Charge Keith Schembri with breaching Official Secrets and Secret Services Acts, Daphne Foundation says

Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation highlights that the police have only 8 months left before the offences are time-barred.

Former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri (left) and pentito middleman Melvin Theuma
Former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri (left) and pentito middleman Melvin Theuma

The Malta Police Force has just eight months left to charge Keith Schembri for disclosing official secrets to the man indicted for commissioning the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, before the offences are time-barred. 

In a statement issued on Saturday the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation said that the police were yet to take action on the criminal complaint filed by Daphne’s family on 16 December 2019 and file charges against Keith Schembri for breaching both the Official Secrets Act and Secret Services Act. 

An audio recording of Fenech describing how, when Yorgen Fenech had told Schembri, after Daphne’s assassination, that he had commissioned her murder, Schembri “went cold” (“kesaħ”) and told Fenech “you should have come to me before you did what you did,” was amongst the many exhibits seized by the police, and referred to in decrees issued by four different magistrates. 

Using his position as the Prime Minister’s chief of staff to acquire confidential information from the murder investigation, Schembri “began leaking the information to Fenech “within a week” of Daphne’s death, doing so “continually” and “in real time” for more than two years, according to Fenech’s sworn testimony,” the statement reads.

Schembri’s leaks to Fenech, which included information about the progress of the investigation against the hitmen and bomb suppliers, had delayed Fenech’s identification as the prime murder suspect. 

After Fenech was identified, Schembri had informed the then suspect that his personal mobile number was being tapped, delaying Fenech’s arrest for Daphne’s murder, said the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation. 

“Schembri tried to help Fenech, the man he described in court as a “childhood friend” and who Fenech claimed would “step into the fire” for him, to get away with murder. Fenech had asked Schembri about Melvin Theuma's presidential pardon before it was granted and had even asked to see its draft terms. It was Fenech himself who drew the attention of the police to a photo of the draft terms of Theuma’s pardon on his mobile phone, claiming that Schembri had sent it to him.” 

Schembri’s efforts to help Fenech evade arrest had ultimately failed and Fenech now stands indicted for complicity in Daphne’s assassination, his requests for a presidential pardon rejected. 

The Foundation pointed out that Mr. Justice Lawrence Mintoff had stated earlier this week, in his judgement deciding one of the many cases filed by Fenech, that there were clear indications as to who is responsible for the leaks from the investigation into Daphne’s murder and enough evidence to arraign those responsible for the crime. 

“Each of Schembri’s attempts to help Fenech evade justice represents a criminal breach of Malta’s Official Secrets Act and Secret Services Act that carries a severe prison term. The Police must act on the abundance of evidence in its possession now. The 4-year prescriptive period on the criminal complaint filed by Daphne’s family expires in December this year, “ the statement concludes.