[WATCH] Will PM make Schembri resign? ‘Today, that’s not a consideration I can make’

‘So far, no politicians are linked to Caruana Galizia murder’, PM says after confirming Electrogas and 17 Black owner Yorgen Fenech is ‘a person of interest’ for police in Caruana Galizia murder investigation

Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat gave comments to the press shortly after the arrest of Yorgen Fenech
Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat gave comments to the press shortly after the arrest of Yorgen Fenech
Will PM make Schembri resign? ‘Today, that’s not a consideration I can make’

Yorgen Fenech has been described as a “person of interest” in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

In his first comments after Fenech was stopped from leaving Malta aboard his yacht, Muscat said he was not privy as to why the police are holding Fenech.

However, he insisted that after his comments yesterday on the possibility of granting a pardon to an alleged middleman in the Caruana Galizia murder, the police were given additional resources to ensure persons who may be of interest to the investigation do not flee Malta.

Fenech’s yacht was intercepted by Armed Forces of Malta patrol boats this morning as it left the Portomaso yacht marina. The yacht was escorted back to its moorings and Fenech is understood to be in police custody.

Muscat said he had to be very cautious what he says so as not to prejudice investigations. However, he hinted there may be other persons of interest under police surveillance.

Asked whether Fenech’s arrest should lead to the resignations of Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi – both had business links with him through 17 Black, which was listed as a target client for their Panama companies – Muscat said that was a consideration to be made “after all facts emerge”.

“Today, that is not a consideration I can make,” Muscat said.

When asked about the political ramifications of Fenech’s arrest, given the Mizzi-Schembri business link to him, the Prime Minister said there were other politicians who may have business link with Fenech both in the past and present, across the political divide.

However, Muscat insisted that so far, investigators have informed him that no politicians were linked in some way or another with Caruana Galizia’s murder.

“When I spoke yesterday my words could have alerted people of interest and that is why the police were immediately given additional resources and ordered to keep a look out so that no one could leave Malta,” Muscat said, adding that this morning’s developments were a sign that the country’s institutions were working.

“I said I will leave no stone unturned two years ago and that is what I am doing… I want to say much more but I have kept it inside me and will continue doing so until investigators have the necessary proof that will lead to a conviction,” Muscat said.

Repubblika protest

The NGO Repubblika said it will hold a protest outside the Office of the Prime Minister tonight at 6pm to demand MPs remove Joseph Muscat from the post of prime minister.

The NGO, which has led vigils for Daphne Caruana Galizia, said Muscat should have fired Schembri and Mizzi back in February 2016 at the outbreak of the Panama Papers.

“Joseph Muscat should have fired Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi on the spot in February 2016. He didn’t. He protected them instead and still is, even after Keith Schembri withdrew his court case this week. In doing so Joseph Muscat created the state of impunity – the Mafia State – that not only allowed a corrupt contract to be awarded, but led to the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Joseph Muscat is accountable for what he himself described as ‘an assault on our democracy’. Now he must leave.”

If he doesn’t he must be fired. His party, his parliamentary group, Parliament have the power and the duty to have him removed if he does not go of his own free will.