, this is going to be a cardinal principle from which I will not budge,” Mr Fearne said. The deputy prime minister was contacted after suspect Yorgen Fenech said in court that the former chief of the staff of the prime minister had kept him informed of police investigations and even tried to relay him notes while under investigation.
I will not embark on witch-hunts just for the sake of appearances
Mr Schembri was again called in for police questioning on Saturday in connection with a phantom job given to murder middleman Melvin Theuma but there is still no indication he will be prosecuted, sparking widespread anger. Asked if he would order an investigation into Mr Schembri’s work at the Office of the Prime Minister, should he succeed Joseph Muscat, Mr Fearne replied:
“I will do all that is expected of me as the prime minister of a democratic, European and modern state. I will not embark on witch-hunts just for the sake of appearances. But I will give my utmost to uncover the truth, for justice to be done and for the country to find itself its serenity again. I hardly need to say that the law is the same for everyone.” Mr Fearne did not answer directly when asked if he was convinced the probe into Ms Caruana Galizia’s death was carried out free from political interference. He said political interference in criminal investigations is itself a crime of heinous proportions. “Consequently, I would expect the police and other institutions of the State to do their duty, to thoroughly investigate every single case without exception. “Then and only then would I take all the decisions necessary, if I am elected,” he said. Meanwhile, party sources said a PL executive meeting scheduled for Monday is expected to cancel Mr Schembri’s party membership. Mr Schembri has hardly commented since he was first linked to the murder probe.
PL leadership: It is Fearne vs Abela By Stephen Calleja
Sunday, 8 December 2019,
Robert Abela has defied suggestions of a one-horse-race for the leadership of the Labour Party and said he is throwing in his hat, challenging the current deputy leader Chris Fearne for the top place in the Party and with it the office in Castille. It is known that efforts have been made to contain the fallout from the resignation of Joseph Muscat by having a transfer of power that creates the least possible friction in a Party that is already suffering the consequences of the forced election of Joseph Muscat, announced in the wake of investigations linking his office to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Muscat is prolonging the suffering of a government and party in crisis by announcing that he will go in January, despite calls from all quarters for him to go now. It has already been a week since Muscat – under great pressure to leave as the country’s international reputation plummeted to unprecedented levels – said he was giving up, but he is still there. As businessmen complain that sales are still low, and constituted bodies insist that the situation must be rectified before more harm is done, now there will be a competition – which will last more than a month – to have his successor in place, extending the uncertainty over the Christmas period which is normally a time when people spend more on gifts and entertainment.
The idea to have one candidate to contest the leadership was floated as a way of limiting the growing damage to the Party and reducing instability. There was even the possibility that if only one candidate had submitted a nomination, the Party’s General Congress to endorse that candidate would have been brought forward to before Christmas, ending the current impasse before the turkey, roast potatoes and mince pies are placed on the table. But it was not to be and, judging by Abela’s own outburst on Friday – when he launched an attack against what he described as an attempt to seal a diabolical pact – it was clear that the son of former President George Abela, who was also a former deputy leader of the PL, had already made up his mind to contest.
The diabolical pact to which Abela was referring can only be news reports of a deal that was supposed to see Fearne installed as Leader of the Party, with Ian Borg taking his place as deputy. Both Fearne and Abela cleverly kept their distance from the entire Panama Papers scandal from the time it broke in 2016, all the way through to the recent implosion that rocked the foundations of the government – and the PL.
With Muscat heavily involved through the implications surrounding his office, and with Labour’s second deputy, Chris Cardona, also among those questioned in the investigation – so much so that he temporarily suspended himself – Fearne was the only one of the top three to remain unscathed. The Vitals deal through which three public hospitals were transferred to the private sector was not reached with him as Health Minister.
Abela kept a very low profile after being elected to the House of Representatives for the first time, even reportedly rejecting the Prime Minister’s offer to be named as Parliamentary Secretary. Instead, he was appointed to the role of the PM’s personal legal consultant. It is likely that it will now be a two-horse race. Miriam Dalli, who obtained the largest ever number of votes for any Labour candidate in any MEP election, was the first to rule herself out of contention. Another possible candidate, Ian Borg, immediately endorsed Fearne’s candidacy as soon as it was announced on Friday, effectively saying that he is not interested in the job. Borg might be considering taking Fearne’s place as Deputy Leader, if Fearne moves a step up.
The game now begins. Fearne seems to enjoy a better standing among members of the Cabinet, largely because he has vast experience in politics and has already climbed high in the Party and government echelons. His non-involvement in any scandals that have hit the government frees him from any blemishes that have stained it, even though some will say that he could have done more to root out the bad weeds in the Muscat government. Abela’s lack of experience may work against him, but he has strong support among the grassroots of the Party and he has been given a number of government consultancies, which have been criticised by Standards Commissioner George Hyzler. Nominations for the election to replace Muscat will open on Monday, 9 December and close on Wednesday, 11th December, according to a statement released by the Electoral Commission of the Labour Party last Wednesday. A general conference is set for Monday, 6th and Tuesday, 7th January. If more than two candidates apply, a first round of voting will be held on 7 January, with two candidates going through to a second round of voting held during the Members’ Congress. The Congress, according to the statement, will be held on the 10th, 11th and 12th January and voting by eligible members will take place on the 11th.
Thousands march on Castille chanting 'Daphne was right'
Thousands of protesters gathered in Valletta this afternoon, marching for truth and justice in the wake of the latest revelations into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, while also demanding the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. This was the latest protest of many that began when 17 Black owner Yorgen Fenech was arrested in connection with the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder. Fenech was recently charged. While Muscat has announced that he will resign after the PL Leadership contest concludes in January, many are arguing that it is far too long for him to remain in power, especially since Yorgen Fenech has been making allegations about people close to him.
Protesters marched from Parliament down Republic Street and around other parts of Valletta, passing by St John's Co Cathedral, and ending up in front of Castille. While marching, the crowd was heard chanting 'Daphne was right', as well as 'mafia', 'justice', 'jail' and 'out'. The crowd marched holding a banner which read 'Justice', as protesters also held photos of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conseption Happy Sunday to all.
Muscat family in private meeting with Pope Francis
Saturday, 7 December 2019,
The family of outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this morning met Pope Francis at the Vatican in a private visit. The Department of Information described it as “a last private visit” as Muscat is to resign in January. The visit was supposed to be official but it was later relegated to a private occasion after the PM announced his resignation in the wake of his office’s involvement in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Christmas in Nadur Photos by Mario Muscat Crib by Mark Azzopardi
Robert Abela to contest PL leadership election
Saturday, 7 December 2019,
PL MP Robert Abela has announced that he will be contesting the Labour Party leadership election. He is the second person to announce his nomination, after Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne.
Writing on Facebook, Abela said he was answering the call with humility, and with the backing of his family. "Together, we will keep the flame that makes us proud of our country and of the Labour Party alive," he said. On Friday, Abela launched a scathing attack on what he described as a "devilish" pact which would sell out the country, the Labour Party and its genuine supporters. The post came after negotiations for an agreement to avoid a leadership election within the party fell through. It was reported that the pact, which had the blessing of outgoing leader Joseph Muscat, would have seen Fearne take over as party leader and Prime Minister and Abela and Transport Minister Ian Borg being appointed as his deputies.
Man stabbed in Zebbug, Gozo; another held for questioning Saturday, 7 December 2019, A man suffered serious injuries when he was stabbed in Zebbug, Gozo, at around midnight, the police said. The incident took place in Mungbell Street. The 24-year-old man from Somalia, resident in Zebbug, was found by police officers with stab wounds, and a medical team was called to take him to Gozo Hospital. He was later certified to be suffering from serious injuries. A 23-year-old man from Somalia, also resident in Zebbug, is being held by the police for questioning.
Robert Abela launches scathing attack on ‘devilish’ Labour leadership pact By Albert Galea Friday, 6 December 2019,
PL MP and potential party leadership candidate Robert Abela has launched a scathing attack on what he described as a “devilish” pact which would sell out the country, the Labour Party and its genuine supporters.
Writing on Friday, Abela said that he is not ready to participate “in any devilish pact through which I would buy some comfortable seat for myself, and sell out the country, the Labour Party, and genuine Labourites under the veil of the false excuse of unity.”
He said that he has no rabid and blind ambition for power and for a seat at the power table which will confuse his judgement in such a delicate moment for the country, and said that he cannot be burdened with compromises which tie his hands before has even started. “Unity is kept with honesty and by proceeding in a proper manner. Is it possible that we have learnt nothing from this situation?” he wrote. The post comes after negotiations for an agreement to avoid a leadership election within the party fell through. Malta Today report in fact that the pact, which had the blessing of outgoing leader Joseph Muscat, would have seen current Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne take over as party leader and Prime Minister and Abela and Transport Minister Ian Borg being appointed as his deputies. They report however that Abela objected to Borg being earmarked as a deputy due to his close ties with the Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri
Muscat withdraws from Rome conference 'at the last minute'
Friday, 6 December 2019, There was more humiliation for outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat – only this time it was self-inflicted. Muscat today pulled out of a Rome migration conference "at the last minute", according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Muscat was due to speak about migration at the MED 2019 conference, an annual high-level initiative promoted by the Italian government. Muscat today was shunned by Italian PM Giuseppe Conte who, as reported by The Malta Independent yesterday, cancelled the business lunch they had programmed. A spokesperson for Conte’s office told The Malta Independent that Conte preferred “other commitments” than to meet the Maltese premier The embattled prime minister had his official audience with the Pope on Saturday relegated to a private visit without the presence of the media. Muscat has announced his intention to step down in January, although there is mounting pressure for him to resign immediately.
Labour MPs in push to have Chris Fearne as only contender for party leadership Internal negotiations are underway in the Labour Party to whittle down the leadership contest to a one-horse race in the hope of having Joseph Muscat exit as early as next week
5 December 2019, 2:54pm by Kurt Sansone
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne is being pushed by various MPs to become the next leader of the Labour Party
The Labour Party leadership contest may end up being a one-horse race as MPs are rallying around the candidature of deputy prime minister Chris Fearne.
MaltaToday is informed that intense negotiations are underway to convince potential leadership candidates not to contest, paving the way for Fearne. The efforts were bolstered today when Labour MEP Miriam Dalli announced that she will not be contesting the leadership despite her popularity among party members.
Sources said that Fearne has managed to rally strong support within the Labour parliamentary group, where there is very little appetite for a divisive leadership contest in the circumstances. The same sources said it was unclear yet whether Transport Minister Ian Borg, who is interested in the post, will agree to stand aside. People close to Borg have suggested that he has not yet made up his mind and the situation remains one of flux.
Another potential contender, MP Robert Abela has so far not indicated what his intentions are, limiting himself, earlier this week, to saying that any decision he will take will be in the best interest of the party. If Fearne is uncontested for the post, he will still have to face a confirmation vote among PL delegates but party insiders are hoping this process could be brought forward. “If there is only one candidate, Fearne could be confirmed next week and Joseph Muscat can resign earlier than planned. It would also help Malta save face at the European Council meeting scheduled for next week,” the sources said. Nominations for the PL leadership open on Monday and close two days later. If there are two contenders or more, the new leader will be installed on 12 January. Over the past week there has been growing internal pressure on Muscat to resign immediately in the aftermath of damning revelations in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation that implicated his former chief of staff Keith Schembri. However, sources said the difficulty the party faced was that Muscat’s natural replacement in government – Fearne – was also an interested party in the leadership contest.
Italian premier Conte cancels Muscat lunch in Rome, where PM also will meet Pope Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has been reported to have cancelled lunch with the Maltese prime minister
5 December 2019, 1:35pm by Matthew Vella
Italian PM Giuseppe Conte being greeted by Joseph Muscat in Malta
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has cancelled a lunch meeting with Joseph Muscat due to be held tomorrow, Friday, in Rome.
The Malta Independent said sources had confirmed that the Italian premier had suddenly cancelled his business lunch with the Maltese PM, ostensibly – but not confirmed – over the latest political developments in Malta concerning the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Muscat was expected to travel to Rome for the Mediterranean Dialogues, together with foreign minister Carmelo Abela, as well as to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday. A petition urging people to write to Pope Francis, asking him not to meet Muscat, has been doing the rounds on social media. On Wednesday, a group of 22 academics urged the Pope not to receive the outgoing Prime Minister and to distance himself from this “propaganda exercise”.
Updated (2): Principal Permanent Secretary confirms existence of Theuma's government job Wednesday, 4 December 2019, 14:19Last update: about 1 hour ago
The Principal Permanent Secretary, Mario Cutajar, has confirmed that the middleman in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder, Melvin Theuma, was indeed employed by the government, only hours after he said that no record of his employment could be found. Testifying in court on Wednesday morning, Theuma had said that he had been given a job with the government and received several cheques in spite of not working a single day.
He said that he had been given the job after agreeing to arrange the murder of the journalist, a job which was given to him after he met the Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri – a meeting arranged by one of the Prime Minister’s members of staff Sandro Craus. The Principal Permanent Secretary’s office, which heads the civil service, had initially said that there were no records of him having such a job with the public service, but after paperwork showing the job with a government entity was published by Xarabank, Cutajar told Lovin Malta that the records had indeed been found and had been passed on to the police.
Cutajar said that he had checked the public service records but not those of the public sector as he was still awaiting a response from all public entities. He told Lovin Malta that he issued the statement saying that no records had been found on the advice of the Attorney General. In a statement issued earlier in the day, the Principal Permanent Secretary's Office made reference to a letter published yesterday, in which it was alleged that Melvin Theuma claimed former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri gave him a government job. "Reference is being made to reports about a letter, allegedly written by Melvin Theuma, stating that he was given a government job. The Principal Permanent Secretary yesterday instructed the verification of all government employment records, wherefrom it resulted that Melvin Theuma's name was not amongst those of persons who had been employed in the Public Service." "Today, all employment data is being verified afresh and all employment records have also been requested from all government entities. The verification results will be preserved so as to be available for ongoing or future investigations," the statement by the Principal Permanent Secretary's office read.
