‘Schembri’s phone was not found’ – Arnaud

Monique Agius

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

14:12 Magistrate Montebello said that an application for bail was filed on 18 December. The magistrate said that she would decide on the pending application in the next hearing on Monday 23 December.

14:08 Another police constable from the anti-money laundering squad took the witness stand. He was also involved in the search at Yorgen Fenech’s residence in Portomaso. The search began at the boardroom, he had found a contract service, Theuma’s playslips, a request for proposal, colour photo, and a handwritten note in a cabinet. He also found a photocopy of a Visa card and documents in French in the cabinet in the secretary’s room.

The search continued in an office however, he informed the court that he did not seize anything from here.

14:06 Another police constable from the Anti-money laundering squad took the witness stand. On Friday 21 November he was instructed to assist in a search in Portomaso. He said that at Level 21 he found no interesting documents, but his colleagues did. In the second address, he found documents in a plastic folders which were presented earlier in court.

Asked what the documents contained, the police officer said that they contained financial transactions and that the documents were in French.

14:04 Another police officer from the Economic Crimes Unit took the witness stand. He assisted Keith Vella in the search at Portomaso for which Feench was present. They had searched for some financial documents. The police officer found the flipcharts which showed financial structures deemed to be ‘interesting’.

13:55 Police Inspector Keith Vella took the witness stand. He is stationed at the ECU. He explained that he was instructed to carry out searches at different locations in Portomaso.

He presented items retrieved from the different sites. The search started around midday and ended at around 3.30pm.

The police retrieved flip charts, a contract of service, payslips issued to Melvin Theuma, a colour photo and a note allegedly handwritten by Melvin Theuma.

In the office, the police retrieved more documents some of which were in French.

All items were presented in court.

The following items were retrieved from the boardroom: a contract of service, payslips issued Melvin Theuma, a colour photo and a note allegedly handwritten by Melvin Theuma.

Other documents were found in a cabinet in the secretary’s office. These were placed in a separate bag.

Another batch of documents was also presented including the French documents.

13:52 Magistrate Montebello asked about the recordings currently at Europol. Arnaud informed the court that the data extraction was not complete, and the target date was for completion around the mid to end of January.

Until the recordings are ready, Theuma’s testimony was further adjourned.

13:39 Break

13:36 Dr Azzopardi asked about the amount of money paid for Caruana Galizia’s assassination. He said according to what Theuma told the police, the money paid out amounted to some €450,000.

Dr Caruana Curran pointed out that all this information ‘hareg minn Keith Schembri. I think we’d better ask him’ he remarked.

Dr Azzopardi is now asking about a motion passed in parliament about an extension granted to Dragonara casino – and whether this was investigated. Arnaud replied that this has not been investigated yet.

13:27 Dr Azzopardi: Did the police access the geodata location?

Arnaud: No, we do not have access.

Dr Azzopardi: Where is Ferdinand’s bar?

Arnaud: Siggiewi – I had investigated a report lodged in Valletta when there was the allegation about Alfred Degiorgio and Chris Cardona hanging out together at Ferdinand’s on the eve of the potato shed.

Azzopardi further read out from the letter – Alfred Degiorgio and Chris Cardona would meet at Ferdinand’s … David Gatt kien il-persuna li jghaqqad kollox fil-potato shed. Did you establish that David Gatt was the lawyer?

Arnaud: From the intelligence we have, yes the lawyer, they did not put ‘dr’ but Gatt was often at the potato shed.

13:17 Dr Azzopardi: What about Theuma’s recordings? If something happened to him?

Arnaud: Melvin Theuma had said they would end up at the PN Headquarters, the police commissioner, at the police and lawyers. In fact when he was arrested he asked for the Police Commissioner. ‘Kien iffissat li se joqtluh’.

Dr Azzopardi made a reference to the letter which was handed to Fenech, Tony Sammut known as l-Iblah who works at the Economy Ministry.

Azzopardi read out part of the note about the alleged “frame up” on Cardona.

Arnaud had spoken to Yorgen Fenech about Cardona libels against Caruana Galizia. There were plans to kill Caruana Galizia by two persons – one of the individuals is now dead and the other is Minister Chris Cardona.

‘CC, Fredu u Toni kienu jiltaqghu il-Ferdinand’s,’ the note said.

