Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech accused as the mastermind behind the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2018, testified that Keith Schembri, the former Chief of Staff at the Office of the Maltese Prime Minister activated the Daphne murder plan. Fenech also told the Police that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat knew about all this.
The court today heard shocking testimony in the murder of Caruana Galizia. Accused Yorgen Fenech’s statements to the police cause a furore in court. Police Inspector Kurt Zahra said that Yorgen Fenech told the Police that it was Keith Schembri who told him to get the job done as soon as possible. He continued to explain that Fenech had said that the plan was originally not his idea but alledged it was Keith Schembri who asked him to find someone to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia. Zahra also said that Fenech told the Police that apart from Schembri there were four others who knew about all this; amongst them former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
During the interrogations, Yorgen Fenech also claimed that Keith Schembri started giving direct and indirect messages that Daphne Caruana Galizia should be killed, back in 2014. During that time, Keith Schembri used to visit Fenech to see how he could eliminate Daphne Caruana Galizia. It was revealed that Schembri had discussed the murder with Yorgen Fenech during a dinner at Fenech’s ?ebbu? residence. Melvin Theuma, the middleman in Caruana Galiziàs assassination and who was given a presidential pardon was present for this meeting.
According to Police Inspector Zahra, Fenech had told the Police that Schembri used to pressure him to finance the assassination. Yorgen Fenech had to pay 120,000, according to what Theuma had informed him which later increased to 150,000 euros. Kurt Zahra also said that Fenech mentioned how Keith Schembri passed on to him around 85,000 euros to give them to Theuma. When Schembri knew about Theumàs plan he told Yorgen Fenech to get it done. “Do it, Do it, Do it”.
During one of the interrogations, Yorgen Fenech told the Police that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had asked him twice on this case – once he summoned him to Castille and asked him if he trusted Melvin Theuma. During this meeting Keith Schembri was present. The second time Muscat asked Fenech was during the birthday party organised at Girgenti, the official summer residence of the Prime Minister. Fenech had also claimed that at Girgenti, former Prime Minister Muscat informed him that Melvin Theuma will be raided by the Police in June 2019.
When asked if he had the intention to escape, Yorgen Fenech told the police that he would have done so at least two days earlier his arrest when he went to Gozo and when Schembri called him and allegedly told him “We will miss you.” On 20 November 2019 , the Armed Forces of Malta arrested Fenech on board his yacht after it was intercepted as it left Portomaso marina. Meanwhile, the Police confirmed that the investigations on Keith Schembri are not over yet.
Police in Malta have arrested an Albanian with criminal record in connection with a double murder of a gay couple which occurred last week in Sliema. The arrest of Daniel Muka, 30, considered by the local police as a very dangerous criminal, took place after an intensive search was carried out in a private residence in Floriana this afternoon, few meters away from the Police Headquarters. The police fired around seven warning shots before entered the residence and inside found the Albanian who some years ago was involved in a robbery at a jeweller’s shop.
The Police are also holding under custody at least another Maltese man who allegedly assisted the main suspects to hide after the murder. Two other persons involved in the case are still being searched.
The weapon allegedly used in the double murder has been found in the same building and is in police possession.
Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela took to Twitter to congratulate the officers involved in the raid, stating that their breakthrough proved that the police force is made of “hard-working officers who strive to serve and protect our people.”
Christian Pandolfino, a 58-year-old doctor turned investment banker and Ivor Maciejowski, a 30-year-old British national and art dealer, had been killed in their home in Sliema on 18 August. The aggressors have spent just four minutes inside the house, firing six shots in the process. One of the victims was found on the first floor of the premises while the other was found on the second floor.
The getaway vehicle used in the murder was found in the multi-storey carpark next to St Lukès Hospital yesterday, and the discovery appears to have helped the police in their investigations. The car had been reported stolen two years ago, and it was bearing number plates stolen recently from another vehicle.
