Government offering mafia protection to Cardona, Repubblika says

Luke Zerafa

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Civil society group Repubblika has said that two highest-ranking ministers in government are offering omertà to disgraced former Economy Minister Chris Cardona in a statement on Tuesday.

Reacting to the testimony given in court by Melvin Theuma who was the go in between, between murder suspect Yorgen Fenech and the three alleged hitmen who planted and detonated a bomb inside the car of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Repubblika said that his testimony gave more reasons for one to doubt how much the declarations made by the Deputy Leader of Partit Laburista should be believed.

Theuma was given presidential pardon in exchange of the truth. The NGO noted that as a state witness he could choose between saying the truth and help in successfully convicting the suspects for the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia or go to prison for the offences he had confessed to.

“From yesterday’s evidence, Chris Cardona seems to be heavily implicated in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder. Melvin Theuma said he knows of an intermediary who acted and paid on behalf of Chris Cardona,” Repubblika stated.

During Monday’s proceedings, Theuma said that he knew about the threats made by Cardona’s colleague and friend, David Gatt, to help him avoid being implicated in this killing.

The NGO said that while everyone was presumed innocent until proven guilty, one must not forget the extents to which the impunity of Cardona has reached. They pointed out that both Cardona and disgraced former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri were both arrested for a few hours last December and later released without a charge.

“Cardona’s declarations are not proof of innocence. They are proof that the two men are still under the protection of the government and act as a mafia – a state within a state – and nobody can do anything against them.”

Repubblika remarked that Cardona’s denials were not enough. Referring to Theuma’s testimony under oath, Repubblika said that from his evidence other clues transpired which we already knew about, with the NGO listing: “Chris Cardona was caught lying more than once about his relationship with Alfred Degiorgio (il-Fulu). Cardona’s business partner, David Gatt was accused (and found innocent) of the same robbery as Vince Muscat (il-Kohhu). Chris Cardona’s number was the only telephone number found on a burner phone that was thrown away from the shore where the potato shed, the quarters of the assassins accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia, was situated.”

The NGO noted that despite the testimony in court concerning Partit Laburista’s deputy leader, both Prime Minister Robert Abela who also heads the party and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne who is also the party’s deputy leader, did not mention the claims during Monday’s press conference.

“They closed their eyes to this as though Chris Cardona was accused of something trivial, such as parking badly or is late in paying up his taxes,” Repubblika observed.

“This silence, this ‘omertà’ is also mafia protection. And when this type of mafia protection is coming from the two highest-ranking ministers in government, we have to acknowledge that in May 2020, our country is still in the state it was in December 2019: a mafia state,” Repubblika stated, warning that they would take to the streets and squares to remind everyone that they will not tolerate impunity.

Repubblika highlighted that if Abela kept his duty in mind, then Cardona would be sacked from the party.

On Monday evening, Matthew Caruana Galizia who was present for the proceedings said that he had expected the Magistrate to order the arrest of former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta and Chris Cardona after what had transpired in court. He noted that the only order was to wear masks in the courtroom.

“What kind of a justice system is this? A bad one,” Caruana Galizia wrote, adding that the police should have made the arrest and seized the evidence on their own initiative.

“The fact that we’re now wishing that a magistrate would order them to do such a thing shows what a giant mess our country is in,” he said.

Today in court, as Melvin Theuma said one astonishing thing after another, including that Silvio Valletta, one of the…

Posted by Matthew Caruana Galizia on Monday, June 1, 2020 tried reaching out to Cardona for a comment but he did not reply.

Theuma claims Gatt threatened Degiorgios with their lives

Highlight from Monday’s proceedings:

  • Melvin Theuma said that Cardona was in contact with Alfred Degiorgio (il-Fulu)
  • Theuma recalled seeing Silvio Valletta at Fenech’s ranch in Żebbug
  • Theuma said that once Fenech had told him that PN leader Adrian Delia went over for dinner – but could not tell if this was true
  • Fenech had told Theuma that Chris Cardona was hospitalized after the assassination
  • Theuma said that former police officer and lawyer David Gatt had threatened Degiorgios with their lives had they implicated Cardona in the murder