Former OPM chief Keith Schembri has written to the police commissioner asking to speak to the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation team.
In a brief letter sent to Angelo Gafà last week, Schembri’s lawyers say their client wants to answer questions the investigating officers may have and to “clarify any pending matters” in the hope he no longer be considered a person of interest in the murder case.
Schembri, once the right-hand man of former prime minister Joseph Muscat, was arrested and taken in for questioning in November.
At the time he had just been named as a co-conspirator in the 2017 assassination by Yorgen Fenech, the businessman who stands charged with ordering the car bombing.
Schembri had resigned as Muscat’s chief of staff shortly before being called in by police in connection with the murder.
Critics have repeatedly asked why Schembri has not yet been arrested and arraigned after Fenech named him in connection with the murder. Schembri has also faced accusations that he tried to obstruct justice as revelations of his proximity with the businessman emerged.
Signed by lawyer Edward Gatt and Mark Vassallo, Schembri’s letter says he has already answered several questions put to him by police before a magistrate and even a judge.
“During these sessions, the police officers concerned have always declared that in the case of the homicide, our client remains a person of interest, and this because they still had further questions and clarifications to make,” the letter reads.
Schembri says he has been asking to be approached by police since January “to clarify any pending matters immediately”.
He also argues that due to this delay, some “especially those that could truly be involved in this case” were benefitting.
“Our client’s name in the media raises a lot of unjust speculation in his regard, and as a consequence, this undue interest on our client is leaving others ‘in the shade’,” the letter reads.
Meanwhile, Times of Malta is informed there has been some activity in the murder probe in recent weeks, with sources saying the developments in the case are linked to new evidence in the form of previously unheard audio recordings taken by murder middleman turned state witness Melvin Theuma.
The change in pace also comes after the newly-appointed police commissioner reviewed the case’s progress after taking over the helm of the force in June.
On Friday, police called in the former prime minister for questioning by the homicide inspectors leading the case.
The line of questioning was mostly related to a statement by Fenech last year as Muscat insisted police later told reporters he is not a murder suspect.
Fenech told investigators after his November 2019 arrest that Muscat had asked him whether Schembri had featured in recordings secretly taken by Theuma.
The murder suspect claims he assured the then prime minister that he was doing his best to protect Schembri. Muscat vehemently denied the claims.
Contacts in the police have described the questioning of the former PM as “a stunt” intended to massage public opinion over a stagnant investigation since Fenech’s November 2019 arrest.
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