Xarabank, however, has published what is says is Melvin Theuma's employment contract as a driver/messenger with the Housing and Embellishment company. The full-time, indefinite contract is dated 1 May 2017. This was the day on which PM Joseph Muscat annoucned a snap election. The unit falls under the Family Ministry, then headed by Minister Michael Farrugia. After the 2017 election, Farrugia was made minister responsible for the police.
Melvin Theuma testified in court earlier today. Theuma told the court at one point that Yorgen Fenech informed him that he would be receiving a call from Castille. He told the court that a meeting was arranged and he went there to meet Keith Schembri, and a photo was taken together. Theuma said that he was informed that he was to be given a job with the government. Theuma told the court that he never went to work with the government but he started receiving cheques. He did not know where he was supposed to be working.
How Melvin Theuma 'arranged' the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia Murder middleman says Yorgen Fenech hired him for the hit
NationalDaphne Caruana GaliziaCourt
By Edwina Brincat and Diana Cacciottolo
Melvin Theuma testified in court on Friday. Inset, clockwise from left: murder victim Daphne Caruana Galizia, murder suspect Yorgen Fenech, former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and former bodyguard to the Prime Minister Kenneth Camilleri.The Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination middleman testified in court on Wednesday detailing how he had been directed by Yorgen Fenech to commission the hit with the words "get on with it. I want to kill Daphne".
Melvin Theuma recounted the sequence of events leading up to and after the October 2017 murder, including how he arranged payments to the three men alleged to have carried out the car bomb that killed the 53-year-old journalist.
In his testimony, the Birkirkara taxi-driver said he hadn't been paid "a single cent" for his own part as the middleman. His "friend", multi-millionaire Tumas Group magnate Fenech, was the "only mastermind", he said.
He also described meetings with various members of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's staff, including his chief aide Keith Schembri, and Head of Customer Care Sandro Craus, who he claims arranged for him to get a government job. Theuma detailed how a third member of Dr Muscat's staff, named Kenneth, visited him after the murder and attempted to get him to pass on information to the alleged killers, including a promise that they would be paid €1million.
Theuma was giving his testimony as part of the compilation of evidence against brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, who all stand accused of the killing. Here are the sequence of events, according to Theuma's testimony: Months before June 2017 election: a meeting outside the Blue ElephantThe plot began on an undisclosed date in the months before the June 2017 election when Theuma received a phone call from Fenech. They met outside the Blue Elephant restaurant, in the Hilton, St Julian's where Fenech told Theuma to find Alfred Degiorgio “because I want to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia”. Theuma told the court that Fenech had said that the journalist was going to publish information about his uncle, Ray, chairman of the Tumas group. The next day, at a potato shed in Marsa, Theuma told Degiorgio that a man wanted the journalist killed. “But does this guy pay?” he asked.
Two days later, Theuma and Degiorgio met again, at the Busy Bee coffee shop in Msida, where Degiorgio said he wanted “€30,000 up front and €120,000” afterwards as his fee for the killing, Theuma said. The terms were relayed back to Mr Fenech “either at Yorgen’s Farmhouse in Zebbug or Portomaso”.
A job offer from the Office of the Prime MinisterTheuma then said he received a call from Sandro Craus, Head of Customer Care at the Office of the Prime Minister, who said he had an appointment with the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri. “I was taken aback,” Theuma told the court, “I had never been to Castille before”. Theuma went to the Auberge de Castille, where he said he was met by Schembri, who ordered him a coffee before handing him over to Craus. The latter then told him he was being offered a government job at the ministry “opposite the old theatre”. It was the second time Schembri and Theuma had met, Theuma said, detailing a meal he had enjoyed with the Fenech family in the past, for which Mr Schembri was present. Theuma said he began to receive a monthly cheque for this job, even though he never reported to work. “I had told them I was a taxi driver,” he recounted. The cheques stopped arriving after the June 2017 election.
An election announcement in May and a warning to 'stop everything'In the days after the election was called on May 1, Theuma said he received a phone call from Fenech who said he wanted Degiorgio to “stop everything”. Theuma says he met with Degiorgio, again at Busy Bee, to relay the message and that Degiorgio responded by saying he hoped somebody else hadn't been commissioned for the job.
Election Sunday, June 4, and the hit is back onMalta’s 2017 General Election was held on Saturday June 3. By election Sunday, the hit was back on, after a phone call from Fenech to Theuma. "He told me, ‘to get on with it. I want to kill Daphne”.
Afterwards, Fenech called Theuma and asked him to drive him to the airport, where he then give him €150,000, telling him it was "for the assassination”. Of this, Theuma gave €30,000 to Degiorgio and placed the remaining cash in either a Bank Of Valletta safety deposit box or at home. From then onwards, Theuma said Fenech “bombarded” him with calls, wanting to hurry the hit along and fearing that the information would leak. Theuma said it was during this call that he got the impression that the information Fenech was fearing would be published by the journalist was about him and not the uncle.
“He once told me, ‘Let’s make sure it doesn’t end up like Bone’s’”, a reference to Romeo Bone, who lost both his legs but survived a botched car bomb explosion. In turn, Theuma says he put pressure on Degiorgio and his brother George, and gave them details supplied by Fenech about places Ms Caruana Galizia liked to visit, including a coffee shop in Naxxar and a restaurant in Rabat. A visit to Daphne Caruana Galizia's homeTheuma went on to describe how he once went to Bidnija, where Ms Caruana Galizia lived, accompanied by Alfred Degiorgio, who showed him her home, and the fields where she would eventually be murdered in a car bomb. He said Degiorgio had called him at one point to tell him they planned to kill her but had to abort the plan due to an unexpected road block. The date of the assassination was unknown to him, Theuma said, but that around four or five days before it happened, he could not reach Degiorgio on the phone he used to communicate with him, which Degiorgio had given him. Theuma said that he had been told that the bomb had been manufactured by tal-Maksar.
The day of the murder: October 16 2017Theuma said he only knew the murder had happened when he arrived home from work and saw it on the news. “From that moment, I was overcome by fear,” he said. “I feared everything”. He called Fenech and the next day they met at a private room in Portomaso, he said. “Fenech told me, ‘what are you afraid of? It's the local police who are going to investigate, anyway,” Theuma recalled. Some time later, according to Theuma, he met Degiorgio and paid him the €120,000 balance as well as a further €5,000 for the cost of binoculars and rental cars. Around a month after the murder, Theuma said he drew up a will and named his partner as his heir.
An advance warning of a December police raid Fenech warned him later that the killers were in trouble because of a “big raid” planned for “December 5” and that he passed on that information to the Degiorgio brothers. The raid happened on December 4, 2017 and the men were arrested. Afterwards, Theuma continued to pay the men €300 weekly - €100 each - by sending them money through a third party, who would in turn send the money to Vincent Muscat’s daughter and the Degiorgios' brother, Mario. The money was coming from his own pocket, he said. “They needed money to get by, and I was worried they would reveal everything,” he said.
A holiday and a flurry of payment requestsTheuma said that he started drinking heavily and swallowed sedatives and that Fenech, noticing the change, gave him €5,000 to “go on holiday with my family”. After the holiday to the UK, he got a call from the Degiorgios' brother, who he met in Ħamrun, and who told him they needed €30,000 to pay their lawyer. Fenech paid this and a further €25,000, Theuma told the court. There were more requests for money and each time, Theuma would go to Fenech, get the money and relay the payments through Mario Degiorgio, including, at one stage, buying him a dog costing €5,000. Other payment requests, including money for bail, for family abroad, for school fees and for household repairs was always paid, Theuma told the court. At one point, when Fenech was being treated for a cocaine addiction in the UK, Theuma paid around €20,000 to the Degiorgio brothers himself. Asked by the prosecution what he received for the murder, Theuma replied: “Not a single cent." Asked why he was paid so little, he said: “Because he had befriended me so much beforehand. It was only later I realised I had made a mistake.”
A meeting at home with 'Kenneth from OPM'The relationship between the pair soured soon afterwards Theuma said. Fenech called him and told him that Vincent Muscat was giving information to investigators and that he should warn the Degorgios through their brother, Mario. Theuma said he refused to take Fenech’s phone calls or answer his messages. Then he received a phone call from a man called Kenneth, who said he worked at the Office of the Prime Minister and was going to come over to his place to have a word. Kenneth came to his house accompanied by another man named Johann Cremona, Theuma recalled. During the visit, Kenneth called somebody. “I suspected he was calling Keith Schembri”, he said. After the call, Kenneth told Theuma to tell the three murder suspects, who at that point were behind bars at Corradino Correctional Facility, they would be getting bail “on the 22nd, plus one million each”.
He relayed the message but the men grew nervous when days went by and bail was not granted. Theuma then confronted Fenech about ‘Kenneth’ demanding to know if he had been sent by Schembri. Fenech did not reply, he said. “I told him that if it was Keith (Schembri), I would take Mario Degiorgio right behind his front door in Mellieha,” Theuma told the court. Fenech’s response was to tell him to fear “those inside, not the ones outside.” “That’s when the fear really kicked in,” he told the court. “I started to record Yorgen. I feared they were plotting to kill me.” Secret recordings and a letter Theuma said he began making secret recordings of Fenech: in his car, at Level 21 in Portomaso and at Fenech’s Żebbuġ home. He copied the recordings on a pen drive, wrote a letter and passed it together with a pen drive to Fenech. Asked about the letter which was found at Fenech’s home, and implicated Schembri in the murder, he said he named Schembri "because the promise of bail for the three murder accused had come from ‘Kenneth’ who worked at the OPM." “But I swear I only met Keith twice, as I explained before,” he said. His testimony was suspended so that the recordings are exhibited and the case adjourned until December 12, with a following session scheduled for January 7.
Police officer advises teenage activist to ‘stop voicing opinion’ so as not to receive death threats By Giulia Magri Tuesday, 3 December 2019,
Eve Borg Bonello, a 16-year-old student and activist who was one of the key speakers at Sunday's protest, has been receiving numerous death threats. Borg Bonello delivered a powerful speech during the protest, calling for the end of Muscat's 'evil kingdom'. After Sunday's protest, she began receiving numerous threatening messages, where she was told she will end up like Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Several protests have taken place over the past days, following the most recent developments in the investigation regarding Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The Malta Independent contacted Borg Bonello to get a clearer picture of what happened. "It started when I began receiving death threats after I posted the speech. It was unbelievable; I started receiving threats and insults every few minutes from people I don't know."
After receiving numerous comments and messages attacking her and her family, she took the decision to file a police report. The police officer advised her not to go through the hassle of filing a police report and going to court "He also told me that if I don't wish to receive such messages I should just keep my opinion to myself," said Borg Bonello.
She added that though she does not exclude that the Police officer could have been well meaning, and after seeking legal advice, she returned to the same police station assisted by Dr Paul Borg Olivier to file an official police report. She has also posted on her social media that despite the comments she has been receiving; she "will continue to fight- for truth, for justice, for better Malta."
David Casa Retweeted Malta Independent “If you don't wish to receive death threats, just keep your opinion to yourself.” Obscene. The day we shut up is the day we become complicit in this madness. @il_politikanta, you have my full support.
Il-President George Vella qal li Malta jixirqilha aħjar. Dan qalu waqt li kien qed jindirizza lin-nazzjon fuq l-istazzjon nazzjonali TVM illum. Hu kien qed jitkellem qalb xenarju kemmxejn inkwetanti għall-pajjiż u l-integrità tiegħu.
Fl-indirizz qasir tiegħu Vella qal li qed jagħmel dak kollu li titlob minnu l-kostituzzjoni. Bil-kontra ta’ kif sar għad-diskors tal-Prim Ministru fuq it-TVM ma ndaqx l-innu Malti qabel u wara li tkellem il-President Vella. “Kull jum li jgħaddi, qiegħda tikber l-istennija minni biex inkun strument biex jiġi evitat l-agħar li jista’ jiżviluppa jekk is-sitwazzjoni li għandna f’pajjiżna bħalissa tkompli tiggrava.” Hekk beda d-diskors tiegħu Vella li spejga li diġà ħareġ stqarrija li fiha spjega x’inhuma l-parametri li tħallih jaħdem fihom il-Kostituzzjoni. Vella appella biex kulħadd “mill-kbir saż-żgħir, iqis bis-serjetà fejn jista’ jwassal għemilu.”
“Dan l-inkwiet dwar is-sitwazzjoni preżenti ġie mwassal lili llum b’mod qawwi u b’enfasi partikolari mill-imsieħba kollha tal-Kunsill Malti għall-Iżvilupp Ekonomiku u Soċjali (MCESD) li jirrappreżenta firxa wiesgħa u kbira tas-soċjetà Maltija.”
Il-President appella għall-kalma u biex kulħadd ikun konxju tar-responsabbilitajiet li jġorr. “Nappella biex f’ambjent iktar kalm u ’l bogħod minn reazzjonijiet spontanji, ngħarblu ċ-ċirkostanzi li għaddejjin minnhom u ningħaqdu biex flimkien – bla ma nħarsu lejn wiċċ ħadd – naraw li nħallu l-istituzzjonijiet jagħmlu xogħolhom u li sseħħ il-ġustizzja.” “B’hekk biss nistgħu nibdew it-triq biex bil-mod il-mod nerġgħu għan-normalità, u dan qabel ma l-ħsara li qed issir lil pajjiżna f’tant oqsma, inklużi dawk internazzjonali, issir waħda irreparabbli.”
L-Isqfijiet jappellaw għall-għaqda, il-verità u l-ġustizzja
Minn Charmaine Attard 3 ta' Diċembru 2019
L-Isqfijiet ta’ Malta u Għawdex qed jappellaw għall-impenn għall-għaqda, il-verità u l-ġustizzja. Fi stqarrija konġunta, l-Arċisqof Charles Scicluna, l-Amministratur Appostoliku ta’ Għawdex Mario Grech u l-Isqof Awżiljarju ta’ Malta Joseph Galea-Curmi qalu li bħala ragħajja spiritwali tal-Kattoliċi Maltin u Għawdxin, jixtiequ jagħmlu appell biex f’dawn il-ġranet ta’ tensjoni nfittxu li naħdmu flimkien, b’mod kalm u konvint, “għall-verità u l-ġustizzja fl-imħabba u b’rispett lejn xulxin. Aqra l-istqarrija sħiħa hawn taħt:
Bħala ragħajja spiritwali tal-Kattoliċi Maltin u Għawdin, aħna l-Isqfijiet nixtiequ nagħmlu appell biex f’dawn il-ġranet ta’ tensjoni nfittxu li naħdmu flimkien, b’mod kalm u konvint, għall-verità u l-ġustizzja fl-imħabba u b’rispett lejn xulxin.
