“I never told Schembri I met Melvin Theuma” – Camilleri

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Kenneth Camilleri who was referred to as Kenneth ‘from Castille’ (ta’ Kastilja)testified before the Board of Inquiry on Friday morning. 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 Friday’s sittting:

  • 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

Camilleri said that after his 25-years of service in the Police Force, he moved to Transport Malta before being suspended once his name cropped up in the murder investigation.

The former security officer had also allegedly informed self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma that the state had identified three mobile numbers of people involved in the murder. One of the numbers on the list, was Theuma’s number.

Ray Barbara who was a personal assistant to disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat when the latter was still an Opposition Leader. He then moved to Castille as a person of trust. He remains PA to current Prime Minister Robert Abela.

Barbara told the Board of Inquiry that he had seen Joe Gasan from the Gasan Group at Castille.

In a statement released by Joe Gasan to the press after the public inquiry, the businessman said that he met former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. He added that similarly he had with his predecessors. Gasan added that he never met Muscat in connection to Electrogas Ltd.

The Board of Inquiry is composed Judge Emeritus Michael Mallia, who is chairing the inquiry board, and two other board members, Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Peter Caruana Galizia and Andrew Borg Cardona are appearing for the family.

12:52 Thank you for following this live blog.
Monique Agius
12:51 The next sitting will be on Wednesday at 2pm.
Monique Agius
12:49 The Board of Inquiry upheld the request by Kurt Farrugia to not testify on Monday since he will be abroad. The Board reserved to right to advise Farrugia with the date and time of when he will be summoned upon his return.

The sitting on Monday is cancelled because Farrugia won't be in Malta.
Monique Agius
12:46 Dr Azzopardi asks the witness how many times he had met Theuma. He says that he met Melvin Theuma four times.

“I had not told Keith Schembri that Melvin Theuma met me,” Camilleri says.

Further questioning is stopped due to the fact that he is going to testify before the compilation of evidence.
Monique Agius
12:45 Dr Azzopardi asks Camilleri who footed the bill for the Libya trips, Kenneth Camilleri says 'for sure it was not me, I'd give him my passport and that's it.'

He says that he doesn't know to whom Gafà would report to.
Monique Agius
12:45 Dr Azzopardi asked whether he had spoken to Keith Schembri after leaving his post. He said he hadn't.

He says that Gafà was a friend and that they would support each other, which is why he had reached out to him after testifying.
Monique Agius
12:43 Dr Azzopardi starts questioning the witness.

Asked about when the last time he spoke to Neville Gafà, Camilleri says that it was the day after he testified before the Board of Inquiry.
Monique Agius
12:41 Camilleri who was a senior manager enforcement at Transport Malta. There was no call for application.

'When I reached my 25 years of service. Ronnie Pelligrini was working at Transport Malta, he knew I had experience in traffic and asked me if I wanted to help him,' Camileri explains.
Monique Agius
12:40 Camilleri says that he didn't meet or speak to Schembri after he finished his assignment at Castille. He says that he had not spoken to him for a long time now.

"Arnaud asked me about this too," Camilleri says.
Monique Agius
12:39 The witness says that he traveled only once abroad with Muscat.
Monique Agius
12:37 Police Inspector Keith Arnaud has sent for Kenneth Camilleri twice.

The Board of Inquiry warns the witness of possible incriminating statements and his right to not reply.

Camilleri says that he will testify in the criminal proceedings on the 27th March and would rather not testify today on his connection to Melvin Theuma.
Monique Agius
12:35 The witness says that he knows Matthew Fenech of the Tumas Group.

Asked about Yorgen Fenech, Camilleri says that he has never seen Yorgen Fenech at Castille. Said Pullicino warns him and reminds that he is under oath.
Monique Agius
12:34 Asked whether he regretted sharing the posts, Camilleri says no. He adds that he shared them out of partisan spirit.
Monique Agius
12:31 Camilleri identifies Ronnie Vella, asked what was his role. He adds that in the past Vella worked in the communications office, if he remembered correctly.

He denies ever having followed Caruana Galizia.

Judge emeritus Mallia is unconvinced. 'You are telling that you shared posts about the subject and that you don't know anything about them or spoke to anyone about them'.

'How can you post something if you don't understand anything about it?' the Board asks.

'Kif tagħmel post jekk ma tifhimx?'
Monique Agius
12:29 'Didn't you read the post before sharing it?' Madam Justice Lofaro asks. She points out, that he cannot say that he does not understand anything related to the Panama Papers but then shares posts related to Panama Papers.

He says that he never spoke to Schembri about the Panama Papers. He adds that he could have found an article on Facebook or someone had shared it and he would repost it.
Monique Agius
12:26 The witness says that he does not understand what went on in the Panama Papers and does not recall discussing them.

Asked whether he wrote on social media about Daphne Caruana Galizia, Camilleri replies: 'Have I wrote?', then he adds 'yes, it would be possible that I have shared posts inciting hatred towards the journalist.
Monique Agius
12:25 He adds that he would normally take care of security. Gafà's office was near that of the Chief of Staff.

