Former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar said Thursday he was ‘surprised’ when the government suspended his contract as consultant on public safety and 'hurt' when it terminated it.

Cutajar was made a government consultant within hours of stepping down as police chief in January. His contract was suspended after Times of Malta reported how recordings led investigators to fear that he may have leaked information about the pending arrest of Melvin Theuma, the self-confessed middleman in the Daphne Caruana murder plot. Cutajar denied the claims.

The contract was terminated last week.

“I was surprised when the contract was suspended. That was the same day that Melvin Theuma said in court that he did not know me and had not spoken to me,” Cutajar told Saviour Balzan when interviewed on the TVM programme Xtra.

And, Cutajar added, he was hurt when the contract was terminated last week “on the basis of what somebody told somebody else”. (The conversation, mentioned in court, was between Johann Cremona, a business associate of Yorgen Fenech, and Theuma.) Cutajar said Theuma might have been bluffing to give the impression he knew many people.

The government announced it was terminating the contract after a magistrate ordered the revelations in court to be investigated by the police.

Asked if, in his view, Theuma had known that he would be arrested, Cutajar said that as far as he was concerned, Theuma did not know.

“Would he have left the money there had he known he was being arrested, for money laundering” he asked. 

The raid and arrest of Melvin Theuma had achieved its purpose, with the police retrieving recordings and cash, he said.

Asked whether he had sought the government consultancy job, or whether it was offered to him, Cutajar said it was offered to him in view of his 41 years of experience in the police, including 35 years of police duties in the community.

Asked if the arrest of Yorgen Fenech, the admissions by Melvin Theuma and the arrest of the three suspected triggermen meant that the Caruana Galizia case had been wrapped up, Cutajar said he would only comment that investigations were continuing.

He said several times that the name of former chief of staff Keith Schembri never cropped up in the investigations. 

He also said he had had confidence in the original chief investigator, Silvio Valletta, confidence which was borne out by the arrest and arraignment of three men just two months after the car bomb murder. 

Asked about the demonstrations held against him outside police headquarters and elsewhere, Cutajar said his only fear had been that somebody could get hurt, and he repeatedly warned the police not to act without orders. 
 

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