L-appell tagħna jingħaqad mal-appell tal-Eċċellenza Tiegħu l-President tar-Repubblika Dr George Vella għall-għaqda, biex is-sitwazzjoni diffiċli li għaddejjin minnha ma tkabbarx il-firda u li, fi spirtu ta’ għaqda u għall-ikbar ġid tas-soċjetà Maltija u ta’ pajjiżna, naħdmu lkoll biex l-istituzzjonijiet tagħna jagħmlu d-dover tagħhom bir-reqqa u b’mod imparzjali.
Bħal f’kull soċjetà, wieħed jifhem li fostna jaf ikun hemm nuqqas ta’ qbil, iżda dejjem għandna nfittxu li nesprimu l-opinjonijiet leġittimi tagħna b’rispett lejn xulxin, lejn il-verità u mingħajr ma naqgħu fin-nassa tal-mibegħda, tal-gideb u tal-vjolenza. Nappellaw biex aħna, Maltin u Għawdxin, infittxu l-ġid komuni fi spirtu ta’ vera lealtà lejn il-prinċipji tal-Kostituzzjoni tar-Repubblika ta’ Malta. Iż-żmien tal-Avvent ifakkarna li qegħdin nistennew il-miġja ta’ dak li “tħaddar f’jiemu l-ġustizzja u s-sliem kotran” (Ps 72:7). Jalla l-ħerqa li għandu l-poplu għall-ġustizzja, għall-verità u għall-onestà, tissarraf ukoll f’rispett lejn xulxin u fiċ-ċaħda ta’ kull vjolenza verbali jew fiżika. Nagħtu l-barka pastorali tagħna lill-poplu għażiż tagħna u lil kull persuna ta’ rieda tajba.
Message to the nation by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Minn Christoph Schwaiger 2 ta' Diċembru 2019 5:39 PM
Ġurnalista ta’ Newsbook.com.mt ġiet ikkonfrontata minn impjegat ta’ membru tal-Kabinett, waqt li kienet qed tipprova ġġib il-kummenti għall-mistoqsijiet tagħha. Il-maniġment ta’ Newsbook.com.mt jikkundanna din il-konfrontazzjoni ta’ rabja, hekk kif il-ġurnalista kienet qed taqdi dmirha. Hija kienet qed tistaqsi lill-Membri Parlamentari malli bdew ħerġin mill-Parlament, li llum spiċċa siegħa u nofs qabel.
Filmat: Illum.com.mt L-MEP tal-PN David Casa ħareġ Tweet li fih ikkundanna dak li affaċċjat ġurnalista ta’ Newsbook.com.mt waqt li kienet qed tiġbed il-filmati.
Agħtu l-protezzjoni lill-ġurnalisti – L-IĠM lill-Pulizija L-Istitut għall-Ġurnalisti Maltin għal darba oħra fi ftit jiem qed jipprotesta bil-qawwa kollha għal dak li seħħ illejla fil-Belt Valletta, meta ġurnalisti li kienu qed jaqdu dmirhom biex jirrappurtaw dak li kien qed iseħħ waqt protesta quddiem il-bini tal-Parlament, sfaw aggrediti waqt il-qadi ta’ dmirijiethom. L-IĠM semma kif inċidenti simili seħħew fil-Ħamrun fejn ġurnalisti li wkoll kienu qed jaqdu dmirhom, sfaw mgħajra u ssuttati. Filwaqt li l-istitut, japprezza l-ħidma tal-Pulizija li evitat li l-inċidenti jeskalaw aktar, “ma jista’ qatt jaċċetta li ġurnalisti li jkunu qed jaqdu dmirhom jisfaw mhux biss imfixkla imma anke msawta”. Appella lill-Pulizija biex jagħtu l-protezzjoni meħtieġa lill-membri tal-midja u tieħu passi skont il-liġi kontra kulmin jikser il-liġi, hu min hu.
Partitarji Laburisti jinġabru fil-Ħamrun Minn Paul Cachia 2 ta' Diċembru 2019 7:22 PM
Ara il film hawn: https://www.facebook.com/newsbook.com.mt/videos/837013956715870/ Partitarji Laburisti qed jinġabru quddiem iċ-Ċentru Nazzjonali Laburista fil-Ħamrun, f’dimostrazzjoni ta’ appoġġ għal Prim Ministru u Mexxej Laburista Joseph Muscat hekk kif ġriet l-aħbar li Muscat mistenni jattendi għal-laqgħa tal-Eżekuttiv tal-Partit Laburista. Dalgħodu waqt programm speċjali fuq One Radio, il-Prim Ministru kien ħabbar li l-Eżekuttiv mistenni jitlaqa’ illejla biex jiskatta l-proċess li permezz tiegħu għandu jinħatar Mexxej Laburista ġdid. Il-Prim Ministru wasal fil-CNL ftit tal-ħin ilu fejn intlaqa’ b’ċapċip minn fost dawk preżenti. F’punt minnhom, tim mediku mill-Isptar Mater Dei deher dieħel fiċ-Ċentru Nazzjonali Laburista. Għal mumenti, il-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat deher joħroġ barra isellem lill-folla miġbura. LIVEIl-Partitarji Laburisti jinġabru l-Ħamrun
BREAKING: Muscat says PL will have new leader by 12 January, he will resign as PM soon after
Sunday, 1 December 2019,
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this evening that he has written to the president of the Labour Party instructing him to launche a process that will see a new Labour leader elected by 12 January. Muscat said he will resign as party leader once a successor is elected, and from the post of Prime Minister a few days later. The announcement confirms a story published in The Malta Independent this afternoon, soon after a four-hour meeting of the parliamentary group.
In a recorded, televised address, Muscat said he was assuming responsibility for things he did not do. He said the country had stopped over the past few days, and the country needs to move forward. "Malta needs to start a new chapter and only I can give that signal," he said.
He said he has always believed that a Prime Minister should not serve more than two terms. Muscat also said he had kept his promise of bringing justice for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. He said no one can ever justify the brutal murder of "someone who was contributing to democracy in this country." In the same way, however, violence in the name of protests is also unacceptable. "In the coming period, we will initiate a process so that our country will have a new Prime Minister, a Prime Minister who will continue the work and the strong mandate of this Government and continue to deliver the plan the Maltese population approved in June 2017," he said.
"I will write to the President of the Labour Party so that the process for a new Leader is set for 12th January 2020. On that day I will resign as a Leader of the Labour Party. In the days after I will resign as a Prime Minister. "Our country thus will start a short process of approximately a month for the Labour Party to choose a new Leader and new Prime Minister. I have also informed the President of the Republic. "In the meantime, I will continue to carry out my responsibilities as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. I am ensuring stability in the leadership of the country."
This is full message: A message to the Nation by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat As Prime Minister, I promised two years ago that justice would be done in the case of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. From the very beginning, we made sure that the police had all the resources available. Europol and other international services were also fully involved. Today I am here to tell you that I kept my word. Not only do we have three persons accused of this murder but, also now, someone accused of being the principal person behind this killing. These arrests were possible only because of our willingness to see justice for this shocking murder. In this process, I assumed full responsability and a presidential pardon was given to one individual that led to the arrest of another, accused of being the principal person behind this murder.
The man accused of being the principal person requested a pardon too. The recommendation of the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police was to reject this request. The Cabinet unanimously was against this pardon. Ms Caruana Galizia’s family was against this pardon. I was against this pardon. I was against this pardon because I always base my decisions on what I believe to be just, and I took this view despite a message being conveyed to me that if this pardon were not given efforts would be made to try to tarnish my reputation. All my decisions have been based on what I believe to be just, only in what is just. Justice is being done. And I will see that justice is for everyone. Investigations are not complete. No one is above justice.
Every single day of these past two years I have shouldered responsibilities and taken decisions. I made decisions in the best interests for the conclusion of the case and I am convinced that some decisions were good while others could have been better made. Frequently, these were moments where I had to decide on my own in solitude. Because this is what the role of Prime Minister demands. All the responsability I had to shoulder surely does not compare to the pain that the vicitim’s family is enduring. I reiterate my deepest regret that a person who, with all her positive and negative qualities and contribution towards the democracy of our country, was killed in such a brutal way.
The sensations of genuine sadness and anger for this murder are justified. And I will never accept that someone conveys a signal that in any way he or she is justifying this murder. In the same manner, violence and disorder, within the pretext of a protest, are not justified in a democracy. Our country should be proud of the the work of the Malta Police Force. I thank all the authorities, including the Attorney General, for working with attention to detail and diligence and giving advice on the basis of what is just.
Our institutions are strong and they function. Shame on anyone who ridicules them as he or she is ridiculing our country. I look forward to this difficult chapter in the story of our country being closed, but not forgotten. In the past year, I was attacked when I spoke and attacked when I did not speak, as though I was manipulating the media. As from tomorrow, we have to look forward. I understand that for this to happen there is a need for a clear signal of a fresh page, and this signal can be given only by me, as I need to shoulder everyone’s responsibilities, even where I am not involved.
This is not the moment for partisan politics or the type of opportunism seen in these difficult days. I believe that the public know who acted in the right manner and who acted wrongly and will separate those who were genuine from those who were not. This case cannot define everything that our country is and what we have accomplished together. These past seven years were wonderful for our country. They were years that saw our country recover so that we established ourselves as the best economy in Europe, with an average annual growth rate of more that 6 per cent. We were a country with more that 7,000 unemployed persons. Today one of our biggest problems is that we do not have enough persons for new job vacancies.
I am proud of our reforms in social justice and civil rights. We elevated many persons from poverty and created a new middle class. We increased pensions year after year. We reduced taxes, and we did not introduce any taxes for the past three years. We have a country where families are better off because we reduced billis without precedent. We revolutionised the way energy is generated and we delivered cleaner air in the south of Malta. Gozo has become a place with educational, health and technological investment, so that is experiencing economic growth greater than Malta. We introduced free childcare so that more persons can work and introduced free transport for all students. And we started a substantial project to build 1,000 new social housing units. These are only some of the Government measures which thousands of persons, in the privacy of their homes, know helped them to get out of poverty.
Above all, today we have parents that have children thanks to new procedures that we intoduced for IVF in our public health care. Other measures have helped parents to adopt. We have ensured our society is more just and that love is equal for everyone with marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples. When someone tells me we did not do anything for those left behind, I smile. We did not do enough, that’s true. You can never do enough. But we did a lot to help those who were left behind and we managed to get them out of poverty through the measures which I have mentioned. These are thousands of families who acknowledge that their livelihood improved because our country moved forward. They are the silent majority who are testiment to our work and who support this Government.
But our country comes first. I have never forgotten this principle since the day I was chosen to be Leader of Opposition in 2008 and it stayed with me from the first day I was Prime Minister. The trust and love that this country has delivered in every electoral mandate given to me in the past twelve years has made me focus on the best interests of our country. Since before being elected Prime Minister, I always said that I believed a Prime Minister should serve no more than two legislatures. Now the time has come to practice what I believe in.
In the coming period, we will initiate a process so that our country will have a new Prime Minister, a Prime Minister who will continue the work and the strong mandate of this Government and continue to deliver the plan the Maltese population approved in June 2017. I will write to the President of the Labour Party so that the process for a new Leader is set for 12th January 2020. On that day I will resign as a Leader of the Labour Party. In the days after I will resign as a Prime Minister. Our country thus will start a short process of approximately a month for the Labour Party to choose a new Leader and new Prime Minister. I have also informed the President of the Republic.
In the meantime, I will continue to carry out my responsibilities as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. I am ensuring stability in the leadership of the country. As Prime Minister of Malta and Gozo, I loved my country. I was not perfect. I had my defects and for them I apologise personally, even when these shortcomings were because of someone else. I assure you that I never held back from giving all my strength to give back for all that you have given to me. I know that the majority of the Maltese and Gozitan population trusted me and still trust me. For this I thank you with all my heart. Because of this trust, there were those who asked me: why now? My answer is that this is what needs to be done. I believe that the trust that you have shown me is still there, and I am leaving with the comfort that this trust is at its best. But this move will guarantee to preserve a legacy of economic growth and social justice without precedent. We still have a lot to do and, with your help, our country can be even better in the future, building on the strong foundations we achieved together. From tomorrow, our work continues for Malta.
Updated: Protesters in Valletta once again call for PM resignation
Sunday, 1 December 2019,
Protesters gathered once again in Valletta, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in the wake of developments related to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Civil society has taken to the streets several times over the past two weeks, and the arraignment of Yorgen Fenech who was charged with complicity in the murder on Saturday has not dampened their cries for the PM to step down.
A huge crowd of protesters gathered in front of Parliament and walked down Republic Street behind a banner with the word "Justice". Members of the Caruana Galizia family, including her parents, were among those at the front.
A stage was set up facing City Gate right in front of the law courts building, where the Great Siege Monument is situated and is serving as a makeshift memorial to the slain journalist. Copies of the photo which shows former chief of staff Keith Schembri with the alleged middleman Melvin Theuma, taken in Castille, were affixed to the gate leading to the law courts.
Muscat has steadfastly refused to take political responsibility, even after his chief of staff was forced to resign as he was arrested in connection with the case. Keith Schembri was named in the investigation, but the police released him on Thursday after two days of questioning.
Once again protesters are carrying placards calling for justice and for the resignation of the PM. Many of the protesters are carrying Maltese flags, and also photos of Daphne Caruana Galizia. There are indications that Muscat could step down in January, but there has been no official statement. At the end of the official activity, organised by Occupy Justice and Repubblika, some protesters blocked the road near the War Memorial in Floriana, shouting "justice".
