The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri is no stranger to controversy. The recent drop of the defamation case against former opposition leader, Dr Simon Busuttil has raised several eyebrows with many fresh allegations of corruption. The reason why Keith Schembri has dropped this case is due to questioning about 17 Black, a controversial offshore company which is associated with one of the country’s biggest scandals. It is believed that transactions between 17 Black and Keith Schembri’s offshore Panama company were expected, hence establishing reasonable suspicion.
Many now argue that the fact that Keith Schembri has dropped this case is an automatic admission of guilt and he indeed has a lot to hide. In this regard, many are now asking for Keith Schembri’s resignation from his public position and the Prime Minister to shoulder responsibility. It is also reported that opinions within the Labour party cabinet are split, with some expecting Keith Schembri to shoulder responsibility, whilst others keep defending his stance.
The former Nationalist party leader, Dr Simon Busuttil stated that Keith Schembri received bribes through these companies. The amount quoted by the former PN leader goes into the millions.
During the enquiry, Keith Schembri was reluctant to discuss 17 Black, with magistrate Victor Axiak denying his request to be exempt from testifying about the company. It was argued by his lawyer Pawlu Lia that Keith Schembri was advised not to answer questions pertaining to 17 Black since they had nothing to do with the case.
During proceedings, the opposing lawyer’s questions directed to Keith Schembri were ignored as he refused to answer. He was reprimanded by the court as he was warned that sanctions would apply, leading him to withdraw the defamation suit.
Following these developments, Dr Simon Busuttil was quick to state that the resignations of the Prime Minister and his Chief of Staff need to take place immediately. Busuttil argued that Schembri’s withdrawal from this case reflects that his accusations way back in 2016 were true. The overall message made by Busuttil is that Schembri is corrupt. To add insult to injury, Busuttil said that Schembri had the opportunity to prove that the statements made about him were mistaken and incorrect, instead he decided to flee.
Busuttil’s argument was also echoed by the Nationalist party, which stated that Keith Schembri should either resign or be terminated from his employment.
What is your view on the Schembri situation? Should he resign or be allowed to continue on in public office?
What is Keith Schembri’s next move? – Part 2
Since our last article, a few weeks have passed. Keith Schembri dropped a court case against Simon Busuttil when mention of 17 Black was made. This was met with controversy as many interpreted this as a manoeuvre to hide illicit wrongdoing. Although Keith Schembri still remains one of the most controversial persons in the country, the ball game has changed.
In the past few weeks, progress was made in the Daphne Caruana Galizia case. A middleman was apprehended and handed over to the authorities. Upon indication that the middleman was just that, he revealed that he can expose the true mastermind behind the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination. The middleman, Melvin Theuma, was given a presidential pardon relieving him of all consequences of previous crimes to reveal the mastermind. It transpired that the now ex Chief Executive Officer of Tumas Group, Yorgen Fenech, is the alleged mastermind in the assassination.
It was claimed that Yorgen Fenech had engaged Melvin Theuma to hire the assassins to execute the murder. So you would ask, what has Keith Schembri got to do with all this? Yorgen Fenech was involved in the Electrogas project, together with Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi!
As the court proceedings progressed, a lot of information was revealed, together with some very interesting allegations. Yorgen Fenech has stated that Keith Schembri is implicated in the murder and should be investigated. Once this was made public, Keith Schembri had resigned from his post as Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister.
It is also important to mention that Yorgen Fenech went on to state that the current lead investigator Keith Arnaud did not investigate Keith Schembri properly, due to a conflict of interest.
Although these recent revelations are still in a very premature stage, things indeed seem suspicious. Recent reports have highlighted a long-term friendship between Yorgen Fenech and Keith Schembri. Some reports have indicated that Yorgen Fenech paid for Keith Schembri’s medical treatment.
Over the past days, Keith Schembri was summoned to court for questioning. This also came with a certain drama, as at first he was nowhere to be found and an arrest warrant was issued by the court. Eventually, he made his way to court, amidst suspicions that he had fled the country.
To make things worse, it is also alleged that Yorgen Fenech was kept informed about the murder investigations by Keith Schembri. Keith Schembri has also denied requests by the police to gain access to his email and cloud accounts due to sensitive information. Oh, and did we mention? He also lost his phone! A series of unfortunate events indeed!
What do you make of all this? Let us know in the comments section.