Justice Minister says he will always feel betrayed

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continued this morning with Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis facing the inquiry board chaired by Judge Emeritus Michael Mallia and composed of Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino and Madame Justice Abigail Lofaro.

11:21 That is it for today. Thank you for following us.
Amy Borg
11:21 Next Wednesday at 2 pm, Mark and Joe Gasan will give their testimony.
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11:20 The next sitting will be on Monday at 2 pm and Paul Apap Bologna is expected to testify.
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11:19 Zammit Lewis's testimony ends here.
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11:17 Zammit Lewis is asked if he used to discuss Panama Papers and 17 Black with Schembri and Fenech when they used to meet socially.

He replies that he used to meet socially more with the then PM Muscat and no he never discussed the allegations with Fenech and Schembri.
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11:17 He also confirms that he used to dine with Fenech in public places.
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11:15 He says he never discussed the allegations with Fenech.

Zammit Lewis also clarifies that he never went abroad with Schembri, alone.
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11:09 He says that when he received the information that Fenech was involved in the assassination "The situation was shocking"

"I have always communicated with him in good faith" said Zammit Lewis.
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11:07 "Did you feel comfortable to keep up with these relationships despite the Panama Papers revelations?" – Dr Azzopardi

He clarifies that most of the holidays were mostly with Muscat and not Schembri.
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11:07 The Minister confirms he went on holidays with Muscat and Schembri many times.
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11:06 "When did you terminate your communication with Yorgen Fenech?" – Dr Azzopardi

"Well before he was arrested" – Zammit Lewis
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11:06 Dr Jason Azzopardi is asking the questions now.
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11:05 He also said that Muscat's decision to leave politics will help alleviate tension in society, said Zammit Lewis
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11:03 "When I saw Muscat leaving in that way, I felt that a chapter has been closed and that Muscat should have never ended his political career in that manner," said the Minister
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11:02 "I will always feel betrayed because I entered politics because I believe that things could be done better for the common good but you feel betrayal when others do not cherish your same aims and values" – Zammit Lewis
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11:00 When asked about his position now that the NAO published its report on the project, Zammit Lewis says that he believes and does not doubt the NAO.
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10:55 The board asks the witness about an article published on Malta Today in which he says the db project set to replace the former ITS in Pembroke, was a good deal for Malta.

Zammit Lewis says that he was not involved in the deal – The deal was in the hands of Projects Malta which at that time Konrad Mizzi was responsible for.
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10:55 "I never saw Fenech at Castille" – Zammit Lewis.
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10:53 The Minister says he has brought with him all the receipts which show he has always paid for the events organised at Fenech's hotel.
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10:53 Zammit Lewis continues to explain that he did not feel Fenech was affecting his work as an MP.
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10:52 He says, around 4 years ago, he was with Fenech on his yacht.
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10:51 Dr Comodini Cachia asks Zammit Lewis to distinguish between his relationship with Paul Apap Bologna and Yorgen Fenech as it seems you stopped communicating with Apap Bologna but not with Fenech, even though he was the owner of 17 Black.
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10:47 Zammit Lewis confirms he was invited and that Fenech was present.
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10:46 Questions have now shifted on the party at Girgenti organised by Joseph Muscat.
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10:45 He says that Joseph Muscat never mentioned to him any power station project before the 2013 election.
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10:44 He explains that through his political career he learned that when he feels that certain relations could have a negative effect on his work then he shuts down any form of contact with the individual/s.
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10:41 Comdini Cachia asks the witness if he met with Yorgen Fenech after it was revealed he was the owner of 17 Black.

He says at that time he was not part of the cabinet.
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10:39 Asked if he knows Yorgen Fenech, the Minister says yes and there was an exchange of communication between them. He got to know him in 2013/2014.
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10:38 He also says that there were times when the three of them were in the same room.
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10:37 Asked if Paul Apap Bologna had asked him to set a meeting for him with Muscat, Zammit Lewis says that, formally, he was never confronted with such request.
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10:35 Asked about excise tax refunds in relation to Electrogas, Minister Zammit Lewis says he does not believe the presentation went into that much detail.
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10:33 Dr Comodini Cachia asks Zammit Lewis if he remembers when was the presentation by Konrad Mizzi delivered.