Nadur Parish prepares for Christmas Photo by Mario Muscat
Labour leadership election slated for 18 January
Saturday, 30 November 2019,
An election to replace Joseph Muscat as leader of the Labour Party, and eventually Prime Minister, is slated for 18 January, sources told The Malta Independent.
It is not yet known if the PM will remain at the helm until then, or if he will be resigning earlier and an acting leader appointed. If more than two candidates are interested in the job, a first election will be held on 8 January to choose the two “finalists”.
This development comes in the wake of growing pressure on Muscat to leave so as not to cause more harm to how own government and Malta. The PM will himself make a statement announcing that he will be stepping down and kick start the leadership race, source at the Labour Party said. Next week, the Labour government will be officially midway through its term in office. The last election was held on 3 June, 2017, and the result was known the next day. Muscat took his oath of office as Prime Minister on 5 June. The government has so far denied reports that the Cabinet is split on the idea of Muscat stepping down, but the latest developments in the case have sped up the transition process.
Muscat met President George Vella on Friday and it is believed that the two spoke about Muscat's resignation. Muscat had said that he had intended to leave the premiership before the next election, and there had been indications that he would have stepped down as early as last September if he had been given a job within the European Union structure.
But that plan failed and he had been forced to prolong his stay as leader. The latest developments - with his chief of staff arrested for questioning in connection with the murder, as well as the resignation of a minister and the self-suspension of another - have forced the issue. A court ruling placing three ministers under investigation on the VGH deal was only the latest in events that added more pressure on the PM to go.
Calls for his resignation have been coming from all quarters, with civil society and NGOs taking to the streets almost every day to push him to resign. Constituted bodies, including employers, have also repeatedly asked for action to be taken to restore stability in the country. Muscat has said that he will stay on because the country needs his leadership, with detractors, including the Opposition Leader, saying that his presence is adding to the country's instability. Deputy leader Chris Fearne, Transport Minister Ian Borg and MEP Miriam Dalli have all been named as possible contenders for the leadership, but there could be the possibility of outsiders going for the job.
Parliament cannot protect you, Speaker tells Chris CardonaLabour MP sought protection over Caruana Galizia 'frame up' fears By Ivan Martin
Chris Cardona has been told parliament cannot help him, after he asked for its protection following reports of an attempt to frame him for the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In a letter sent to Speaker Anġlu Farrugia on Saturday morning, the self-suspended Economy Minister asked for “all necessary steps” to safeguard him and his constitutional function as an MP.
Dr Farrugia replied some hours later, telling him that there was nothing he could do as the reports of the attempted frame-up did not relate to events in parliament. "While I understand your concern, because this is something I myself have experienced and continue to do so, I do not see how I can give you any form of remedy," the Speaker said in his reply.
Frame up claimsOn Friday, Times of Malta reported how the Cabinet had raised concerns that Keith Schembri and Yorgen Fenech had plotted to "frame" Dr Cardona for the assassination of the 53-year-old journalist. Multiple Cabinet sources confirmed that a number of ministers told Prime Minister Joseph Muscat during a tense Cabinet meeting on Thursday night that they were concerned and “angered” that there appeared to have been an attempt to pin the assassination of Ms Caruana Galizia on Dr Cardona. Mr Schembri denied he was involved in a frame up.
Dr Cardona and at least one member of his staff were briefly called in for questioning in relation to the murder probe last week. In his letter, Dr Cardona says that contrary to other media reports on what had been said during the late-night Cabinet meeting, there was no denial to the Times of Malta report that ministers had spoken to investigators about a possible attempt to frame him. “I believe that any attempt to prejudice and attack a member of Parliament’s constitutional function, requires strong and effective action, including from the House itself, the highest institution in the country,” his letter reads. 2012 precedentThis is not the first time that the House has been asked to protect an MP. Back in 2012, as the Gonzi administration was in a political crisis of its own, Speaker Michael Frendo had told Parliament that he had written to the Police Commissioner about reports of threats made to an MP and had asked the police to protect him. At the time, the Speaker was replying to Anġlu Farrugia, who was Deputy Leader of the Labour Opposition, who had asked for the MP to be protected.
Watch: Yorgen Fenech charged with complicity to murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia
Neil Camilleri & Rebekah Cilia Saturday, 30 November 2019,
Photos Domenic Aquilina, Videos Alenka Falzon
Businessman Yorgen Fenech tonight pleaded not guilty to being an accomplice in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Fenech, 38, did not request bail, with the defence requesting the right to make this request at a later stage in the proceedings. Magistrate Audrey Demicoli remanded Fenech into custody, and he was later taken to the Corradino prison. The court also ordered the freezing of Fenech's assets other than an amount for his personal use. Fenech was charged with promoting, organising or financing a criminal association with the intention of committing criminal offences; with actively participating in criminal association; with being complicit in the voluntary murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia; with associating with persons in Malta or abroad with the intention committing a crime. The court has also been asked to freeze all moveable and immovable assets pertaining to the accused, and to prohibit the accused from transferring or disposing of any such assets..
8.20pm: Sitting is over. 8.19pm: The defence did not request bail but reserved the right to make the request at a later stage. 8.17pm: The prosecution is presenting the accused's passport and four credit cards - two BOV Visa cards, an American Express card and a Mastercard. The course freezes the accused's assets except for a minimum amount as required by law.
8.14pm: The defence is contesting the request to freeze the assets, saying that the assets have been in the family for a long time. The prosecution is arguing that at present it is requesting just the freezing, not confiscation. 8.12pm Defence lawyer Caruana Curran asks inspector Arnaud whether Keith Schembri formed part of the police investigation. The court orders inspector Arnaud not to reply to the questions. 8.11pm. Fenech pleads not guilty. 8.10pm: Fenech is charged that, on 16 October 2017, he organised or financed a crime, was accomplice in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, being an accomplice with third persons to use explosives that caused an explosion that killed the journalist. The prosecution is also requesting the freezing of Fenech's assets.
8.08pm: Validity of arrest is not being contested by the defence, but they have some questions. 8.07pm: Magistrate Audrey Demicoli enters the courtroom. 8.04pm: Daphne caruana Galizia's husband Peter is also in the courtroom. 8.03pm: Nadia Attard and Philip Galea Farrugia are representing the AG's office, Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra the police, while Fenech will be represented by lawyers Marion Camilleri and Gianluca Caruana Curran. Jason azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are representing the Caruana Galizia family.
8.02pm: Yorgen Fenech enters the courtroom. 7.58pm: Van carrying Yorgen Fenech arrives at the law courts building. 7.48pm: Daphne Caruana Galizia's sons have arrived in the courtroom. 7.35pm: Members of the Caruana Galizia family are attending the sitting, including her parents and her three sisters. 7.20pm: The main doors of the law courts building were opened just after 7.20pm, with media rushing in to the courtroom. 7pm: There is a heavy police presence in the area of the law courts.
Fenech was arrested by the police on 20 November while he was on a yacht departing from Malta, off the coast of Pembroke. He has since been kept either under arrest or released on police bail. His request for a presidential pardon was turned down twice, the first time by PM Joseph Muscat and the second time by the Cabinet. He made a third request to President George Vella
Political crisis in Malta
Yorgen Fenech says he has information about Keith Schembri, Chris Cardona, Konrad Mizzi, others
Thursday, 28 November 2019,
17 Black Owner Yorgen fenech has written to President of Malta George Vella, arguing that it should not be Cabinet that decides whether such a pardon be granted due to the people Fenech wants to reveal information about.
In the letter to the President, lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Marion Camilleri, on behalf of Yorgen Fenech, referred to a request for a Presidential Pardon in order to deliver "all information regarding the facts."
"The information he is ready to offer is, inter alia, regarding Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona and others, all people close to the Prime Minister and up until yesterday all attended Cabinet meetings." "On the basis of Article 85 of the Constitution, the President needs to act according to Cabinet advice, or on the advice of a minister who is under the Cabinet's authority. This authority was delegated to the Prime Minister against all practice."
The lawyers argued that since the situation refers to people very close to the Prime Minister, it is clear that is should not be him, or a member of Cabinet to give this recommendation. The letter read that Yorgen Fenech has the right to ask that his request be treated without any intervention that could have a direct interest in him not being granted a pardon. The lawyers argued that he has a right for his request to be evaluated objectively, impartially and without the interference of "political or personal interests." The letter reads that Fenech wanted to air his concerns with the situation, and for the President to exercise and extend the powers given to the him by the Constitution given this particular situation. The letter read that "it is so true that Keith Schembri has an interest to stop the applicant from implicating him that, as the Commissioner of Police himself can verify, Schembri even sent directions to the applicant regarding the statement he should give the police to avoid his being implicated, and this whilst the applicant was under arrest at the headquarters waiting for a response to his request for a pardon."
Arrested doctor delivered handwritten Schembri message to Yorgen Fenech – sources
Wednesday, 27 November 2019,
Dr Adrian Vella was arrested by police after Yorgen Fenech told investigators about a handwritten note that the doctor had passed on to him from Keith Schembri, sources have told this newsroom. The doctor was arrested in connection with messages that may have been passed through to Fenech while he is in police custody. Sources told The Malta Independent that Schembri allegedly told Fenech – through the doctor – not to expose anything about him (Schembri). Sources have now said that the message was passed on to Fenech through a handwritten note. The doctor allegedly passed on the note to Fenech while examining him. Fenech later handed the note over to officers investigating the case. It us understood that Vella is the doctor that saw Fenech when the latter was taken to hospital on Saturday after complaining of chest pains. Telephone logs also show that Schembri and Fenech were in regular contact. Schembri has been under arrest since Tuesday morning, and his 48 hours elapse on Thursday morning. He resigned from the post of OPM chief of staff on Tuesday. Fenech was arrested for the fourth time on Wednesday. Both Schembri and Fenech are being interrogated at the police headquarters, with officers cross-checking the information being provided by both men.
17 Black Tuesday for Muscat government: Konrad Mizzi resigns, Chris Cardona suspends himself Tuesday, 26 November 2019,
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has resigned while Economy Minister Chris Cardona has suspended himself as pressure on the Muscat government mounts. Mizzi resigned and Cardona suspended himself hours after the OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri also handed in his resignation. Cardona also suspended himself from the post of deputy leader of the Labour Party.
The developments come in the wake of investigations regarding the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia on 16 October 2017.
Both Mizzi and Cardona remain as MPs. A suspension means that Cardona will not be performing any ministerial duties pending the outcome of the investigation. Cardona was summoned to the police depot last Saturday in connection with the investigation.
Mizzi has been intrinsically linked with Schembri following the revelations of the Panama Papers, after the two were caught having secretly opened a company in Panama.
Labour ministers and other exponents have said in the past that Mizzi should resign. Mizzi had lost his energy and health portfolio in 2016 - and the Labour deputy leadership - following the Panama Papers leaks. He was reappointed minister after being re-elected in 2017.
Over the past two days he has insisted that he has no links with 17 Black. In a statement, the government said that Konrad Mizzi had resigned from the office of Minister for Tourism with immediate effect. "He stated that he had resigned in the light of the political situation in the country, in the national interest and that of the Labour Party. He did so out of a sense of political duty, in order not to distract from an effective and serene leadership of the country," the statement said. Mizzi emphasised what he has repeatedly stated, including under oath, that he has no business connection with Yorgen Fenech, and no connection with 17 Black.
He further emphasised that the Electrogas contracts were scrutinised by the European Commission and by the Auditor General. Government had conducted discussions on the contracts through a professional negotiating team, and had answered detailed questions in regard to the contracts. He further confirmed that he has no connection and nothing to answer about in relation to the recent revelations of the investigation of Yorgen Fenech. Mizzi expressed regret that politics in Malta has become polluted by suspicions fuelled by partisan politics. Following his resignation, he will be focussing on his parliamentary duties, and will continue to contribute to the Labour Party’s efforts.
He thanked his family, the employees of the Ministry and government departments who contributed to his Ministerial efforts, and the hardworking heroes of the Labour movement, the statement said. In a statement, tthe Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Chris Cardona, said he "is suspending himself with immediate effect from his position as Minister pending the investigations and proceedings going on right now.
"This decision was taken following a discussion with the Prime Minister. "Cardona declares that he has absolutely no connection with the case, but after Police had asked for further clarifications, he feels duty bound to take this step in the national interest." In a separate statement, the Labour Party said that he had suspended himself from the position of deputy leader for party affairs. This decision was communicated to the to the party leader and administration. The PL statement said that Cardona emphasised that he has no connection with the case, and is doing so until the investigations are over.
This is a developing story.
[WATCH] ‘Killers, out! Prison!’. Thousands demand Joseph Muscat step down Protestors gather outside parliament for the fourth time to demand Joseph Muscat's resignation
Last updated on 26 November 2019,
by Massimo Costa
Protestors have called for the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Watch film here: https://www.facebook.com/maltatoday/videos/1321447651390508/ Play VideoThousands of protestors yesterday poured out their anger outside Malta’s House of Representatives. They were unprecedented scenes. In a fourth wave of protest since the arrest of Yorgen Fenech, the Tumas magnate, in connection with the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, masses of people were out in droves – heckling, hissing, booing, shouting, calling names, grabbing the barricades set up by police officers outside Parliament and throwing them to the ground forcefully. They arrived early in the afternoon, at 4pm, as Joseph Muscat’s Cabinet meeting came to end, and with it the resignation of two ministers, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona.
Protestors spent three hours outside the House of Representatives. They shouted ‘killers’, ‘mafia’, ‘prison’… they pelted MPs and ministers’ ministerial vehicles with eggs. Police struggled to keep the crowd in control as they forcefully threw down the barricades. At one point, the demonstrators sung the Maltese national anthem, in what appeared their firm message that the country, not corrupt politicians, comes first.
The crowd then moved to Castille, with activists from Repubblika and Occupy Justice paying tribute to murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. “Two years ago, the unthinkable happened. A journalist was assassinated, and our gut reaction was that she was killed for what she had written or was about to write,” activist Pia Zammit said. “Today we are here because our gut reaction was right. Daphne was right, and she should be here… We must never let a culture of fear reign again, we must never allow ourselves to be hijacked in this way again.”
