“There were times I saw Yorgen Fenech at Castille”- Schembri’s ex PA

Yorgen Fenech organized the party at Portomaso, Level 22

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continued this afternoon. Keith Schembri’s ex personal assistant, Charlene Bianco Farrugia and ex OPM official Ronnie Vella took the witness stand.

15:45 Thank you for following this blog. We will soon update this blog with the highlights from today's court sitting.
Amy Borg
15:43 Journalists are asked to leave the courtroom.

The public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia will continue this Friday at 9 am.
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15:40 No one is expected to appear as a witness in today's court sitting.
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15:39 Bianco Farrugia will continue to testify behind closed doors.
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15:35 Charlene Bianco Farrugia says there were times she saw Yorgen Fenech at Castille but does not recall how many times.
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15:34 Bianco Farrugia's lawyer says his client recently testified during the magisterial inquiry on Yorgen Fenech, Keith Schembri and Melvin Theuma.
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15:33 She says is employed at MITA and prior to the current employment, she was the Personal Assistant of Keith Schembri.
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15:29 Charlene Bianco Farrugia takes the stand to testify.
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15:24 The board of inquiry suspends Vella's testimony. The board will ask questions on the incident when journalists were kept locked inside Castille in another sitting.
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15:22 Vella also says that at the OPM they never discussed the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Amy Borg
15:20 He also mentions how he worked for almost a week and a half with Prime Minister Robert Abela.
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15:20 Vella says he does not recall if he saw a journalist on that day in that bar in Rabat.
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15:14 The board asks Vella how is it possible that he now is recalling details of the incident mentioned to him.

Vella says he felt it was his duty to give information about someone who was of relevance or interest to the labour party or to the OPM. Says he used to send the information to Keith Schembri.
Amy Borg
15:12 Ronnie Vella says that on that particular day a press conference was held in Imdina or Buskett.
Amy Borg
15:10 The board continues to question Vella. In the photo, Vella is seen directing his mobile phone to the direction of certain people.

Vella is still looking at the photo.
Amy Borg
15:10 Ronnie Vella has not replied yet. His lawyer is seen staring at him.
Amy Borg
15:04 The inquiry board asks again on the Rabat incident. Vella asks the board to mention the name of the other person they are referring to so maybe he could recall the episode.

He is shown a photo and he recognizes a person in the photo. He says that the person was a colleague of his during the electoral campaign but he does not know what was the job of the other person in the photo.

Ronnie Vella is now remembering the bar mentioned by the board of inquiry and says it is close to a petrol station.

The board asks Vella if he had taken photos of certain people on that day. Vella does not answer and is trying to remember.
Amy Borg
14:59 Ronnie Vella says he never saw Yorgen Fenech at Castille and that he did not know who he was.
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14:57 The board reiterates to Vella that they have information on his visit to Rabat in May 2017. Ronnie Vella insists he does not remember anything of what is being mentioned to him.
Amy Borg
14:54 The board tells Vella that they have information that he was in a Bar in Rabat and that he was following a person.

Ronnie Vella says he does not remember.
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14:53 Vella is shown a photo. He can recognize himself in the photo.
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14:50 The inquiry board asks Vella if in May 2017 he was asked to go to Rabat to follow a person. Vella denies this. The board reminds Vella that he is under oath.
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14:49 Ronnie Vella mentions how he used to work at MEPA in 2015 and that during 2017 he was involved in the Labour Party's electoral campaign.
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14:48 The inquiry board asks Ronnie Vella if he was present during the press conference held at Castille on the 29th of November 2019.

Vella's lawyer asks the board to not ask questions to his client on the incident.

The board refuses the request.
Amy Borg
14:42 Ronnie Vella confirms he used to follow Daphne's blog but does not recall if he ever discussed her blog. He said it did not interest him much.
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14:40 Ronnie Vella says he used to work with Projects Malta, then spent 4 months working at Castille and then again at Projects Malta. He does not recall if he was employed as a Person of Trust.

He explains that he was involved in the logistics of press conferences and other government events.
Amy Borg
14:39 The board of inquiry agrees that questions to Ronnie Vella about that incident are to be asked in another court sitting.
Amy Borg
14:37 Vella's lawyer says that Vella was summoned to Valletta's Police Station regarding the incident when journalists were kept locked inside Castille. According to his lawyer, Ronnie Vella did not present himself to the police station.
Amy Borg
14:36 Ronnie Vella is asked to take the witness stand.

Vella's lawyer tells the board of inquiry that his client wouldn't like to testify as there is still an ongoing investigation by the Police.
Amy Borg
14:34 According to Matthew Caruana Galizia funds were commissioned for Yorgen Fenech to deliver a speech but this was not approved by the Office of the Prime Minister.
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14:32 Joseph Muscat, Michelle Muscat, Keith Schembri, Charlene Bianco Farrugia, Kenneth Azzopardi and Neville Gafa' were on the list for the Financing closing party organized by Electrogas.

The party was held at Portomaso Level 22 and Yorgen Fenech was the organizer.
Amy Borg
14:30 Matthew Caruana Galizia presents a list of e-mails and documents leaked from the Consortium Electrogas.

On the list one can find the names of people who were to be invited for a financing closing party organized by Electrogas.
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14:26 Vella explains to the board of inquiry that Ronnie Vella was employed within the communications office at the office of the Prime Minister.

Corinne Vella continues to explain that he is not supposed to come in contact with journalists at any time.

She then presents a list of e-mails which include e-mail addresses which can be found on the server josephmuscat.com.

Vella also mentions how the wife of former Prime Minister, Michelle Muscat, had a government e-mail.
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14:25 Corinne Vella says that today Ronnie Vella is expected to testify in court.
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14:23 Corinne Vella, sister of the murdered journalist presents a document to the board of inquiry regarding a post written by Glenn Bedingfield which many readers interpreted as a threat to Daphne's life.
Amy Borg
14:23 Good afternoon and welcome to this live blog.
Amy Borg

During the last court sitting, last week, Kenneth Camilleri who was referred to as Kenneth ‘from Castille’ (ta’ Kastilja)testified before the Board of Inquiry. During his testimony, Camilleri insisted that he would share posts in partisan spirit despite not understanding anything about the Panama Papers and their implications.

Kenneth Camilleri used to work as a security guard for disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Kenneth ‘ta’ Kastilja’ has been linked to a covert €3 million bail request of the three men charged with carrying out the murder.

Highlights from the last court sitting:

  • Disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and Muscat’s PA Ray Barbara used private email servers while in their official roles
  • Barbara had an @josephmuscat.com email
  • Ray Barbara said he has never seen murder suspect Yorgen Fenech at the Office of the Prime Minister
  • Barbara recalled seeing Joe Gasan at Castille
  • Kenneth Camilleri said that he went to Libya four times with Neville Gafà
  • Only one of these trips to Libya was an official trip
  • Camilleri shared articles on the Panama Papers but insisted he understood nothing about the subject
  • Camilleri met with self-confessed go in between Melvin Theuma four times. He said that he never told Schembri about his meetings with Theuma
  • Both witnesses said that the Panama Papers were not mentioned with Muscat or former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri
  • Both witnesses identified Ronnie Vella from a still of the live video when journalists were held inside Castille after an early morning press conference