Keith Schembri’s old mobile number popped back up on the grid on Monday afternoon, around the time that Prime Minister Robert Abela was sworn in.
Mr Schembri appears to be using a new mobile phone and a new SIM card attached to his old Vodafone number.
Joseph Muscat’s former chief of staff told investigators that he lost his mobile when questioned by police in relation to journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder in November.
Prior to his arrest, Mr Schembri held a late-night meeting with former prime minister Joseph Muscat.
Times of Malta revealed last week that Mr Schembri’s phone went offline around an hour and a half before his arrest.
Police sources said the phone appeared to have last been used for internet data. The last phone call was made the previous evening on November 25.
According to investigators, Mr Schembri communicated with murder suspect Yorgen Fenech using the secure messaging platform Signal.
At the time of Mr Schembri’s 48-hour police questioning, Times of Malta had reported that an analysis of Mr Fenech’s phone data had revealed that one of the last calls Mr Fenech made before he sailed out of Portomaso marina aboard his yacht in a failed escape attempt was to Mr Schembri.
On Monday, Signal users received a notification that Mr Schembri’s old number had been newly registered on the secure platform.
This indicates that Mr Schembri likely unregistered or deleted his Signal account prior to ‘losing’ his mobile.
Mr Schembri has spent much of his time since his resignation ensconced in his Mellieha villa.
He has been using a new mobile phone and number which was only given out to a few trusted associates.
Neville Gafa, a confidante of Mr Schembri, is suspected to have been acting as a messenger for the former chief of staff.
Mr Gafa', together with Mr Schembri’s former private secretary Kenneth Azzopardi, were both seen inside Castille on Monday applauding Dr Muscat during his final send-off as prime minister.
Questions about whether the pair are still on the public payroll remain unanswered.
Mr Gafa was later spotted at Dr Abela’s swearing-in ceremony.
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