Organisations for journalism and writers, among them Reporters Without Borders, PEN International and Transparency International, yesterday expressed concern at what they termed the “appearance of political interference into the investigation of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia”. “We are concerned that the Prime Minister, by placing himself at the centre of the investigation, raises the spectre of undue executive interference in the investigation. This is particularly so given the vested financial interests between Fenech and the Prime Minister’s current chief of staff Keith Schembri and cabinet minister Konrad Mizzi relating to the company, 17 Black who both resigned on Tuesday 26 November…”
“The whole truth concerning the circumstances and accountability for the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia must emerge. There must be transparency from the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General. The investigation must be independent, impartial and free of all political influence.” The human rights NGO Aditus also weighed in, saying the integrity of the Office of the Prime Minister had been damaged and called for Joseph Muscat to resign with immediate effect.
“Malta’s governance institutions are largely failing to fulfil their roles of preventing and addressing abuses of political and administrative power. It is shameful that the entities entrusted by the nation to ensure justice, fairness, efficiency and democratic process – the public service, the judiciary, administrative tribunals, the police and armed forces, and state agencies – are consistently used as extensions of political party clubs or recruitment agencies,” Aditus director Neil Falzon said.
“Our statement of more than two years ago reverberates loudly today, following a long string of institutional failures directly connected to the Prime Minister. It is time for the entire nation to reclaim Malta’s democratic values. To insist that fundamental human rights, rule of law and good governance are repositioned at the heart of Government. “To embark on a healing process that will require a revision of our Constitution, a challenging of the omnipotence of political parties and a strengthening of those institutions mandated to respect, protect and fulfil our fundamental human rights. The nation can only start healing with the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.”
Updated: Watch: Nobody above law – ministers Herrera, Zammit Lewis; 'I am not comfortable' - Abela Monday, 25 November 2019,
Environment Minister Jose Herrera and Equality Minister Edward Zammit Lewis today said – walking into a Labour parliamentary group meeting – that nobody is above the law. They were approached by reporters asking questions on their position with regard to OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and Minister Konrad Mizzi, who are being pressured to resign in the wake of developments following the arrest of 17 Black owner Yorgen Fenech in connection with police investigations into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Zammit Lewis said that the Prime Minister with “hear us out” anf will take a decision. The important thing is that the rule of law functions, he said.
Herrera said that “like everyone else, I am preoccupied with what is happening. I am monitoring what is taking place and at the opportune time I will speak up.” He said that the judiciary and the police are doing their work, and “the rule of law signifies that nobody is above the law.”
Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi receives Gieh in-Nadur 23 November, 2019
Members of the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul of the Grand Chapter of Malta, during the presentation of Gieh in Nadur to Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi Deputy Chancellor.
Photo from left: Chevalier Adonai Camilleri Cauchi, Dame Marlene Muscat, Chevalier Carmel Saliba, Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi, Chevalier Chancellor Joseph Louis Meilak, Brother Matthias Mercieca and Dame Veronica Camilleri Cauchi.
Message from the Grand Master H.E. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli
Photo: The Secretary Chevalier Carmel Saliba is reading the message from the Grand Master for the presentation of Gieh in Nadur to Chevalier Deputy Chancellor Michael Camilleri Cauchi.
The Grand Master His Excellency Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli and the Supreme Council of the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul is very honoured to have Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi one of its own.
He has been a very dedicated and honourable member of our Confraternity. He is always ready to give advice to help our Confraternity to achieve more.
We are very happy to say that on Tuesday this week, we donated $10,000 to the Royal Women’s Hospital - Newborn Intensive Care Unit. The money was raised from a Fund Raising Lunch we had last month and some donations from individuals and sponsors.
This year we donated others sums of money to the Australian Farmers who were suffering from drought-ravaged part of the State of Victoria and to our missions in Peru.
Our Confraternity is still small but it’s making a big impact to help those in need.
We like to Congratulate Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi, on receiving the honour Gieh in-Nadur 2019.
God bless you.
H.E. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli Grand Master CKSPP
Gozo Channel ship damaged after crashing into pier - MinisterMonday, 25 November 2019, Gozo Channel is operating with only two ships after one of the ferries was damaged today due to the strong winds and rough seas, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana told Parliament. It had already been announced that the MV Nikolaus, which was leased by the company to operate as a fourth vessel, was to undergo repair work that will last till mid-December. The company was operating with three vessels until this morning when one of the remaining three ships was damaged and needs repair work.
Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi receives Gieh in-Nadur 23 November, 2019
Last night the Municipal Council of Nadur presented Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi with the honour Gieh in - Nadur for his life long contribution to arts.
Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi is a poplular artist in Malta and Gozo and his work was also exported overseas including Australia. He was commissioned to make several statues of saints to Maltese and Gozitan associations in Melbourne.
Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi is the Deputy Chancellor of the Grand Chapter of Malta, based in Nadur. The Grand Master H.E. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli, the Supreme Council and the Knights and Dames of the most respected Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul extends our Congratulations to Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi, his wife Dame Veronica and son Chevalier Adonai Camilleri Cauchi on this special honour.
God bless you.
Photo from left: Chevalier Carmel Saliba, Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi with the trophy and Chevalier Joseph Louis Meilak.
'We need all facts about Daphne's murder' - Evarist Bartolo
Saturday, 23 November 2019,
Education Minister Evarist Bartolo said this morning justice needs to be done "without fear or favour" in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case. Facts should be made public for the country to be able to return to normality, he said on Facebook.
“To move on and turn a new page, we need to know all the facts and responsibilities of those involved in the murder,” Bartolo wrote, adding that he expected “all necessary steps to be taken to ensure justice, without fear or favour”.
Political pressure has been mounting on the government since businessman Yorgen Fenech was arrested as a “person of interest” in the 2017 murder of Caruana Galizia.
The arrest was made on Wednesday. As of Saturday morning, Fenech was still under arrest but had yet to face charges.
Updated | Chris Cardona asked whether he was involved in Daphne Caruana Galizia murder Economy Minister Chris Cardona tells MaltaToday that police asked him four questions
23 November 2019, by Kurt Sansone
Economy Minister Chris Cardona
Chris Cardona has denied to the police any involvement in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder during a short questioning session at police HQ this morning.
Contacted by MaltaToday, the Economy Minister said the police asked him four questions, including whether he knows Melvin Theuma, the middleman in the Caruana Galizia murder.
“I answered no,” Cardona said. “I was asked whether I had any involvement in the murder, and I answered no. I was also asked whether I had passed on money, and again my answer was no,” Cardona said.
The minister said that he was also asked why he had dropped libel proceedings against Daphne Caruana Galizia. “I told them that I did not drop libel proceedings,” Cardona said. The reference is to libel proceedings Cardona had started against Caruana Galizia after she reported that he had been present in a German brothel along with an aide, while on official duty in January 2017.
Cardona’s libel case against the late Daphne Caruana Galizia was struck off by a court last year, and afterwards, his aide ceded his own libel case. The fact that both cases did not continue means that the opportunity to verify whether the minister and his aide had been inside a German brothel while on official business was lost. A cache of mobile data held under the custody of the magistrate would have revealed the location of Cardona and his aide. Caruana Galizia had claimed back in January 2017, that the pair had visited a brothel in Germany and the information was based on an anonymous eyewitness source. Cardona was called in for questioning at police HQ on Saturday morning and left shortly afterwards. Official statement Meanwhile, a statement released by the Department of Information said Economy Minister Chris Cardona was asked “to provide some clarifications, including on speculations that were made about him in the past”, as part of the ongoing police investigation. “As he has always done, Minister Cardona, responded immediately to the request by cooperating fully with the police, and remains ready to cooperate further so as to clarify any issues or questions that might crop up as part of the ongoing investigation,” the statement read. It continued: “In these exceptional and highly sensitive circumstances, an appeal is being made for the media to be prudent and not to spread further speculation which would only lead to divert the course of justice.”
Yorgen Fenech interrogation interrupted for 24 hours after suspect complains of chest pain Earlier today, while being interrogated, the businessman and owner of Dubai based company 17 Black, was transferred to Mater Dei Hospital under strict security suffering from chest pain.
23 November 2019, 5:47pm by Matthew Agius
Yorgen Fenech was publicly identified as the owner of 17 Black in November 2018
Former Tumas Group chief executive officer and person of interest in the investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Yorgen Fenech, will not be interrogated for the next 24 hours as he has once again been placed on police bail, this time after being taken to hospital, complaining of chest pain.
Fenech was arrested on Wednesday morning whilst attempting to leave the country aboard his luxury yacht, the Gio. Reports say that an urgent arrest warrant was sought by the team investigating Caruana Galizia’s 2017 murder, “to stop his attempted escape.”
Earlier today, while being questioned, the businessman and owner of Dubai based company 17 Black, was transferred to Mater Dei Hospital under strict security due to chest pain. In a statement issued this evening, the police said that they have been informed by the hospital authorities that because of Fenech’s medical condition, he would not be in a position to be interrogated further for the next 24 hours. The police said that it is normal hospital practise to keep persons complaining of chest pain under observation for 24 hours. Fenech was granted police bail under maximum security while he is being treated. He is the second person of interest in the investigation to have his questioning delayed after complaining of chest pain this week, after Melvyn Theuma made the same complaint. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is expected to recommend a pardon to Theuma, the suspected middleman involved in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia in return for information on the murder. Police sources have confirmed to the MaltaToday that Fenech has also requested a presidential pardon in return for evidence that could shed light on the murder.
Updated: ‘Middleman’ seeking presidential pardon discharged from hospital Friday, 22 November 2019,
The ‘middleman’ who is seeking a presidential pardon in exchange for information related to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia has been discharged from hospital, sources said. He had been admitted to hospital earlier after complaining of chest pains and was being held at Mater Dei Hospital's Cardiac Unit. The man was taken ill on Friday morning at the police headquarters in Floriana.
BREAKING: Plea bargaining being considered in Yorgen Fenech arrest
Friday, 22 November 2019,
The police are mulling the idea of offering a plea bargaining deal in Yorgen Fenech’s arrest, sources have told The Malta Independent. The 17 Black owner was arrested early on Wednesday morning as part of the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation. He was intercepted by the Armed Forces of Malta shortly after he sailed out of the Portomaso marina and was taken to the police headquarters for questioning.
Fenech was expected to be arraigned late on Thursday evening, shortly before the 48-hour window elapses, but was released on police bail. On Friday morning, he was escorted back to his yacht at the Portomaso marina, where officers conducted a new search. Fenech was wearing a black coat and trousers as well as black sunglasses. The marina was kept closed all through the morning while the police were conducting the search, and was re-opened at around noon.
Fenech was later rearrested and escorted to the police headquarters, where the interrogation resumed.
Sources said that the idea of a plea bargain was brought up during this second round of questioning. A plea bargain is an agreement between a suspect and the prosecution where the former admits to a crime in return for some form of concession or a lesser sentence. It is unknown at this time whether Fenech will accept the offer. Last week, a suspected middleman was arrested by police, with the Prime Minister later confirming that a presidential pardon could be granted should the information provided be corroborated by the courts. Muscat said on Thursday, however, that Fenech’s arrest did not come as a result of information given by the middleman. The latter was admitted to hospital with chest pains this morning but was discharged at around 7.30pm. He is still under police protection. Sources also confirmed that the middleman has provided evidence that includes recordings of phone conversations and messages which indicate all the protagonists taking part in Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
Daphne murder: Yorgen Fenech rearrested Businessman back in police custody, one night after his release on police bail
Mr Fenech with investigators before his re-arrest on Friday morning.Businessman Yorgen Fenech was rearrested on Friday after being granted police bail the previous night, Times of Malta understands. His rearrest took place after he accompanied investigators to a search of his yacht in Portomaso marina in St Julian's. Police are questioning him in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb in October 2017.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said investigators had chosen to release Mr Fenech on police bail the previous night as they needed more time to question him before pressing charges.
Police search the yacht on Wednesday morning, shortly after it was brought back to shore and Mr Fenech rearrested.
"Once police prosecute someone, they do not have the right to further question him,” Dr Muscat said. The prominent businessman was first arrested early on Wednesday morning as he attempted to leave the marina on board his yacht, the Gio. Dr Muscat subsequently confirmed him as a “person of interest” in the murder case.
Police have yet to make any official statement on the arrest or developments this week. However investigators were seen back at the Gio on Friday morning with Mr Fenech, who wore a black coat and trousers as well as black sunglasses.
Reporter Vanessa Conneely gives an update about Yorgen Fenech's arrest from Portomaso.
Officials from European law enforcement agency Europol were also spotted on board. Meanwhile the alleged 'middleman' in the murder case, Melvin Theuma, who has been offered a presidential pardon in exchange for information on the murder case, admitted himself to hospital on Friday.
Filmati u ritratti: Protesta fil-Belt; sejħa għar-riżenji Minn Josianne Vella
Fil-Belt Valletta llejla saret protesta msejħa mis-soċjetà ċivili li qed titlob għar-riżenja tal-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat, taċ-Chief of Staff tal-Prim Ministru Keith Schembri u tal-Ministru Konrad Mizzi.
Din hi t-tieni protesta f’temp ta’ tlett ijiem. Nhar l-Erbgħa li għadda, il-protesta li bdiet minn Kastilja għal quddiem il-Parlament spiċċat b’inċident li kkawża ġrieħi ħfief lil żewġ uffiċjali tal-Pulizija. Fil-kummenti lill-ġurnalisti Bonnici spjega li wara li l-karozza marret viċin il-bini tal-Parlament għalih u xi attivisti ddeċidew li jiċċirkondawlu l-karozza. Owen Bonnici jispjega kif spiċċaw qalb il-folla Fl-indirizz tiegħu lill-attivisti llejla l-ġurnalista u blogger Manuel Delia qal li meta xi ħadd jikser il-liġi hemm l-istituzzjonijiet biex jieħdu azzjoni. Żied li s-soċjetà tista’ sserraħ rasha li qed issaltan is-saltna tad-dritt meta dawn l-istituzzjonijiet jaħdmu.
