Court none the wiser on Melvin Theuma’s ghost job after witness testifies

Live-blog from the Malta courts where alleged Caruana Galizia assassination mastermind Yorgen Fenech is asking for removal of lead investigator in murder case 

Middleman: Melvin Theuma
Middleman: Melvin Theuma

A judge has heard how a magisterial inquiry and separate police investigation are underway into Melvin Theuma’s “ghost job” with the government but remains none the wiser as to its progress.

Judge Lawrence Mintoff heard a number of witnesses in the Constitutional case filed by alleged murderer Yorgen Fenech against the Attorney General in which he is demanding the removal of lead investigator Keith Arnaud from the case.

Things got off to a rocky start this morning with Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Abdilla being unable to turn up, due to “other commitments.” State Advocate Victoria Buttigieg said that someone from his office would replace him on the stand today. Inspector Nicholas Vella appeared in his stead.

Vella, who has been in the police’s anti-money laundering unit for over three years was asked about Melvin Theuma’s job. Theuma had been given a job at the Social Solidarity Ministry, with the Housing Maintenance and Embellishment Company, before the murder and was paid for several months despite never turning up.

At this stage, the Magisterial Inquiry and separate police investigation were underway, Vella said. State Advocate Victoria Buttigieg asked about leaked briefings from Castille. Two police inspectors had been investigating the leaks, Vella replied; Yvonne Farrugia and Sean Friggieri. He had no information as to what stage they had reached, he said.

Cross-examined by lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran, Vella said he didn’t know whether Yorgen Fenech had been informed about this lack of progress.

This morning the defence confirmed in court that they had no further questions for Inspector Keith Arnaud.

Peter Caruana Galizia took the stand last today. He was asked about his family's relationship with Keith Arnaud. The person who had formally informed him of the death of his wife was Inspector Kurt Zahra who worked with Arnaud, he said. “I had asked him whether she had died and he had said yes.”

Caruana Galizia said the family had always had a good relationship with Arnaud and Zahra, who had visited their house and had many long chats.

Cross-examined by Caruana Curran, the widower confirmed that before the 2003 election “he [Arnaud] had come to arrest my wife… but today we see the irony.” Caruana Curran asks a question about the fact that Arnaud was not based at the Mosta police station but CID at the time but is overruled as it was not deemed relevant to the case.

09:32 Sitting has ended. Matthew Vella
09:31 Further cross-examination is reserved. Continues on 6 March at 11:45am. Matthew Vella
09:30 Caruana Curran asks a question about the fact that Arnaud was not based at the Mosta police station (the police station closest to Bidnija where the assassination took place) but at the CID at the time, but is overruled as it is not relevant to the case. Matthew Vella
09:29 Cross-examined: “In 2003 [2013] he had come to arrest my wife, but today we see the irony,” Caruana Galizia says of the time during the election where Daphne Caruana Galizia had breached the day of silence limitations on electoral canvassing. Matthew Vella
09:28 Asked about his family’s relationship with Keith Arnaud, Caruana Galizia said the person who told him about the death of his wife was Kurt Zahra who worked with him. “I had asked whether she had died and he had said yes. We always had a good relationship with Arnaud and Zahra. He’s been to my house and we had many long chats… like a two-hour chat.” Matthew Vella
09:25 Peter Caruana Galizia is on the stand. Matthew Vella
09:25 The sitting has resumed. Matthew Vella
09:22

State Advocate Victoria Buttigieg said that inspector Ian Abdilla couldn’t make it today, so someone from his office would replace him on the stand today.

Inspector Nicholas Vella has taken the witness stand. Vella had been in the anti money laundering squad for three and a half years. He was asked about Melvin Theuma’s ghost job. At this stage an inquiry and police investigation underway.

She asked about leaked briefings from Castille. Two police inspectors had been investigating the leaks. No information on investigation so far.

Cross-examined by Gianluca Caruana Curran for Fenech, he said he didn’t know whether Yorgen Fenech had been informed.

Defence said they had no further questions for Arnaud.

Peter Caruana Galizia was summoned to the stand but was in another courtroom. The court will retire for 15 minutes.

Matthew Vella

Earlier 

Yorgen Fenech filed a constitutional application where he is labelling Keith Arnaud’s investigation into Keith Schembri’s possible role in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination as having been ‘careless, approximative if not amateurish.”

In an application filed on Friday at the First Hall of the Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction, Fenech is saying that during Arnaud’s testimony during the compilation of evidence against him (Fenech), facts which were very relevant to the case had emerged which Arnaud had no knowledge about before.

“…This shows the careless, approximative if not amateurish way in which the investigations concerning Keith Schembri were undertaken,” Fenech said in an application filed by his lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Marion Camilleri.

 

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