Keith Schembri’s mobile phone went off the network around an hour and a half before he was arrested in late November.

Investigators have established that Mr Schembri’s personal iPhone had likely been switched off at around 5am on November 26.

He was hauled in for questioning in relation to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia just after 6.30 that same morning.

At the time, the prime minister's former chief of staff said he had “lost” his phone, a claim that has not gone down well with investigators who said they found thishard to believe.

Sources said investigators had obtained phone data from the local service providers to establish when and where the mobile phone had last appeared on the island’s telecommunications network.

It has not been switched on again since it went ‘dark’ more than six weeks ago.

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.

The sources said that mobile phones would need to be switched on for officers
to locate it, however, it had never been switched on since.

The police are still trying to establish the possibility of cloning the phone.

The sources said the police were also reviewing the data collected from the
devices of all those charged as well as potential suspects, including Mr
Schembri’s laptop, which had been taken by investigators from his home.

Questions to the police communications office were not replied to by the time of
going to print. Mr Schembri also declined to comment when contacted.

Mr Schembri’s personal mobile phone is of particular interest to the authorities as it is believed to contain intimate correspondence between him and businessman

Yorgen Fenech stands accused of having commissioned the assassination of Ms Caruana Galizia.

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 botched escape attempt was to Mr Schembri.

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