CONFRATERNITY OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL Melbourne. Australia. By Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli - Grand Master
On Tuesday 19 November, 2019 the Members of the Supreme Council of the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul made a generous donation of $10,000 to the Royal Women's Hospital - Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
Every year more than1,600 babies who are born sick or prematurely are cared for by the specialist NICU team at the Women's.
The money was raised from a Lunch organised by theGrand Chapter of Melbourne on the 13 of October, 2019.
The Supreme Council has agreed to donate money to the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital at the Good Friday Appeal.
Photo from left: Chevalier Saverio Greto, Dame Gail Vas, Dame Carmela Barbaro, Chevalier Vincenzo Galtieri. H.E. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli - Grand Master presenting the cheque to Sue Jacobs Deputy Clinical Director - Neonatal Paediatrician, Laura Bignell Chief Midwifery and Nursing Officer, Dame Angela Greto and Dame Mimma Sabatini.
[WATCH] Yorgen Fenech spends the night in police custody Businessman Yorgen Fenech remains in police custody as investigators question him in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia
Yorgen Fenech spent the night in police custody as investigators questioned him in relation to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder after the businessman was arrested on Wednesday.
Fenech, who until a week ago was a director in the family firms belonging to the Tumas Group, was arrested on his yacht as he tried to leave Malta. He was stopped on Wednesday by Armed Forces of Malta patrol boats at 5:30am just after leaving the Portomaso Marina.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed that Fenech was “a person of interest” in the Caruana Galizia murder investigation. The police have 48 hours to take Fenech to court and charge him with a crime, or else release him. The 48 hours expire tomorrow morning. Fenech is understood to have spoken to investigators but it remains unclear at this stage whether he has admitted any guilt. It is also unclear as to what role Fenech may have played in the assassination of Caruana Galizia.
So far, MaltaToday cannot ascertain whether there were other people on the yacht with Fenech, who were also held by the police, and whether cash was found on the vessel. Developments came to a head on Tuesday, when the Prime Minister confirmed reports that a middleman involved in the murder was willing to speak as long as he is given a presidential pardon. MaltaToday named the middleman as Melvin Theuma, a taxi driver, with past cases of usury. Sources in the horse racing sector told this newspaper that Theuma had an interest in horses, a passion also enjoyed by Fenech. “This is probably how the pair know each other,” the sources suggested.
Theuma is understood to have been a permanent fixture with his taxi outside the Hilton Hotel in St Julians, owned by the Tumas Group. The Prime Minister has said that any pardon is conditional on the middleman giving enough evidence that will lead to a prosecution. Meanwhile, Fenech’s arrest has prompted the value of the Tumas Group’s bonds to tumble. The businessman resigned his directorships from all family companies on 12 November but the documents were officially filed with the Malta Business Registry on 19 November, 24 hours before he was busted. Fenech has also resigned his directorship on Electrogas, the company which built and runs the gas power station in Delimara. The man still retains his shareholding in the companies.
Fenech also owned the mysterious Dubai company 17 Black, which was indicated as a target client for the Panama companies opened by Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri after the 2013 general election. Reference to 17 Black cropped up in an investigation of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit but it was only after Caruana Galizia was murdered that its owner was identified and indicated as a target client for Mizzi’s and Schembri’s companies. Caruana Galizia was murdered in a powerful car bomb just outside her house in Bidnija on 16 October 2017. Just before her murder, the journalist had received a large cache of emails belonging to Electrogas, which she had been working on. It is unclear so far, whether Fenech’s alleged link to the murder is connected to 17 Black, or any other business he may have been involved in.
17 Black owner’s boat intercepted at sea, Yorgen Fenech in police custody
Wednesday, 20 November 2019,
A boat belonging to 17 Black owner Yorgen Fenech was intercepted at sea by the Armed Forces of Malta and returned to Malta early on Wednesday morning, police confirmed to The Malta Independent. The yacht was seized off the coast of Pembroke soon after it had left Portomaso at 5.30am. Fenech was arrested and is in police custody, sources said.
Data from vessel tracking website Vessel Finder showed that the boat was back at shore within an hour of its departure. The boat is now berthed at Portomaso, under strict police surveillence. Access to the harbour was temporarily blocked, and when it reopened police were still present in the vicinity of the vessel.
A report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit had identified Electrogas power station director and Tumas Group CEO Yorgen Fenech as the owner 17 Black. The Dubai-based company was identified in a leaked e-mail as one of two sources of income for the Panama companies Hearnville and Tillgate, which were set up by Nexia BT for Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he signed a letter that assures a presidential pardon to a man who claims to have information with regard to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017.
Angry protestors surround Justice Minister's car outside Parliament Protestors shouting 'corrupt, corrupt', and 'justice', surrounded Owen Bonnici's ministerial car as he tried to leave parliament
Protestors surrounded Owen Bonnici's ministerial car outside Parliament
Angry protestors surrounded Owen Bonnici's ministerial car as it tried to drive away from Parliament on Wednesday evening as an otherwise peaceful demonstration turned noisy and rough. Protestors were gathered outside Parliament after having attended a protest call by NGO Repubblika in the aftermath of Yorgen Fenech's arrest this morning. Protestors called for the removal of Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
But the noisy protest turned rough when the Justice Minister and Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia exited Parliament and entered a ministerial car. Protestors surrounded the vehicle and banged on it as police looked on, unable to control the angry crowd. Protest placards were placed on the vehicle, which was prevented from driving away. Protestors shouted "corrupt, corrupt", "mafia", "out", and called for justice to be served. After several intense minutes the car finally drove away. At one point former PN leader Simon Busuttil tried to pacify the crowd to allow the car free passage. A female police officer was injured after the car drove onto her leg in the midst of the melee.
New judge assigned to hear three ministers’ appeal
Tuesday, 19 November 2019,
Madam Justice Edwina Grima will be hearing the appeal filed by three ministers against a decision to open a magisterial inquiry into the Vitals deal after Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja abstained from hearing the case due to the ongoing judicial appointments case filed by Repubblika. Ministers Chris Cardona, Konrad Mizzi and Edward Scicluna had filed the appeal the day after Magistrate Doreen Clarke had confirmed that there were sufficient grounds for the inquiry to be held.
That appeal had originally been assigned to Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera who recused herself on the grounds that her brother, Environment Minister Jose’ Herrera was a colleague of the subjects. The case was then assigned to Mr Justice Bugeja who, in a decree delivered on Friday, also chose to recuse himself, making it clear that he was doing so due to the case filed by Repubblika, challenging the system of judicial appointments. Repubblika’s case, in which a reference was requested to the European Court of Justice, attacked the appointment of six members of the judiciary who were appointed in April. Mr. Justice Bugeja is one of them. Mr. Bugeja decreed that despite having nothing to do with the case, his recusal was required to have justice “seen to be done with utmost integrity, beyond any shadow of doubt and suspicions of impartiality, prejudices, favours or injustices.” The case continues.
Ihallina Joe Buttigieg Telfa kbira ghar Rahal tan-Nadur. PATRIJOTT KBIR NADURI Minn Mario Muscat
Joe Buttigirg kien wiehed min l-ewwel bandisti tal-banda Mnarja u kien membru tal-Kor tan-Nadur. Ghatieh O Mulej il mistrieh ta' dejjem.
Il-kawżi fil-Qorti t’Għawdex jinsabu fil-limbu – Said Minn Paul Cachia - 18 ta' Novembru 2019
Meta kien qed jitkellem waqt il-ħin tal-aġġornament, Said qal li l-kawżi tiegħu ġew diveriti mingħajr d-data u waqgħu fil-limbu. Huwa qal li l-bini tal-Qorti mhux aċċessibbli waqt li l-Ministru Justyne Caruana abbandunat l-pjanijiet tal-predeċessur tagħha u bl-ebda vot fil-baġit għas-sena d-dieħla.
Said qal li waqt li din il-ġimgħa l-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat se jkun qed jinawgura l-iskola medika ta’ Barts, minkejja li l-iskola nbniet mis-€70 miljun li ngħataw mill-Gvern, l-Malta Enterprise se tkun qed tħallas €1.5 miljun lill-istess Barts bħal kirja. Aktar minn hekk, Child Development Centre li nbena bi flus ta’ ECO-Għawdex ingħata lil Vitals biex jintuża’ bħala store issa sar parti mill-iskola ta’ Barts. Id-deputat Nazzjonalista qal li t-Turiżmu jagħmel 50 fil-mija tal-Gross Prodott Domestiku Għawdxi, darbtejn u nofs iktar mill-GPD ta’ Malta. Minkejja dan, il-Gvern irid jagħlaq l-fergħa tal-ITS f’Għawdex. Huwa qal li operaturi tas-Scuba Diving f’Għawdex raw tnaqqis ta’ bejn 25 u 30 fil-mija wara li l-istess operaturi stqarrew li l-ħut fil-baħar naqas minħabba abbużi u nuqqas ta’ infurzar. Huwa qal li t-tisbiħ tal-bajja ta’ Xlendi baqa’ fuq l-ixkaffa waqt li l-bajja ta’ San Blas meqjusa minn ħafna bħala l-isbaħ bajja f’Għawdex se jinqered b’mod naturali u mhu qed isir xejn biex tiġi salvata.
Finance Minister skips court but turns up in Parliament in the afternoon Edward Scicluna delivers 45-minute speech on money laundering
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna addressing Parliament on Monday eveningUpdated 6.15pm with Minister's afternoon appearance in Parliament
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna skipped a libel hearing on Monday morning because he was in hospital, according to his lawyer, but he surprisingly turned up in Parliament in the afternoon to open a debate on money laundering.
Lawyer Ivan Sammut told Magistrate Rachel Montebello at around 9.30am that the minister had been taken ill while abroad last week and had been admitted to Mater Dei Hospital for further treatment upon his return to Malta.
However, the 73-year-old turned up in Parliament to deliver a 45-minute introducing a debate on a series of amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which are meant to transpose the fifth anti-money laundering directive. Professor Scicluna was due to appear in court over libel proceedings he had filed against former opposition leader Simon Busuttil over a tweet about the minister’s involvement in the deal for the sale of three hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare.
Minister Scicluna had filed the libel suit in July, claiming that a tweet posted by Dr Busuttil over a magisterial decree green lighting an inquiry into the VGH hospitals deal, was defamatory in his regard. A day after the magistrate’s decision, Dr Busuttil had posted a message claiming that Minister Scicluna, as one of the three ministers to be targeted by the criminal inquiry, was to step aside “until he clears his name.”
"Such allegations are totally unfounded and are aimed at tarnishing the minister’s reputation," the ministry said in a statement that same evening, adding that Prof. Scicluna did not have any other option than to initiate legal proceedings for defamation to protect his integrity. No progress had been registered at the first hearing of the libel case last month, scheduled on the eve of the Budget speech, since the Minister had been unable to attend in view of his commitments in Parliament the following day. When the case was once again called on Monday morning, Minister Scicluna was once again absent. “Is he going to run away too!” quipped lawyer Peter Fenech, assisting Dr Busuttil, clearly referring to Keith Schembri’s withdrawal of his libel suit last week. Following Dr Sammut’s explanation that the minister was in hospital, Magistrate Montebello adjourned the hearing to January, stating clearly that if the minister failed to put forward his evidence at that date, the court would deem that he had no evidence. The case continues.
Hungarian man charged with raping girl at Dingli Cliffs Monday, 18 November 2019,
A man has been accused of raping a drunk girl at Dingli cliffs after meeting her at a party. 32 year-old Jozsef Laszlo Kota from Hungary appeared in the dock before magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit this morning, accused by Inspector Stacy Attard of the rape of a person who was unable to resist and committing non-consensual sexual acts. Laszlo Kota was also charged with dangerous driving, driving under the influence of drink or drugs and having the incorrect address on his identity documents.
The alleged sexual assault took place during the night between Friday and Saturday in Panoramika Street, Dingli, near Dingli cliffs, after the two met at a party. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyers, Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia requested bail. Prosecuting police inspector Stacy Attard said the attack had left the Maltese victim “incontinent with fear,” in her objections to bail. Debono argued that the accused did not even know the victim, much less intend to approach or intimidate her. “He got to know her on that night, he doesn’t know where she lives,” said the lawyer.
“We should not discriminate because he is a foreigner. He’s been in Malta for almost 4 years,” Debono argued. The Court, however, noting that the prime witness was still to testify, rejected bail until she could explain her version of events in the next sitting. The accused was remanded in custody.
Bus crashes into pole, palm trees in Floriana
Photo: Alessandro P Sud, Facebook
The driver of a bus which nearly overturned on Sunday after it crashed into a pole and climbed the central strip before crashing and pulling down a number of palm trees with the impact has been suspended.
The police said the accident happened in Triq Sant’Anna at 6am. Malta Public Transport said in a statement the driver was suspended following the initial findings of the investigation. It said there were no passengers on the bus when the accident happened. Its response team was immediately on site and an internal investigation is currently underway. The company regretted any inconvenience caused and thanked the respective authorities for their immediate response and assistance.
Guess who’s coming to lunch?
Pope hosts meal for 1,500 needy people By Reuters - November 17, 2019 3:11 PM
Pope Francis attends a lunch with the poor after celebrating a Mass marking the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of the Poor, in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, November 17, 2019. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
Pope Francis hosted 1,500 homeless and needy people for lunch on Sunday as the Roman Catholic Church marked its World Day of the Poor. The menu for all in the Vatican’s large audience hall, including the pope, was lasagne, chicken in cream of mushroom sauce, potatoes, sweets, fruit, and coffee.
The pope’s guests were brought to the Vatican by volunteers of charity groups who help them daily. All last week, a mobile clinic was set up in St. Peter’s Square where volunteer doctors have been giving the poor free specialist health care. General care is available year-round nearby, another of Francis’ initiatives.
Earlier, at a Mass for Rome’s needy in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said those better off should not feel “annoyed” by the poor but help them as much as possible. He said they should ask themselves: “Do I, a Christian, have at least one poor person as a friend?” Francis established the yearly worldwide Catholic observance of the day in 2016.