Zammit Lewis says he does not remember.

Lawyer Comodini Cachia shows the witness the presentation on a mobile phone, but Zammit Lewis says he does not remember how many days or weeks was the presentation delivered before the general election.
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10:32 Dr Therese Comodini Cachia is now asking questions to the witness.
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10:31 The board asks if he ever saw the FIAU report on Konrad Mizzi. The Minister says no.
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10:30 Zammit Lewis says that whenever it was possible he always gave his advice for the good of the government and the party.
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10:29 The board asks why it took so much time for the removal of Mizzi and Schembri from the PL.
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10:28 He says that although he though Mizzi should have resigned when it came to votes of confidence in Mizzi, there was a collective decision by the PL's parliamentary group.
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10:26 In the case of Schembri, he was chosen by Muscat. He said he had told Muscat that since Schembri was appointed by him, there will be repercussions but ultimately the decision was his.
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10:25 Konrad Mizzi should have resigned said the Minister. He also said that a distinction should have been made between Schembri and Mizzi.
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10:23 Zammit Lewis says that when Panama Papers were revealed, he formed part of the cabinet.

"The news was shocking," continued saying Zammit Lewis.
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10:16 Zammit Lewis confirms that Schembri used to attend Cabinet meetings.
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10:15 He also said that since Joseph Muscat was not always available due to his commitments, he would turn on to Schembri for guidance.
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10:14 "I cannot say he interfered in my work but he used to guide me," said Zammit Lewis
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10:13 "Keith Schembri was very influential within the Labour Government," said Zammit Lewis.
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10:11 The board asks if Keith Schembri had too much power.

Zammit Lewis replies that Schembri was the person who in 2008/2009 was reorganising the party and as a govt official he was responsible for coordinating the govt's administration.
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10:11 He says he is not aware of a possible kitchen cabinet.
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10:10 Regarding the kitchen cabinet:

He says that for him cabinet meetings are held every Tuesday at 10 am.
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10:09 "I do not share 100% Konrad Mizzi's way," says Minister Zammit Lewis.
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10:08 The board asks if the cabinet was presented with an already made deal on the power station project.

Zammit Lewis asks the board to guide him as he might be limited to what he can say on the matter with the media present inside the courtroom.
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10:06 He continues saying that the details of the projects were not discussed and therefore he does not feel comfortable answering questions about them.
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10:06 Zammit Lewis confirms that the AUM and Vitals projects were discussed at cabinet level.
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10:04 The board is now asking questions on other projects; AUM University, Vitals and the Montenegro Windfarms.

"Were these discussed during cabinet meetings?" – The board
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10:03 He says he is not competent enough to answer the question as it is not in his remit.

One of Yorgen Fenech's lawyers, Dr Charles Mercieca, has entered the courtroom.
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10:02 The board notes how the project raised many questions and controversy and asked Zammit Lewis if this could have been avoided.
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10:01 Zammit Lewis said that this electoral promise was the first one to be reached as people started benefitting from lower utility bills.
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09:51 During the presentation, no names were mentioned.
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09:50 He says that regarding the power station project he remembers a presentation by Konrad Mizzi given at the PL's headquarters.

MPs and PL's candidates were present for this presentation, said the witness.
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09:48 When asked if he was part of the electoral campaign strategy for the 2013 election, Zammit Lewis said he was a candidate and candidates work separately from those who set the party's strategy.
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09:47 Minister Zammit Lewis says that prior to the 2013 general election he never saw any businessmen within the PL but he also says that he did not visit much the PL's headquarters back then.
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09:43 "Schembri was not involved in politics but he started organising the party, " said Zammit Lewis.
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09:42 "I met Keith Schembri through Joseph Muscat" – Justice Minister
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09:41 He says that he reconnected well with him when Muscat became the leader of the Opposition back in 2008.
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09:40 He says he has known Muscat since he was 10 years, they were school mates at St Aloysius.
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09:40 The board asks the Minister about his relations with Joseph Muscat.
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09:36 Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis has just entered the courtroom and takes the witness stand.
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09:35 The inquiry board has just entered courtroom no 20.
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09:29 Good morning and welcome to this live blog.
Amy Borg