Malta has registered its tenth death related to coronavirus. The Health Ministry said that a 72-year-old man who was tested positive on August 14, died on Friday. The elderly man was suffering from other health conditions. The ninth coronavirus related death was registered last May, when a 68-year-old man died at Mater Dei Hospital.
During the last 24 hours, 36 new Covid-19 cases were recorded bringing the total number of active cases to 682 while 854 have recovered. The Superintendent of Public Health Professor Charmaine Gauci has urged the public to continue exercising caution. She also said that as from midnight travellers arriving Malta from high risk countries – Bulgaria, Romania and Spain need to provide the COVID-19 test result.
Meanwhile, the first cruise ship since March 2020 has entered the port of Valletta. The MSC Grandiosa is operating under a strict and comprehensive health and safety protocol that applies equally both on land and at sea. MSC Cruises is the first of the major cruise operators to return with port calls. The company restarted its operations earlier this week with MSC Grandiosa sailing from Genoa on a 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise; including Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo before reaching Malta. For this initial phase, the ship is sailing with a maximum occupancy rate of 70 percent, allowing for 10 square meters of space per passenger and guests on board are residents coming Schengen countries. Guests will only go ashore through booked excursions and have to go through universal health screening, which includes three stages.
Stephen Xuereb, CEO of Valletta Cruise Port and COO of Global Ports Holding commented, “we are excited to welcoming MSC Grandiosa back to Valletta. The safety and well-being of guests, personnel and the local community is our upmost priority. In the last months together with the local health and tourism authorities and the cruise lines, we have been busy working on protocols that ensure a safe, secure and seamless experience for our guests. Valletta Cruise Port has been awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council’s ‘Safe Travel’ stamp which recognises the adoption of health and hygiene global standardised protocols.”
The Police in Malta are expected to interrogate former Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in connection to the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The interrogation will take place at the Police Headquarters in Floriana.
The former Maltese Prime Minister will be interrogated about claims made by Yorgen Fenech, the Maltese businessman and the mastermind behind Caruana Galiziàs assassination. According to these claims, Muscat has asked Fenech whether his Chief of Staff Keith Schembri was mentioned in the recordings made by Melvin Theuma, the man who was granted a presidential pardon to tell all about Daphne Caruana Galiziàs murder.
MaltaToday is reporting that Fenech told police that in 2019 there were two occasions when he discussed Melvin Theuma with Joseph Muscat. The first occasion was at Muscat’s birthday party which was held in the Prime Minister’s official summer residence in Girgenti and the second time during a meeting with Muscat and Schembri at the Office of the Prime Minister in Valletta.
Malta is dealing with a record number of cases of Covid-19. Overnight, Malta has registered another 69 new COVID-19 cases, and with a record 72 cases reported on Saturday and 63 others on Sunday, this means that the last three days have each seen more Covid-19 cases reported in Malta than any other day since the start of the pandemic.
The total number of active cases has now reached 607. The 69 new cases bring the total number of Covid-19 cases reported in Malta up to 1,375, with 759 patients making a recovery. The pandemic has claimed 9 lives.
Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne annunced further restrictive measures to control the transmission of COVID-19.
As from next Wednesday; clubs, nightclubs, discos and bars will be closed. Bars will be permitted only where they form part of a restaurant complex. In these cases, only dining patrons will be served. Boat parties will be banned as from Wednesday too.
Groups will be limited to under 15 persons and groups of more persons will be breaking the law. Masks will now become obligatory together with social distancing and sanitizing will be obligatory in all closed public spaces and where social distancing will not be possible. Fines will be applicable. In private cars, masks are not obligatory if a person is on his own. Masks are obligatory in public transport.
Weddings will be limited to ‘restaurant rules’ with regards to distancing and serving of food. This will be applicable as from the 28th August. All weddings guest need to be seated.
The new measures follow a meeting which was held on Sunday afternoon between the Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela and the Minister of Health.
Malta has registered 63 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday with the number of active cases is now 537. On Saturday, Malta reported 72 cases of coronavirus – the highest single-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic.