Filmat: ‘Is-silenzju u l-indifferenza huma l-alleati tal-korruzzjoni’ – Mark Anthony Sammut Minn Josianne Vella 16 ta' Novembru 2019
Fid-diskors tiegħu waqt il-protesta li saret is-Sibt filgħaxija Mark Anthony Sammut qal li ‘is-silenzju u l-indifferenza huma l-alleati tal-korruzzjoni.’
Minkejja t-temp kiesaħ madwar 6,000 persuna ngħaqdu fil-Belt Valletta jitolbu r-riżenja taċ-Chief of Staff tal-Prim Ministru Keith Schembri. Bil-bnadar u l-banners f’idejhom l-attivisti mxew tul Triq ir-Repubblika sal-Monument tal-Assedju fil-Belt Valletta. Aqra: 17 Black: Keith Schembri jirtira l-libell Din il-protesta ssejħet mill-għaqda mhux governattiva Repubblika u minn Occupy Justice, it-Tlieta li għadda wara li Keith Schembri rrifjuta li jixhed fil-kontro-eżami tal-libell li fetaħ hu stess kontra l-eks Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni u tal-Partit Nazzjonalista Simon Busuttil. Aqra: Waqqajt il-libell kontra qalbi – Schembri Din il-protesta kienet indirizzata mill-ġurnalist u blogger Manuel Delia, mill-istudenta u attivista Petra Caruana, mill-avukat Jacques Rene Zammit, mill-President tal-għaqda Repubblika Vicki Ann Cremona u mill-Inġinier Mark Anthony Sammut. Aqra: Protesta fil-Belt nhar is-Sibt Fid-diskors tiegħu Mark Anthony Sammut qal li l-ġlieda kontra l-korruzzjoni u l-mafja mhux qed tiġi miġġielda wara bibien magħluqin, fis-silenzju jew b’attenzjoni. Huwa enfasizza li s-silenzju u l-indifferenza huma l-alleati tal-korruzjoni u saħaq li din il-ġlieda għandha tiġi miġġielda quddiem kulħadd. Żied li dawk kollha ta’ rieda tajba għandhom jingħaqdu flimkien biex jiġġieldu l-korruzzjoni.
Saħaq li l-affarijiet jinbidlu jekk aktar nies ikomplu jingħaqdu flimkien għal din il-kawża. Sammut qal li wieħed għandu jinsa d-differenzi u jingħaqad flimkien biex din il-bidla sseħħ. Huwa fakkar lill-Membri Parlamentari, li se jkunu qed jivvutaw dwar il-fiduċja tagħhom fiċ-Chief of Staff tal-Prim Ministru, li huma qed jirrapreżentaw lill-poplu li wera fiduċja fihom. Sammut saħaq li fl-aħħar mill-aħħar il-Membri Parlamentari mhux qed jirrapreżentaw partit imma lill-poplu li eleġġihom. Fakkarhom li huma ħalfu li se jirrapreżentaw lir-Repubblika ta’ Malta u liċ-ċittadini.
Mark Anthony Sammut sa ftit xhur ilu kien jagħmel parti mill-Kumitat tal-Eżekuttiv tal-Partit Nazzjonalista qal li jifhem kemm hi diffiċli biex wieħed jagħmel id-dmirijiet tiegħu.
L-Avukat Jacques Rene Zammit waqt l-indirizz tiegħu lill-attivisti qal li s-sinjali kienu ilhom hemm għal ħafna żmien. Huwa rrimarka li l-istituzzjonijiet ddgħajfu, hemm nuqqas ta’ kontabbilità u t-tkissir gradwali tal-istat jistgħu jiġu spjegati bi frażi waħda bħal ‘tkissir tas-saltna tad-dritt’ li ma jistgħu xejn kontra mewġa fuq mewġa ta’ populiżmu u demagoġija.
Huwa tkellem dwar ix-xogħlijiet li għamlet il-ġurnalista assassinata Daphne Caruana Galizia u semma kif hija daħlet mewġa ġdida ta’ ġurnaliżmu investigattiv u ħadmet kontra l-korruzzjoni fl-Ewropa, fid-dinja u anke f’Malta.
Hanut gdid fin-Nadur - BAKERS SHOP
Hanut gdid fil-bidu ta' Triq it-Tigrija minn naha ta' Triq il-Knisja. Dan il-hanut li jifforma parti minn Mezzan Bakery Limited fetah il-bibien tieghu nhar it-Tnejn 11 ta' Novembru.
Protest: Repubblika did not invite PN, any political party, 'but will not oppose anyone who attends' By Kevin Schembri Orland Friday, 15 November 2019,
Repubblika will not be opposing anyone who comes to the protest against injustice on Saturday, whatever their political colour, the civil society organisation’s President Vicki Ann Cremona told The Malta Independent.
On Monday, the Office of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri dropped a libel case he had instituted against former PN leader Simon Busuttil in order to avoid answering questions on the infamous 17 Black. Schembri later said he had done so reluctantly, but insisted he was answering all questions put to him in a magisterial inquiry on the subject. An anti-corruption protest was organised by civil society NGOs Repubblika and Occupy Justice, and is on the same day as the monthly vigil to Daphne Caruana Galizia.
On Wednesday, the Nationalist Party issued a statement and said it will take part in a demonstration against corruption which is being organised by civil society groups Repubblika and Occupy Justice. A PN spokesperson told confirmed with this newsroom yesterday that Adrian Delia will be attending. Delia has not had the best of relationships with these NGOs in the past. The spokesperson said that he is not aware of there having been any communication between the PN and the civil society groups on the PN’s attendance.
President of Repubblika Vicki Ann Cremona, asked whether there had been any communication with the PN prior to the party announcing that it will be attending Saturday’s protest, and whether they are ok with the PN attending, said that Repubblika did not invite the PN or any political party to attend “but we are not going to oppose anybody who comes to protest against injustice whatever their political colour. There is a distinction to be made between political and politics. Wanting transparency is the right of every citizen, and every citizen who wants to protest in favour of transparency should do so irrespective of his or her political party. The issue of corruption is a national issue.
“That does not mean that we are going to allow anybody to take over the demonstration. People are allowed to come, this is a free country. Telling people not to come would impede on their freedom and you cannot do that. We are all there to fight corruption.” “We will speak out against corruption wherever that lies. We cannot tell people not to come, but when you come you are going to have to listen to what we have to say.”
She explained that for the protest, they will be remembering Daphne Caruana Galizia, marking 25 months since her assassination. “Daphne Caruana Galizia was the first person to alert us to the current corruption. Every month, on the day she dies, we hold a vigil in her memory to remind the courts and the authorities that justice has not yet been done.
“Coincidentally, this past week there was the Keith Schembri court case. A person who was asked to take the stand five times in a court case he instituted himself, and then ends up giving up the case instead of answering questions, whether he did so reluctantly or not, he did not testify. My personal suspicion is that he has something to hide. The fact that Keith Schembri did not answer in court leads to justified questions as to what he is hiding. And if he is hiding it then it cannot be something good.
“The fact is that this person has not testified and is under suspicion. He is the highest official within the Office of the Prime Minister. This isn’t any Tom, Dick, or Harry, saying he doesn’t want to be incriminated. The fact that you are a senior official at such a high level means that he needs to step away from his position until all the issues are cleared. “The role of the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff has to be transparent, but it is not right now as we do not know whether he is not testifying because he is guilty or for any other reason,” she said. “The point is that he has put the Prime Minister’s office, of which he is responsible, in a very opaque light when this should be the office that leads by example and is transparent. This, in addition to other issues, like his Panama companies and other issues leads to speculation, and people are justified in speculating.”
New members appointed to Daphne Caruana Galizia independent public inquiry
Friday, 15 November 2019,
Following various meetings held between representatives of the Government of Malta and the family of the late Daphne Caruana Galizia and their representatives, agreement was reached on changes to both the composition of the Board of Independent Public Inquiry and the terms of reference relative to the same Board, the government said in a statement. Mr Justice Emeritus Michael Mallia is retaining his post as Chairperson. Agreement was reached on Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro as the new members.
Professor Ian Refalo and Dr Anthony Abela Medici, who were nominated as members on the Board, retracted their acceptance to serve on the Board in view of this agreement. As a sign of goodwill during the talks, the relative oath requested by law prior to the commencement of the inquiry was not administered to any of the members of the Board. In light of the fact that Judge Abigail Lofaro is a sitting member of the Judiciary, consultations were held with the Chief Justice to mitigate any negative effect on the pending caseload of Judge Lofaro.
The terms of reference of the Board of Independent Public Inquiry have also been finetuned in the light of the discussions between the family Caruana Galizia and the government. The revised terms of reference are being published with this statement. The government would like to extend its gratitude to Professor Ian Refalo and Dr Abela Medici for their readiness to be of service, as well as Judges Mallia, Said Pullicino and Lofaro for the work which they have accepted to undertake. Meetings leading to this agreement were attended by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government and the Attorney General from the government’s side, and Dr Joseph Zammit Maempel, Dr Therese Comodini Cachia and members of the Caruana Galizia family.
The Caruana Galizia family had raised objections to the presence of both Refalo and Abela Medici, arguing that a proper inquiry demands that the board’s wider members have no financial or political links to the current political administration. Refalo has acted as a lawyer for the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) and has also represented Allied Newspapers Ltd former managing director Adrian Hillman, whom Caruana Galizia wrote about extensively in the Panama Papers leak. Abela Medici’s role was also questioned due to his lack of expertise in the area and his links to the executive by virtue of his government-appointed role as NGO Commissioner.
Steward Health Care b’telf ta’ $600 miljun f’sentejn – rapporti Minn Joseph Giordimaina
14 ta' Novembru 2019
Steward Health Care, il-kumpanija li tmexxi tliet sptarijiet f’Malta u Għawdex allegament irreġistrat telf ta’ $600 miljun (€543m) tul dawn l-aħħar sentejn. Dan skont rapporti fil-midja Amerikana.
Steward Health Care topera total ta’ 37 sptar, bl-isptarijiet Maltin l-unika investiment li għamlu barra l-Istati Uniti. F’Malta, hija tmexxi l-Isptarijiet Karin Grech, San Luqa, u l-Isptar Ġenerali ta’ Għawdex.
Skont l-informazzjoni finanzjarja ppreżentata fiċ-Ċentru għall-Informazzjoni u Analiżi tas-Saħħa f’Massachusetts, il-kumpanija rreġistrat telf ta’ $322 miljun f’2017, u $270 miljun f’2018.
510 educators among Gozitans who were stranded in Malta due to Tuesday’s rough seas By Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 14 November 2019,
510 educators were among the Gozitans stranded in Malta overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, the Gozo Ministry told The Malta Independent. Strong winds and rough seas led the Gozo Channel to announce at 1.20pm on Tuesday that all ferry services were suspended. This mean that all Maltese in Gozo and Gozitans in Malta were, essentially, stranded.
Later on Tuesday, the Gozo ministry began working to negotiate preferential accommodation rates at hotels for the Gozitans stranded in Malta, asking those who went to the hotels to hold on to their receipts. After managing to find accommodation for all Gozitans stranded, the ministry then began working to negotiate preferential accommodation rates for the Maltese stranded in Gozo.
This newsroom sent a number of question to the Gozo Ministry, asking among other things, for further information as to how many people were found rooms; whether the people themselves would need to pay anything, whether this was the first time such a move was made by the government and why it chose this year to start, and for the total cost for the government of this measure.
The ministry said: “For the very first time, the Ministry for Gozo offered accommodation to both Gozitans and Maltese who were left stranded due to severe weather conditions and couldn't return home. We are aware that there were around 510 educator stranded in Malta. Later today (Wednesday), the Ministry for Gozo will be launching an application for those who benefited from the preferential rates negotiated by the ministry to apply for financial assistance to cover costs.” From the answer given it does not seem like the ministry knew at that stage, the exact number of people who were stranded, or how much the move was going to cost the government.
The Malta Independent had reported that in 2017, there were just under 3,500 commuter workers between the two islands, who were predominantly Gozo and Comino residents working in the Malta region.. The strong winds and rough seas that battered the Maltese islands on Tuesday had left some localities, like Xlendi, flooded, and had even caused Electrogas to have the Delimara LNG tanker moved 70 metres off the jetty.
Indeed the bad weather also saw Nationalist Party spokesman Chris Said suggest that Gozitan workers who were trapped in Malta on Tuesday should be given an additional day of leave over and above their yearly allotment, and that the government should then compensate private entities who offer this extra day of leave to their Gozitan workers.
Gozitans fear second Nadur road will soon collapse
By Shona Berger Wednesday, 13 November 2019,
There are fears that a second road in Nadur is about the give way, weeks after one road on the perimeter of the locality was closed off until repairs are carried out.
Photos doing the rounds on social media indicate that part of Kenuna Road, which overlooks the valley, is showing similar cracks as the ones which were posted in September with regard to Ghajn Qasab Street.
The photos were posted on the ‘It-toroq t’Ghawdex’ Facebook page, with Gozitans saying that the matter should be addressed urgently before the damage - and danger of collapse - grows. They hope that the ministry will react in the same manner as it did in September, when Ghajn Qasab Road was immediately closed off when the reports surfaced and work to repair the road started a few days later.
On Tuesday, part of another road in Nadur collapsed as Gozo was hit by bad weather. Triq il-Madonna ta’ Fatima (below) partially gave in after a wall collapsed under heavy flooding. Nadur’s mayor Edward Said posted photos on Facebook, saying that the Gozo Ministry had undertaken the task to rebuild this road.
Click on photo to enlarge.
PN files parliamentary motion calling for Keith Schembri's dismissal
Wednesday, 13 November 2019,
Nationalist Party Leader Adrian Delia, on behalf of the entire PN Parliamentary Group, has filed a parliamentary motion calling on the Prime Minister to sack his chief of staff, Keith Schembri. The PN is requesting that the motion be debated with urgency. On Monday, Schembri dropped a libel case he had instituted against former PN leader Simon Busuttil in order to avoid answering questions on the infamous 17 Black. Schembri later said he had done so reluctantly, but insisted he was answering all questions put to him in a magisterial inquiry on the subject.