"We would talk about everything but not his meetings," Camilleri replies to the Board.
Monique Agius
12:23 "One time in Libya, at a square, someone came to speak to him [Gafà] and he was wearing a Juventus kit," Camilleri says.

Azzopardi suggests the name Tajouri. Camilleri says "yes, that's it".

Camilleri says that once he was present during a meeting. He adds that the discussions would be in Arabic but he doesn't understand the language.

The Board of Inquiry asks whether Gafà knows Arabic. "Iva ġieli smajtu jħarbex," he replies.
Monique Agius
12:22 Said Pullicino remarks that its hard to believe that he had no idea what was being discussed, being a close friend and associate of Gafà.
Monique Agius
12:21 Camilleri says that while he does not know Libya well, he knew people there who could help them. He says that Gafa would go to ministries in Libya, but he didn't know what was discussed.
Monique Agius
12:19 Camilleri says that he went to Libya with Neville Gafa for a total of four times. The official one was when we accompanied the ambassador of Malta to Libya – when Arthur Gerard from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted him directly and asked him if he wanted to accompany them abroad.

Asked about the other three times, he says that Gafa would ask him to accompany him for more protection. "I was never armed with I went abroad with Gafa," Camilleri replies.
Monique Agius
12:18 Camilleri was asked whether Keith Schembri would send them on errands, to which he replies no.

He explains that the security would stay in the corridor. A person would register downstairs, come upstairs pass before the security and then meet Ray Barbara before meeting the prime minister.
Monique Agius
12:17 Asked who was their superior, Camilleri says that Ray Barbara,

Camilleri says that he would take instructions from Ray Barbara.
Monique Agius
12:14 Kenneth Camilleri takes the stand. He says that before he was in the Police Force as a constable and then in 2013 was detailed by the Malta Security Service to the Prime Minister's security. He says that he finished his police service on 22 January 2019.

Camilleri says that then he went to work at Transport Malta but received a phone call which informed him that he was suspended after he was named by self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma.
Monique Agius
12:13 'They are indicative as to how the state is continuing its campaign against Caruana Galizia and her family.

The judges, who do not have Facebook, are surprised at this.
Monique Agius
12:09 Borg Cardona says that PBS Facebook page there a lot of comments about the proceedings of this inquiry, "there is a certain viciousness". He refers to certain comments left under stories posted on the national broadcaster Facebook page. They highlight that PBS is funded through taxpayers' money.
'They are allowing further character assassination, even now, post mortem,' Borg Cardona says.
Monique Agius
12:09 Dr Kathleen Grima who assists Melvin Theuma has just entered the courtroom.
Monique Agius
12:07 Asked about the arrest of the three alleged hitmen, Barbara says he got to know from the newspaper.

'I can't say,' upon asking whether the name of Turab Musayev ever featured on the diary of Muscat.
Monique Agius
12:06 Dr Azzopardi asks about the Castille incident when journalists were sequestered at Castille.

"I didn't see any of it. I was in my office, in Castille. The press conference was held on the other side of Castille," Barbara replies.
Monique Agius
12:04 Dr Azzopardi asks about how a normal person goes through the main door who is not an ambassador or a minister or any foreign VIPs.

Barbara says he does not know. He adds that 'Cikku l-Poplu ma jidholx minn hemm'.
Monique Agius
12:03 The witness says that Socar and Electrogas never featured on the diary. Asked by Azzopardi about Mark Gasan and Paul Apap Bologna featuring in Muscat's diary, Barbara says that "I'm not sure, I don't remember".
Monique Agius
12:02 Dr Azzopardi asks whether Barbara was present for any meetings between Socar and Electrogas which happened at the Office of the Prime Minister.

"I gave one or two appointments to Gasan, but I don't remember when," Barbara says.
Monique Agius
12:00 The witness was asked who was Schembri's personal secretary , he says that there a number of people working in the secretariat.
Monique Agius
12:00 Asked about Schembri's reaction, Barbara says that he did not see Mr Schembri at the time.
Monique Agius
11:58 Chief Justice emeritus Said Pullicino asks about Muscat's reaction when the Panama Papers were published and when the Egrant story was broken.

Barbara says that Muscat was shocked by the Panama Papers revelations. He adds that Muscat was very angry about the Egrant allegation involving Michelle Muscat.
Monique Agius
11:57 Madam Justice Lofaro asks whether he has posted messages which fed into a spin that the assassination was linked to fuel smuggling. He denies forwarding any posts linking the murder of Caruana Galizia to smuggling.
Monique Agius
11:57 Barbara says that he might have retweeted posts on Twitter. He adds that he was not very active on social media.
Monique Agius
11:52 Barbara is shown a photo. He identifies Ronnie Vella. Vella worked at Castille in the communication office during Muscat's days, Barbara says.

According to Barbara, Vella no longer works there but does not know if he was fired or resigned once Muscat was no longer Prime Minister.
Monique Agius
11:51 He adds that they would not report to him if they are sick or request leave. The driver is not part of this group.
Monique Agius
11:49 Madam Justice Abigail Lofaro asks whether the security detail would take instructions from someone else, he replies "if am not there, I won't know."
Monique Agius
11:47 Chief Judge Emeritus Said Pullicino asks about the security detail to the Prime Minister.

