There is no basis for the chief homicide inspector, Keith Arnaud, to be removed from heading the investigation of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Malta Police Force said in a statement on Thursday. 

It was reacting to a letter received by Police Commissioner Laurence Cutajar earlier in the day from Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers. They claimed that he had a conflict of interest as he was continuously keeping Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri informed with developments in the case and which, in turn, were being passed on to Mr Fenech. 

Mr Fenech’s lawyers also claimed that Mr Schembri had helped Inspector Arnaud’s wife land a job at Infrastructure Malta in January. 

They also claimed that Mr Arnaud’s name was mentioned in the recordings which the police had in hand. They said Mr Schembri was tipped off about the arrest of the Degiorgio brothers and their client had been warned by Mr Arnaud not to implicate Mr Schembri in the murder plot. This, they said, constituted a human right breach.

But in a statement, the police said the investigation was taking so long because of the nature of the probe and the complexity of the case being investigated.

The police were collecting all possible evidence, investigating every allegation being made and double-checking the various versions given for the truth to emerge. 

The statement said the inquiring magistrate was being kept informed about all developments. 

With regard to the claims made about Inspector Arnaud, the police said there was no basis for him to be removed, given the results achieved so far in the investigation which he had led since the beginning with the help of Europol, that were actively involved in the investigation. 

Meanwhile, Infrastructure Malta denied that there had been any favouritism in the employment of the mentioned person. It said in a statement she sat for an exam and had been offered the job along with another person who, however, did not take up employment. 

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