Last updated 12.15pm

The state has failed in its duty of protection for the most important witness in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case, and the home affairs minister should shoulder political responsibility, the PN said on Wednesday morning.

It was referring to Melvin Theuma, who suffered serious knife wounds at his home late on Tuesday. The police said that the wounds were self-inflicted.

PN shadow ministers Jason Azzopardi, Beppe Fenech Adami and Karol Aquilina said in a statement that the fact that Theuma was in critical condition showed that the state had failed to protect him.

“The latest developments confirm, once more, how criminality had taken over the institutions and is doing what it pleases. The government does not have the will or the moral authority to fight crime,” they said. 

They said Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri should consider his responsibilities and resign.  

The statement was issued hours after opposition leader Adrian Delia in a video message early on Wednesday warned against speculation.

Delia said the development was worrying, and he was calling on people not to reach early conclusions but to be cautious and prudent.

The country needed to come together to ensure that criminals did not hold sway, he said.  

Delia said he had called a meeting of his parliamentary group to discuss the tragic and dramatic development because the national interest came first. 

MP Therese Comodini Cachia, who is also legally representing the Caruana Galizia family, said it is up to the PN to clean up the network of criminality.

Labour hits out at shadow ministers’ statement

The Labour Party said the statement by the shadow ministers ignored the facts of the case established so far.

Instead, the MPs were trying to make allegations without substantiating them.

“Calling for the resignation of a minister is nothing more than a typical statement coming from people whose interest is not the pursuit of truth or justice, but political opportunism,” the party said.

It said the government will be letting the investigations run smoothly.

Repubblika: We’ve had enough of the mafia

In a statement on Wednesday, rule of law group Repubblika did not specifically refer to Melvin Theuma but said the country had had enough and the mafia should not be allowed to control the country.

It reiterated its call for a Joint Investigating Team formed of Europol and the Malta police to investigate the Caruana Galizia murder and other ‘mafia’ cases.

“We know our country’s history. We had Nardu Debono who was killed, with the police claiming he had fled police headquarters, we had Wilfred Cardona who was killed, with the police saying he banged his head on a table because of family issues; we had Lino Cauchi who was killed not to reveal corruption, according to his family; we had the mysterious death of Ġanni Psaila, which the police said took place during a burglary.

“We also had the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

The group said it did not want any more murders and it was determined to continue to seek justice. 

In a second statement after a press conference by the police commissioner, Repubblika raised further questions about the case. 

“The incident happened just after the court had ordered the terms of Melvyn Theuma’s pardon to be revealed. It also happened just before Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers were about to question him in court about a tape that he had never mentioned, where it is suggested that former Police Commissioner Lawrence
Cutajar took a bribe of €30,000 to push for a pardon for Theuma. So who was to gain most from Melvyn Theuma’s suicide? Did he decide to commit suicide, or could there also be the possibility that he was pressured to do it?” the group asked.

“The alleged attempted suicide also begs the question: is the witness’s lawyer the only person available to provide moral and psychological support to a state witness? Theuma’s recent testimony in court about his life finishing with Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death and other statements, may have indicated
some form of psychological stress. Has a psychiatric team ever been detailed to him?”

The group asked what security is being provided for the judges, lawyers, police, witnesses on this case.

“Although we found today’s press conference informative, it will take much more for us to overcome our scepticism over the conduct of the police in this case.
Our Malta Police is certainly conscious of the fact that it has a grim record in cases like these, having failed so miserably in the past to keep key people alive. Despite Police Commissioner Gafà’s explanation that Europol itself does not want to proceed to a Joint Investigative team, we maintain that the corruption allegations emerging from the testimonies go well beyond national interest, and
so our plea for a joint investigative team remains. Morever, could there not be collaboration with a single country, such as asking for help from Italian expert anti-mafia investigators, given the mafialike deals that are slowly emerging?”

Police ‘need to establish the facts quickly’ 

Alternattiva Demokratika and Partit Demokratika in a joint statement said the case is ‘highly disturbing’.

“We need clarity. We call on the police to establish the full facts as quickly as possible and identify the circumstances that allowed such an incident to happen. We reiterate the call that the police need the support of the international investigative authorities at this stage, including a Joint Investigative Team with Europol and continued involvement of the FBI,” the parties said.



Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.