Zammit Lewis chatted with Yorgen Fenech during 17 Black fall-out in 2019

Friendly WhatsApp chat between Labour minister and alleged Caruana Galizia murder mastermind from 2019

Justice minister Edward Zammit Lewis at the PBS studios for the BA press conference. Photo: James Bianchi
Justice minister Edward Zammit Lewis at the PBS studios for the BA press conference. Photo: James Bianchi

Chats between the alleged murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech and justice minister Edward Zammit Lewis show Zammit Lewis appearing to disparagingly describe Labour voters as “Ġaħan Laburist”.

Caruana Galizia family lawyer and Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi had hinted at the chats in Parliament last month, but stopped short of naming the minister.

Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers have accused Azzopardi of quoting verbatim from the chats in Parliament, allegedly in breach of a court order banning the leaking of Yorgen Fenech’s chats.

The chats

The conversation which started in January 2019 begins with a series of messages to Fenech from Zammit Lewis reading “Hello friend,” followed by “All OK?”

“I’m proud to know you,” Zammit Lewis says on 10 April 2019, followed by a “Good morning friend,” from the minister the next day.

In a soliloquy dated 15 April, the minister says “Wow, I have never been so humiliated. We speak of rough leaders. That I take to breakfast in politics. Don’t worry (ma gara xejn). History will judge me.”

Fenech replied later that night, saying “I don’t believe there is material.”

Zammit Lewis returned with an “hux hekk. Kids and poses. Political competence zero. But [that’s] what the stupid Laburist wants, someone to serve him..”

“Fucked politics,” replies Fenech.

The minister then asks whether Fenech is ok.

On 4 August 2019, Fenech sends Zammit Lewis, “I give you a hug and wish you the best my friend, I loved it so much, to which the minister replies “you always believed in me.”

“It’s not as if I wasn’t right” Fenech says. “Don’t look at that fool (tarax dak il-laqx)” “Running around with the GM.”

“That’s strange (tajba din),” replies Zammit Lewis. “You show that you are well, honestly.”

Zammit Lewis in inquiry

Edward Zammit Lewis dined, chatted and even went on a boat trip with Yorgen Fenech but this was done “in good faith”, the justice minister had testified the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry.

He also said that was incredulous when it emerged that Fenech was involved in the murder of the journalist. “I had always communicated with him [Yorgen Fenech] in good faith… I never discussed the case with him,” he told the inquiry.

Zammit Lewis said he had eaten out with Fenech, but not often. “These took place in public places in good faith. If I had any reservations I wouldn't have gone,” he added. He said that in these meetings he would not ask about the Panama Papers and 17 Black, despite the issues bothering him.

Asked why he remained in contact with Fenech after finding out about his involvement with 17 Black, Zammit Lewis said at no time did he feel that he was being prejudiced in his parliamentary work.

“I was a lawyer and was working as a lawyer again. Whenever I felt that someone could prejudice my work, I cut off contact. I receive hundreds of WhatsApp messages every day starting at 6am or 7am,” Zammit Lewis said, alluding to exchanges he had with Fenech.

Asked by lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia whether the messages with Fenech were simply tourism related or of a friendly nature, he replied: “There were some messages that were friendship-related.