Barbara explains that there is a group of six people working day in, day out. He adds that his role would be to instruct them where to go.
Monique Agius
11:46 Barbara explains the procedure when one enters the Office of the Prime Minister. He says that he enters from the main door and is not aware of the procedure used when one enters from the side door on St Paul's Street.
Monique Agius
11:45 Asked whether they have ever discussed Caruana Galizia's blog or her assassination, Barbara says they would not.
Monique Agius
11:43 The witness does not recall that the Prime Minister ever met with controversial persons. But then asked if he met with Joe Gasan, Barbara replies "yes".

"I definitely never sent for Yorgen Fenech. I found about him from the newspaper," Barbara says.
Monique Agius
11:42 Barbara who is still a personal assistant to Prime Minister Robert Abela, says that his office is in Castille next to the Prime Minister's office. The two offices were segregated from the rest of the secretariat.
Monique Agius
11:41 "I don't know who would take minutes of the Prime Minister's meetings," Barbara says. He adds that most probably someone from the secretariat would do so.
Monique Agius
11:40 "My duties are mainly taking care of the Prime Minister's dairy, scheduling appointments and meetings. I never went inside meetings," Barbara replies.
Monique Agius
11:38 Asked by Judge Emeritus Mallia if is employed in public service. He says that prior to becoming a person of trust he was a computer technician at GO.

Barbara worked with Joseph Muscat when he was still an Opposition Leader since 2011 as a personal assistant. Then he moved to becoming a personal assistant to Muscat as a person of trust.

"I am not deemed to be a government employee," he repeats, answering a question from Said Pullicino.
Monique Agius
11:37 Ray Barbara takes the stand. He is assisted by lawyer Jonathan Attard.
Monique Agius
11:35 A number of social media posts were also collected, some attacking Daphne Caruana Galizia's family, from his timeline. There were posts which thanked her for the 2017 win, posts portraying Daphne Caruana Galizia as party propagandist, and other posts which insinuated that she controlled the PN.
Monique Agius
11:32 Moving on to Kenneth Camilleri, Vella says that the day after the assassination, Camilleri had shared an article by il Messaggero which had insinuated that Caruana Galizia had been killed by the Opposition Leader.
Monique Agius
11:31 'Although you might not have a malign intent, the use of private email servers works to deprive your employer of access to the information when you no longer work with him,' Vella says.
Monique Agius
11:29 Madam Justice Abigail Lofaro asks whether one has access to a private email address when in office.

"No, unless the person allows you," Vella replies.

She adds that the addresses Joseph and Keith @josephmuscat.com which were used to plot SLAPP lawsuits against Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The josephmuscat.com emails operate on a gmail platform.
Monique Agius
11:27 "Ray Barbara appears to have an email registered on the domain josephmuscat.com. That was used to confirm a meeting with Occupy Justice when the activists were camping outside Castille," Vella says.

"Any email which does not use the government email address is outside the reach of the auditor's office," Vella explains.
Monique Agius
11:26 "Barbara remains now as the PA of current prime minister Robert Abela," Vella explains.
Monique Agius
11:24 Vella says that Ray Barbara has shadowed disgraced former Prime Muscat very closely, even before the 2013 election.

"Ray Barbara always appears to be there and is very devoted and very trusted," Vella continues.
Monique Agius
11:23 Corinne Vella takes the witness stand.

"In light of the witnesses who are supposed to testify today, a document has been prepared containing facts which are available in the public domain which may be relevant to the inquiry," Vella says.
Monique Agius
11:23 Dr Azzopardi informs the court that Corinne Vella would like to present another dossier.
Monique Agius
11:22 The Board of Inquiry enters the courtroom.
Monique Agius
11:07 Welcome to this live blog. Newsbook.com.mt is live blogging from courtroom 20. Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Andrew Borg Cardona are already in the courtroom, as well as lawyers Christian Falzon Scerri and Maurizio Cordina from the State Advocate office are present to observe the proceedings before the Board of Inquiry.
Monique Agius

Read the highlights from the last sitting:

  • The Board of Inquiry issued a decree in relation to a request made by the State Advocate to be part of the inquiry proceedings
  • In its decree the Board said that the State Advocate can be present during to public hearings
  • It will be up to the Board of Inquiry to decide whether the State Advocate will be allowed to stay during hearings behind closed doors
  • The Board of Inquiry is scrutinizing the shortcomings and failings of state entities and whether the death of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia could have been prevented, the Board reminds in its decree
  • “There appears to be a problem with misogyny in Malta, when women journalists hold public officials to account,” Corinne Vella told the Board of Inquiry when she presented further documents
  • Around 2016, the attacks on Caruana Galizia became more personal
  • “The saddest thing is that besides her journalism there was so much more to her. She loved travelling, talking about food, music. There was her journalism, but she had a life besides that. If you needed a gift, she was the perfect person to call,” a witness told the Board