11 patients have made a recovery overnight. A total of 2,142 swab tests have been carried out in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number up to 156,664. To date, Malta has registered 1,306 coronavirus cases and a total of 749 patients have recoverd.
Partit Demokratiku is insisting that Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli has no option but to resign immediately, holding her responsible for the bad handling of the Covid-19 crisis which has led various countries to restrict travel to Malta. However the Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela defended Tourism Minister from calls for her resignation, saying that she followed the law. Tourism Minister Farrugia Portelli has yet to comment on the action taken against the country. Abela said that Farrugia Portelli and the government had been acting in line with the directives of the health authorities and declared that Malta could not close attractions which drew tourists.
Meanwhile, British low-cost airline EasyJet has cancelled all package holidays to Malta until the end of August and the airline will review all flights to Malta scheduled for next month. The company is offering its customers to cancel their flights to Malta. EayJet will issue a voucher which can be used in the future.
Coronavirus cases in Malta continued to surge with 31 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours. Malta has 505 active cases, 299 were registered during the last week while 54 patients have recovered, 44 of them are migrants.
While addressing a press conference this afternoon, the Superintendent of Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, said that one of the five patients at the Infectious Disease Unit, is in unstable condition and another three patients are in intensive care.
Malta has banned all mass events, and that there could only be one person for every 4 metres squared. This has been extended to bars, nightclubs and discos. There is also a capping on the amount of people.
Meanwhile, Malta is increasingly being considered as an unsafe destination in view of its COVID-19. Travellers from Malta to UK will be forced to quarantine for 14 days and Denmark has banned all non-essential travel to Malta. The Danish travel company FolkeFerie, which runs the Mellieha Holiday Centre popularly referred to as the Danish Village, has informed its clients that all upcoming holidays to Malta have had to be cancelled. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia are requesting a 2-week quarantine on arrivals from Malta. Such a quarantine is recommended, though not mandated, in Belgium and the Netherlands. All arrivals are to be tested in Italy, with some Italian regions imposing a quarantine over and above this requirement.
The COVID-19 situation in Malta has deteriorated significantly leading to a sudden and sharp increase in number of positive cases. The Maltese government announced that the total number of active cases stands at 486; 49 cases were confirmed during the last 24 hours. Since last March, 1,190 cases have been registered. 40 patients who have tested positive for coronavirus are receiving treatment in various hospitals, and a person who is in critical condition is now receiving intensive care.
Among the newly registered cases, six cases have been linked to Mount Carmel Hospital where patients with mental heath problems receive treatment. Four more cases are linked to the Jurassic Park film crew and three cases are linked to the Balzan Football club.
The local health authorities said that contact tracing is still underway for the rest of the 36 cases. Mount Carmel Hospital has suspended its visiting hours with immediate effect. Balzan FC confirmed that it is in contact with all the relevant authorities and is putting all the required precautionary measures in place. This will include a temporary halt to squad training, until all players and officials are tested and cleared for the virus. Sta Venera Lightnings had announced that a player forming part of their first-team squad had tested positive while Tarxien Rainbows said that a member of their U-17 squad also had COVID-19. Local reports confirmed that on Wednesday evening the Malta Football Association Council will meet to take a decisive position to ensure health and safety issues. The national football leagues are expected to start next month.
Waterpolo is also being affected by positive cases of coronavirus. The national association announced that the game between Saint Julians and Birzebbuga was cancelled after it emerged that one of the players was confirmed positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile several Italian regions also imposed restrictions on people travelling from Malta in the last few days. One of the latest regions which has introduced restrictions on arrivals from neighbouring Malta is Sicily. The neighbouring region is imposing a two week quarantine and a mandatory swab test. The restrictions which will come in to effect as from August 14, were published in a legal notice signed by governor Nello Musumeci.
Passengers arriving in Belgium and the Netherlands from Malta are encouraged to self-quarantine and undertake a COVID-19 test as a precautionary measure against virus-spreading.