Arnaud explained how the investigators had checked out all details linked to the brother case, the libel, etc.

13:11 Dr Azzopardi cross-examined Arnaud.

Dr Azzopardi asked about the time when Schembri was arrested. ‘Was that the day after his resignation as chief of staff? Arnaud replied that he does not know.

Regarding his mobile, Schembri told the police ‘ma nafx fejn ghamiltu’ when they entered the house. His wife opened the door for them. He kept saying ‘ma nafx fejn ghamiltu, ma nafx fejn ghamiltu, nahseb tliftu.’

But did you ask him again, the magistrate asked. They asked him again under interrogation when he told them that he had misplaced it.

‘Sallum ghadu ma nstabx, ghadna qed nfittxu,’ Arnaud told the court.

‘The night before he was at PM home at Burmarrad,’ Dr Azzopardi said.

‘I’m not aware of that,’ Arnaud said.

Azzopardi asked about Fenech and his uncle’s chat the eve on his arrest when a journalist was mentioned – Arnaud confirms that he believed that Fenech said something about a journalist, a tip off by journalist. Arnaud said that there were no names mentioned of who the journalist was.

12:56 Dr Camilleri: Did it result during the course of the investigation that there were leaks from the investigation?

Arnaud: Yes, upon opening Theuma’s box. In fact, I was shocked at the time.

This was information would have been given during the briefings at Castille, Arnaud added.

Dr Camilleri: Did you know that the leaks were coming from Schembri?

Arnaud: Later, Fenech told the police he got the information from Schembri.

Arnaud said that Schembri was investigated in relation to the leak.

Both Melvin Theuma and Yorgen Fenech said that the information originated from Schembri. Arnaud explained that his realised was in danger and it was shocking and frightening. Arnaud added that Schembri had denied leaking information.

Dr Camilleri: When was Yorgen Fenech was mentioned at the briefings? Was Schembri present? Did he tell you that they were friends?

Arnaud: Around August/September 2018. The recordings had been mentioned in the briefings and the possible link to the Caruana Galizia murder. Schembri was present but he did not tell us he was a friend of Fenech.

The investigation on Keith Schembri has not been closed, and we are still looking for his mobile, Arnaud added. Schembri is being investigated on homicide, possible leaks, among others.

Dr Camilleri: Why are you investigating it separately from the murder?

Arnaud: Not quite. We have enlarged the team of investigators to make sure that all ends are covered. It’s not isolate and still ongoing.

Arnaud confirmed that the phantom job was granted before the murder, after the assassination was contracted some two weeks before 2017 election announcement.

12:40 Dr Caruana Curran: How did you communicate with Schembri?

Arnaud: Through WhatsApp

Caruana Curran: Given you’re an Inspector, I’d imagine you kept all the messages…

Magistrates: no, no, no. I’m not going to allow this line of questioning.

Caruana Curran: did you take away his phone?

Arnaud: il-mowbajl tieghu ma nstabx. [His phone was not found]

Caruana Curran: What did you seize? Why was his mobile not found?

Arnaud replied that they gathered all devices including his children’s laptops. Regarding, Scehmbri’s mobile – he had told the police that he had lost it. Dr Caruana Curran pointed out that the defence are insisting for a copy of the data from Europol saying that they were preoccupied. Arnaud told the court that they have the data but it was not yet complete.

Caruana Curran: Did you ever inform the Prime Minister that Schembri’s name was cropping up in the investigation?

Arnaud said yes, referring to the time around the issue of Fenech’s request for pardon.

Dr Caruana Curran made reference to a media report on a late night meeting between Schembri and the Prime Minister at the latter’s home in Burmarrad.

Arnaud was asked whether there was any time when you spoke to Fenech alone at the lockup. He replied that he spoke to him upon his arrival at the lockup, first time he came after 8pm after his arrest. The other times he spoke to him was in the presence of the lawyers. Then spoke to him again alone before his release.

Dr Caruana Curran: What did you tell him?

Arnaud replied that first he told him about the dark tunnel he was about to embark upon, encouraging him tot tell the truth. He explained that he uses such phrases when facing suspects.

Dr Caruana Curran asked whether he cautioned Fenech on what to say and not to mention Schembri. Arnaud replied that he did not mention Keith Schembri and neither Fenech did.

