[BREAKING] Keith Schembri resigns, taken in for questioning at police headquarters

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has confirmed that Keith Schembri, his chief of staff, has resigned

Keith Schembri has resigned
Keith Schembri has resigned

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has confirmed that his chief of staff Keith Schembri has resigned.

Schembri was on Tuesday morning taken in for questioning at the police headquarters.

Muscat told reporters this morning that he had held an open meeting for all MPs to express their views on Monday, and that he had recieved a unanimous vote of confidence in a secret ballot.

“I had various discussions with Keith Schembri, and he said he would be resigning in the day. I thank him for the contribution he gave… he had a crucial role, and I thank him for shouldering this burden.”

Muscat said his new chief of staff will be Mark Farrugia.

“I take responsibility for the fact that I have kept him as chief of staff, yes.. he has now decided to move on. It’ a conversation we’ve had for some time… he had signalled to me that it was  matter of time.”

Asked whether he regretted not probing the 17 Black allegations, Muscat shrugged off the questions: “I am criticised for acting like an ‘investigator’… there is an independent probe that has started already… I never turned a blind eye, and what is happening now and last week, with the operation leading to, hopefully, solve the assassination, shows the institutions are working.”

Muscat said he would not step back, and said he would not seek re-election beyond his second term. “My role now is to navigate this time in the best possible manner.”

 “I will keep on taking decisions that I must take for the sake of the country. This country needs stability, and all decisions I will take in the hours and weeks to come must be taken for the sake of the country, to ensure this stability.”

The police have interrogated more people linked to the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder, the police corps said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

Investigations into the murder are ongoing and on Monday, the alleged middleman in the murder, Melvin Theuma, was granted a presidential pardon to tell all.

In a short statement the police said that over the last hours, more people were interrogated as part of the murder investigation.

Meanwhile, Net News has reported that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri was in a late-night meeting with Joseph Muscat at his boss’s house in Burmarrad.

Pressure has been growing on the Prime Minister to cut loose Schembri and minister Konrad Mizzi, who had secretive business links with Yorgen Fenech, who is being interrogated as part of the murder investigation.

READ ALSO: Joseph Muscat calls a confidence vote among his MPs and wins it

Fenech has been in police custody since last Wednesday, being released on police bail twice for a few hours. His third 48-hour time window under arrest expires later in the afternoon.

Police will have to charge Fenech in court or release him again on police bail.

Fenech is believed to have also asked for a presidential pardon.

Three men - George Degiorgio, Alfred Degiorgio and Vince Muscat - were charged with the journalist's murder and are awaiting trial. But the arrest of the middleman has led police to come closer to finding out who the mastermind is.