Two brothers, under preventive custody over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, had sent a message to the middleman, asking him to help them obtain a medical cannabis licence. 

The fresh snippet of information emerged on Friday when the middleman himself, Melvin Theuma, was being cross examined by lawyer Jason Azzopardi in compilation proceedings against Alfred and George Degiorgio who, together with Vincent Muscat, are facing prosecution for having allegedly planted the bomb that killed the journalist outside her home in October 2017.

Theuma had been given a presidential pardon in return for evidence about the murder.

In a four-hour long sitting, Theuma faced a barrage of questions by lawyers on either side of the case who zeroed in on gifts allegedly received by the middleman who had always insisted that “he got nothing” out of the murder affair, but had rather forked money out of his own pockets.

Theuma explained he had received a Rolex watch from Yorgen Fenech, the business tycoon currently accused with complicity in the assassination and the man who allegedly first hatched the plot to kill the journalist, some three weeks before the 2017 general election. 

Besides that Rolex watch, the businessman had also gifted Theuma with another watch, which the middleman sold for some €13,500 as well as gold items sold for “some €100,000”.

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“He did so to keep me quiet,” the middleman explained under close questioning. 
He also explained how brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio had sent him a message via their brother Mario to help them obtain a medical cannabis licence.

The brothers had allegedly instructed him to go in search of “Mario who worked with [Minister Chris] Cardona” at a San Ġwann shop and to speak to him about this matter. The reason behind the request is not known. 

Replying to a question by parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi, Theuma denied knowledge about Alfred Degiorgio’s daughter landing a job at Minister’s Cardona ministry in the summer of 2017. 

He was pressed by lawyer William Cuschieri to explain the personal payments and gifts to the Degiorgios, including a dog costing €5,000 for Mario Degiorgio, especially since he claimed to have been working at a loss.

Questions also focused on a visit the middleman had once got from Kenneth Camilleri, who was engaged with the Office of the Prime Minister and Johann Cremona, involved in business with Fenech.

He recalled Camilleri had made a phone call and then came back with the promise of bail “on the 22nd” and “one million euros each” for the three alleged murderers. 

On that occasion, Theuma had concluded that Camilleri had called Keith Schembri, the former OPM chief of staff.

Yorgen Fenech had subsequently told the middleman that his friend “Keith” had indeed sent Camilleri and Cremona with the promise of bail and that this was to help out Fenech.

“So did Keith Schembri know of the middleman?" came Azzopardi’s next question.

“I don’t know what he knew. But later, Yorgen told me Keith Schembri had sent them. So automatically that is what that means.

“If he lied, then I lied too,” Theuma said, insisting that he had felt “betrayed” ever since learning that Vince Muscat was speaking about the case with the police. 

“That was when I decided to record Fenech,” he explained.

Theuma said he was being pressured by Mario Degiorgio - the brother of the Degiorgios - to secure bail for his brothers.

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit presided over the compilation. Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra prosecuted. Lawyer Marc Sant represented Vincent Muscat while William Cuschieri appeared for the Degiorgio brothers.

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