The company, which belongs to Yorgen Fenech, is one of the main shareholders of the Delimara power station. The PN motion notes that Schembri has dropped a case he had instituted against Busuttil over allegations of corruption made by the latter. It says Schembri has made numerous attempts to avoid testifying in his own court case, despite his earlier declarations that he would use the process to clear his name.
It also notes that Schembri is named in emails "that clearly indicate that he was to receive money from 17 Black and MacBridge through his secret Panama and New Zealand companies", and that Schembri had admitted that these two companies formed part of his business plan. The motion notes that, despite having many opportunities to do so, Schembri has never explained his actions in view of these "worrying facts" - a shortcoming that makes his position as head of the Prime Minister's staff "absolutely untenable." It also notes that on Monday the Opposition asked the PM to immediately dismiss Schembri but the PM refused to do so. The PN, in its motion, said Schembri's actions do not only go against the Code of Ethics for public service employees but are also in breach of the principles and standards that Parliament adopted in the Act on Standards in Public Life. In a true democracy, such actions carry political responsibilities, it said. The House of Representatives requires that the Prime Minister shoulders the political responsibility and immediately sack Keith Schembri from his post as a senior government official. The motion was signed by Adrian Delia, and Deputy Leaders David Agius and Robert Arrigo on behalf of the entire Parliamentary Group.
PL statement Reacting, the Labour Party said Delia's motion is built solely on the argument that he wants someone removed just because that person withdrew a libel case. With the same reasoning, the motion also applies to Delia, "because no one has dropped as many libels as he did." The only difference, it said, is that in other cases there are ongoing magisterial inquiries while there is no such thing in the case of Delia because he was too scared to go to a magistrate. It accused him of "giving in to Busuttil's faction", saying that, because he has not yet started to lead, he is letting others lead him into attacking himself, while thinking that he is attacking the government.
Nadurin visit Canon Dun Anton Meilak
Recently a group of Nadurin went to visit Can. Anton Meilak at the elderly home in Malta.
Photo by Mario Muscat.
Ferries to Gozo, Sicily cancelled due to adverse weather conditions By Monique Agius - November 12, 2019
Both the Gozo Channel and Virtù Ferries have suspended their services due to adverse weather conditions. In a Facebook post, Virtù Ferries announced that MV Saint John Paul II will not operate on Wednesday 13 November due to bad weather conditions. The company announced that extra voyages will be organised for Thursday, instead.
The schedule for Thursday is as follows: VR100 Departing from Malta at 05:00 hrs arriving in Pozzallo 06:45 hrs (scheduled) VR111 Departing from Pozzallo 09:15 hrs arriving in Malta 11:00 hrs (extra) VR110 Departing from Malta 17:00 hrs arriving in Pozzallo 18:45 hrs (extra) VR101 Departing from Pozzallo 21:30 hrs arriving in Malta 23:15 hrs (scheduled)
Gozo Channel announces suspension of service due to bad weather The ferry service between Malta and Gozo has been suspended due to bad weather conditions, Gozo Channel announced in a Facebook status. The ferry service was suspended around noon on Tuesday. In its post, the Gozo Channel which operates the ferry service between Malta and Gozo has been suspended until further notice. Adding that the crew operated all scheduled trips throughout the night between Monday and Tuesday, as well as the scheduled trips on Tuesday morning, braving Gale Force Winds.
Meanwhile, Opposition MP and shadow minister for Gozo Chris Said published a video on Facebook showing a ferry sailing through the bad weather. Said who is in favour of a permanent link between the two islands, reminded that Gozitans are forced to face such situations on days like these. The Nationalist MP remarked that without a doubt no one would cross to the sister island on holiday during a storm, however, Gozitans would need to come to Malta out of necessity such as in the case of a medical appointment, work, study or to take a flight.
Stranded Gozitans offered discounted hotel rooms, as tunnel arguments rage
The suspended ferry service led to a raging discussion about the merits of a Gozo-Malta tunnel. Photo: ShutterstockInfrastructure Malta will be issuing a call for tender for the Malta-Gozo tunnel within the next few weeks, Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg said on Tuesday. He made his announcement as Gozo Channel suspended the ferry service because of rough weather, and an argument ensued on social media over whether a Malta-Gozo tunnel is really necessary.
Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana, meanwhile, said that her ministry had made arrangements with several hotels who could house Gozitans stranded in Malta - although no mention was made about Maltese who were stranded in Gozo.
Tunnel tussleEarlier in the day, the shadow minister for Gozo, Chris Said, uploaded a video of a Gozo ferry navigating the choppy seas across the channel before the service was suspended. It was the first time this year that the service was suspended. Vessels had continued to operate throughout February's fierce storm.
“There is no doubt that no one is going to travel to Gozo on holiday today. However, whether they like it or not Gozitans have to make the crossing to Malta because they may have a hospital appointment, work, exams, or may have to catch a flight,” he said. The suspension of the service, he said, meant that hundreds of Gozitans working in Malta could not return home, including many who were stranded on a ferry at Cirkewwa.
Dr Borg in a reaction, said he couldn’t agree more, but then asked whether he could leave it up to Dr Said to convince PN leader Adrian Delia about the need for a tunnel. It seemed, the minister said, that Dr Delia had had a change of heart about the tunnel after having backed it in parliament before the May MEP elections. "This government is consistent and in the coming weeks, Infrastructure Malta will issue an international call for those interested in building and operating the tunnel," the minister said. The minister was repeating a commitment about the tenders which he had made in December. His reference to Dr Delia came in the wake of reports on One News about the PN leader being undecided over whether Malta needed and could afford the tunnel, especially after the recent introduction of the fourth ferry. Dr Said, in turn, appealed to Dr Borg not to create a political football out of an issue that was so important to Gozitans and their future. He called on Infrastructure Minister to complete and publish its studies on the project and for the government to explain the project to the people. He also pointed out that it was the PN government, through his prompting, which launched this project nine years ago. Citizens have their sayBoth Gozo Channel's announcement of a suspension of service and the exchanges between the minister and Dr Said drew a flurry of arguments.
One reader pointed out in a Times of Malta comment how this was the first time in many months that crossings had been suspended. But did this justify spending a billion euro on such a project? Another, writing on Dr Borg's Facebook post, said a proper survey should be held of whether the people felt this project was justified. Many questioned how so much was being said about the tunnel, when the state of the roads in Gozo was a sham. Several Gozitans backed the project, saying days like Tuesday's justified it. Inevitably, there were a couple of jokes about expansion joints under the seabed.
“La żammejt Chief of Staff korrott inti korrott bħalu” – Busuttil lill-PM Minn Charmaine Attard - 12 ta' Novembru 2019
Simon Busuttil, l-eks kap tal-Partit Nazzjonalista, f’diskors fil-Parlament qal li la l-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat żamm maċ-Chief of Staff korrott, allura hu korrott bħalu. Filmat: Mhux se nkeċċi lil Schembri – Muscat Meta kien qed jitkellem waqt il-ħin tal-aġġornament, Busuttil żied jgħid li la l-Prim Ministru ilu jaħbi u jiddefendi lil Keith Schembri allura jqum is-suspett li huwa kompliċi ma’ Schembri li kien se jixxaħħam €5,000 kuljum mill-kumpanija 17 Black ta’ Yorgen Fenech u mill-kumpanija Macbridge li għadu mhux magħruf ta’ min hi. Busuttil kompla jgħid li Schembri jaf ta’ min hi Macbridge u li allura l-PM kieku jrid, jista’ jsir jaf ta’ min hi. Huwa qal li lbieraħ, ic-Chief of Staff tal-Prim Ministru rrifjuta ħames darbiet l-ordni tal-Qorti biex iwieġeb għax beża’, u biex ma jintbagħatx il-ħabs ċeda l-armi u waqqa’ l-kawża. 17 Black: Keith Schembri jirtira l-libell Id-deputat Nazzjonalista qal li kieku dan kollu ġara fi kwalunkwe pajjiż tal-Unjoni Ewropea, kieku waqa’ l-Gvern, ġie arrestat iċ-Chief of Staff u ġie interrogat il-Prim Ministru fuq kompliċità talli ilu jiddefendih dan iż-żmien kollu. Waqqajt il-libell kontra qalbi – Schembri “Allura d-domanda toħroġ weħidha: Għaliex f’Malta le?” staqsa Busuttil. Huwa qal li dak li ġara lbieraħ fil-qorti kien straordinarju u qatt ma esperjenzah f’20 sena li ilu fil-ħajja pubblika. Huwa fakkar kif tliet snin u nofs ilu, il-ġurnalista assassinata Daphne Caruana Galizia kixfet li ċ-Chief of Staff u l-Ministru Konrad Mizzi li kienu fetħu kumpanija sigrieta fil-Panama. “Dan kollu kien wassal biex tissejjaħ dimostrazzjoni l-Belt li fiha jien kont nissilt il-famużi kliem ‘barra, barra’ biex nagħmel referenza għal fatt li kieku kien iċ-Chief of Staff tiegħi kont inkeċċih immedjatament,” spjega Busuttil. Dan wassal biex fl-1 ta’ April 2016, Keith Schembri kien fetaħ libell kontra Busuttil. Huwa qal li issa li Schembri rtira l-libell, sinjal li dak li qal fuqu, jiġiferi li hu korrott, hu veru. Huwa qal li Schembri dam sena u nofs biex jitla’ jixhed u meta fl-2017 tela’ jixhed kien propju dakinhar li nqaltet Caruana Galizia, fis-16 ta’ Ottubru. Busuttil qal li fl-aħħar blogg tagħha, Daphne tellgħet blogg propju fuq ix-xhieda ta’ Keith Schembri fejn qalet “that crook was in court today pleading that he is not a crook” Busuttil qal li ftit tal-minuti wara, Daphne ħarġet mid-dar biex tmur il-bank għax flusha kienu ffriżati minn Chris Cardona, u nqatlet. “L-assassinju tagħha bidel il-karattru ta’ Malta u tad-demokrazija Maltija, l-affarijiet tbiddlu minn dakinhar,” stqarr Busuttil. Id-deputat Nazzjonalista qal li Schembri kien mitlub biex jitla’ jwieġeb iżda dam sentejn biex jitla’ għall-kontro-eżami. “Hu tela’ għax il-qorti ordnatlu jitla’ bilfors,” insista Busuttil. Simon Busuttil qal li l-qorti aġixxiet b’serjetà kbira u nsistiet li tkompli tisma’ l-kawża. Keith Schembri pprova jwaqqaf il-kawża għax qal li jekk iwieġeb jinkrimina lilu nnifsu. “Sinjal allura li għandu għaliex jinkrimina lilu nnifsu,” kompla jinsisti Busuttil. Huwa qal li r-reazzjoni ta’ Muscat tal-bieraħ kienet suspettuża. “Il-Prim Ministru infixel meta staqsewh ta’ min hi l-kumpanija McBridge. Il-Prim Ministru gideb meta qal li ma jafx ta’ min hi McBridge. Il-Prim Ministru żelaq ukoll meta kien mistoqsi meta ltaqa’ ma’ Yurgen Fenech. Hawn il-Prim Ministru nfixel għax hemm xi ħaġa tinten u qal li ilu xi sena jew sentejn li ltaqa’ ma’ Yurgen Fenech,” qal Busuttil. Id-deputat Nazzjonalista appella lin-nies biex ma jaqtgħux qalbhom u qal li Daphne kellha l-kuraġġ li tiġġieled il-korruzzjoni.”Lil Daphne qatluha iżda l-verità li kixfet rebħet. Il-verità telgħet f’wiċċ l-ilma; se nibqgħu niġġieldu għall-verità,” temm jgħid Busuttil. Schembri għandu jitkeċċa – Delia Filmat: Ian Borg ilaqlaq dwar Keith Schembri
The Most Respected Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul. Grand Chapter of Malta. Address: December 13 Street. Nadur, Gozo. 22 September, 2019
Congratulations to our Members in Malta for doing such a great job in helping the poor in Peru. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli Grand Master CKSPP
The mission of the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul is to help the poor and the sick
Feast of St. Padre Pio Sunday 15 September, 2019
The feast of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was held today by the Italian community at Ta' Pinu Shrine in Bacchus Marsh, Melbourne. The Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul was invited to take part in the celebration.
HELPING THE POOR IN PERU
Yesterday Bishop Giovanni Cefai a missionary priest in Peru celebrated Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul in Nadur. After the Mass the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter and St. Paul donated money to his mission. Thanks to the Supreme Council of the Confraternity in Melbourne and the Grand Chapter of Nadur for the money. Thanks also to Mons. Jimmy Xerri Parish Priest of Nadur for his support.
This was the second time that the Confraternity donated money to missions in Peru in the last couple of months.
God bless His Excellency Bishop Giovanni Cefai for his work to help the poor and the sick.
God bless the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter and St. Paul. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli Grand Master CKSPP
Dahlet Qorrot Bay from Sopu Tower in San Blas Nadur, Gozo. Malta.
Nadur Bailica Church from San Blas
Sopu Tower built in 1667 by the Knights of Malta
Sopu Tower is situated on the cliffs between St. Blas and Dahlet Qorrot bays in Nadur.
Black statue of St. Peter on the throne
I saw this statue while visiting the church of St Anselm and St Cecilia Roman Catholic church in Kingsway, Holborn, London.
Just like the one in Rome and Nadur.
CONFRATERNITY OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL Nadur. Gozo. A meeting of the Confraternity was held in the Nadur Council Board Room on Monday 24th June where two newly Knights were appointed by Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli Grand Master CKSPP of the Confraternity of the Knights of St Peter and Paul. These are Chev Joe M. Attard of Rabat Gozo and Chev Joe Meilaq. Congratulations. Photos Copyright Carmel Saliba 24.6.19.
After the meeting of the Confraternity of the Knights of St Peter and Paul we attended for the 25th Anniversary Mass of Fr Raymond Portelli at Nadur Basilica. Donations to Fr Raymond were presented to be used in his mission in Peru. Congratulations to Fr Raymond. Photos Copyright Carmel Saliba 24.6.19.