Polonium plot: Police could be close to identifying Jomic Calleja target

Police approached by two persons, with information that could shed light upon identity of person for whom bomb may have been intended

Jomic Calleja has a lengthy history of criminal offences
Jomic Calleja has a lengthy history of criminal offences

Police investigating the case of Jomic Calleja Maatouk, accused of trying to import explosives and polonium as part of a targeted assassination plot, have made progress in identifying the intended target.

The court hearing the compilation of evidence against Calleja Maatouk was told the police had been approached by two persons just last week, one of whom claimed to have information that could possibly shed light upon the identity of the person for whom the bomb may have been intended.

34-year-old Calleja Maatouk from Zebbug stands charged with attempting to import C4 as well as lethal poisons which he allegedly purchased from a seller on the dark web.

Maltese police had started investigating the case after receiving information from foreign security services about the intended delivery of the materials to a Maltese purchaser.

The explosives had been switched with an inert substance before the parcel was sent on to its addressee, a Maltese resident designated as “Roger Tabone”.

As the sitting got underway this morning, an official from Identity Malta confirmed under oath that a search for “Roger Tabone” in the agency’s public registry had turned up nothing.

Carmel Grech, the accused’s father, also testified, explaining that he used to pay a bill for a mobile phone number registered in his name but used by his son.

Later, when shown a document about the lease of a Qormi showroom, the man denied that the signature next to his identity card number on that agreement, was his. He insisted on this, despite being warned by the magistrate of the consequences of perjury.

“Other witnesses have said that you were present at the showroom. What were you doing there?” Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech asked, warning that she would appoint a handwriting expert to verify whether the signature at issue was genuine.

The man explained that he sometimes used to visit the Qormi property because of his son, explaining that the place had belonged to “two persons” and that the lease had expired around six months ago.

The court appointed a handwriting expert to establish whether the signature on the document was genuine.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech also declared she would issue a decree on a fresh bail request from chambers. It was at that stage that the prosecution informed the court of the new witnesses coming forward and the fact that one of them might be able to give information on the “identity of the person for whom the bomb may have been intended.”

The case continues next week. Superintendent George Cremona and Inspector Omar Zammit are prosecuting.  Lawyer Benjamin Valenzia is defence counsel.

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