Prosecute Keith Schembri for breaching the Official Secrets and Secret Services Acts

13 April 2024

The Malta Police Force has just eight months left to act on a criminal complaint Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family filed on 16 December 2019 and bring charges against Keith Schembri for breaching the Official Secrets Act and Secret Services Act.

When Yorgen Fenech 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” – according to an audio recording of Fenech speaking that was seized by the police, as well as decrees by four different magistrates.

Using his power 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.

Schembri’s leaks to Fenech, including information on progress made against the hitmen and bomb suppliers, delayed Fenech’s identification as the prime murder suspect. After Fenech was identified, Schembri informed him that his personal mobile number was tapped, delaying Fenech’s arrest for Daphne’s murder.

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 multiple attempts to help Fenech evade arrest ultimately failed – Fenech stands charged with complicity in Daphne’s assassination, and his requests for a presidential pardon were rejected.

As the court stated in the judgement against Fenech this week, there are 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.