So far, the Malta Tourism Authority has conducted over 500 inspections at various establishments and at organised events that included weddings, a sporting event and cultural events. 12 establishments were found in breach of COVID-19 protocols and will be subject to further legal action.
The second wave of Covid 19 has commenced in Malta. Only today, Malta has registered 49 new cases of COVID-19, the second highest number of positive patients confirmed in four months, since April, 7. The total number of active cases is now 311. So far, Malta has reported 995 cases of Covid-19, with 675 patients making a recovery. However, the pandemic has also claimed 9 lives.
Associations and unions representing the medical professions are expecting that such high and drastic number of Covid-19 cases to continue to be registered for a number of weeks. The numbers of Covid-19 cases had increased by over 150% in one day reaching a new record level of local cases.
In a press conference addressed this morning by the Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela and Minister for Health Chris Fearne, it was announced that mass events will be banned, and only those with fewer than 100 people inside and 300 outside will go ahead. Visits to the elderly in residential homes and to patients at hospitals will be restricted too. The government did not confirm whether schools will open next month due to the increase of COVID-19 cases.
An 8 hour meeting of the Malta Councel for Economic and Social Development which ended at 2am of last night failed to lead to an agreement between Medical Association of Malta (MAM) and the government delegation led by Prime Minister. According to MAM, the directives at Mater Dei Hospital will continue, and the association is urging the government to implement emergency setup at Maltàs general hospital.
The Maltese government is acknowledging that mass events are problematic and agreed to issue stiffer regulations, more strict enforcement with the introduction of fines. Masks indoors would be made obligatory and police would be enforcing wearing of masks indoors. 50 fine will be imposed for not wearing masks in shops and on public transport. Government officials including civil servants would start wearing masks in public media events.
The government proposal to allow mass and public events of up to 300 people was deemed absurd and dangerous by MAM. Another proposal to limit the number to 60 indoors and 100 outdoors was also not accepted. However this proposal was accepted by the union of nurses under the condition that the government will introduce a rigorous enforcement. Therefore, the union has suspended all directives which were to start today.
The US centre of disease control, which is the most reputable institution in the world on infectious disease, advised American citizens not to travel to Malta because of the high risk of Covid, raising the prospect that Malta would be blacklisted by more EU countries.
The Maltese government is under constant pressure to take the necessary actions to address the spread of coronavirus amongst the population.
According the official statistics issued by the local health authorities, during the last two weeks 207 new cases of COVID-19 were registered. So far, Malta has a total of 267 active cases, 670 patients have recovered and nine patients lost their life. An Italian man, aged 27 from Umbria tested positive for Covid-19 and is suspected to have caught the virus while on holiday in Malta some days ago. The man lives in Stroncone in the province of Terni. He was symptomatic when health workers of the Terni Health District administered a swab test which resulted positive for Covid-19.
Associations and unions representing various medical professions are calling the Maltese Prime Minister to cancel all mass events, while constituted bodies representing employers from different sectors of the economy declared that the Maltese government cannot continue to deny the present situation. “Safeguarding public health and stimulating the economy should not come at each other’s expense,” said Malta Employers’ Association Director Joseph Farrugia. Even the President of the Hotel and Restaurants Association Tony Zahra who was in favour of the government’s decision to open the airport for tourists, declared that “possibly the country opened for mass events too fast.”
Following the rise in local COVID-19 cases, four EU countries; Ireland, Lativia, Lithuania and Estonia already removed Malta from their own safe travel list. The Mediterranean island which highly depends on the British market, is also at risk of being removed from the UK’s safe travel list.
The Medical Association reported that 95% of its members have compiled to its directives as a protest against the government for refusing its calls to ban the organisation of mass events. As from tomorrow, even the nurses will start to follow other directives issued by their union. According to the nurses’ union, if Malta keeps registering high new cases of COVID-19 for the next seven days, such new cases will be considered to be the second wave, and Malta will risk another partial lock down as the one in previous March.