12:27 Reference was made to the briefings at Castille when three dates for the arrests were made, Schembri was there, Arnaud said. The weekend before the arrests there was a meeting at MSS, when the final date was set. Later briefings were held at Castille at around end of April. At the time, arrangements were made by Valletta. Arnaud would go for assistance. After AC Silvio Valletta was ordered off the investigation, Arnaud would fix briefings with Schembri.

‘Meetings jien u Keith qatt ma saru, f’gieh il-Bambin,’ Arnaud told the court when asked about the frequency of the meetings and who present at the meetings.

The investigators worked alongside Europol and inquiring magistrate who was also updated on intercepts.

The only time that Keith Schembri was mentioned in the recordings. He added that Theuma would speak to two particular individuals in one of the conversation where Theuma mentioned Schembri.

Dr Caruana Curran: What if I tell you if the relatives of slain journalist had mentioned Schembri?

Arnaud: Yes, they had given us possible motives.

Dr Caruana Curran: So we had the relatives who mentioned him, Theuma, and Fenech too mentioned Schembri. Would I be correct that when you liaised with Schembri – Schembri did not mention Theuma’s phantom job and Fenech was his friend?

Magistrate: When was the last meeting in Castille?

Arnaud: End of October / Beginning of November this year.

Arnaud after explaining how phone tapping takes place, said he did not make the request himself for Theuma and Fenech’s phones to be tapped. Melvin’s name was mentioned in a briefing around April 2018, Arnaud recalled. He added that Fenech’s name was not mentioned at that time.

Meetings dealt with logistics and not further developments beyond the recordings.

12:16 Dr Marion Camilleri continues the cross-examination. She asked about the plastic box containing the photos and recordings.

Dr Camilleri: ‘This fact alone, that Schembri could help for these people to obtain bail, did you feel the need to investigate Schembri?’

Arnaud: ‘Schembri is under investigation’

Dr Camilleri: ‘Did you investigate Kenneth Camilleri?’

The investigations are still ongoing, Arnaud told the court. Speaking about the bail issue, Melvin said that Kenneth had gone to his home and had made the call that led to the promise of bail and one million each.

Kenneth Camilleri told the police that he did indeed meet Melvin Theuma but not on the issue on bail.

Dr Caruana Curran: ‘On whose instructions did he meet Theuma?’

Magistrate Montebello pointed out that the Kenneth Camilleri should testify. ‘He will,’ Arnaud replied.

12:03 The four-page letter was exhibited in court.

Dr Brincat can be seen talking to Police Inspector Kurt Zahra.

Caruana Curran: ‘Would I be right in saying that the version he [Melvin Theuma] gave to the police is different to Theuma’s letter?’

Arnaud: ‘In the letter, Theuma said that the masterminds were two. Then he explained that Fenech had sent him to contract the killing.’

Magistrate: ‘Was Keith Schembri ever mentioned before the letter was discovered?’

Arnaud: ‘Keith Schembri was mentioned where there was the photo of the two. Melvin Theuma had mentioned Schembri in relation to the phantom job.’

Arnaud mentioned that was when closer questioning took place. He recalled asking ‘bizibilju’ of questions. When pressed further he explained that he had mentioned Schembri in the letter because he feared that Fenech would finally get fed up with him, dishing out money and would turn to Schembri help get rid of him.

11:57 Dr Caruana Curran points out that there were a number of similarities in the version of the letter (tal-font kbir) and what Melvin Theuma’s testimony.

‘I’m not seeing the similarities you are referring to,’ Arnaud replied.

Court directed that further questions can be made once the letter is exhibited in court.

‘Keith Schembri was like the puppet master, orchestrating a carrot and stick approach with the presidential pardon, in front of my client,’ Dr Caruana Curran said. Fenech told the police that he had been given an original version under the promise of pardon by Keith Schembri.

11:53 Arnaud was asked whether Theuma’s statement differed from the letter found during a search at Fenech. The letter was found on 21 November.

Theuma always told us that he met Keith Schembri twice, Arnaud told the court. Theuma did not speak until he was granted pardon. The first time Theuma he gave his version, without the recordings.

Magistrate Montebello asked whether the letter was mentioned before it was found.

11:43 Lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran starts cross-examining Police Inspector Keith Arnaud.

Asking about the ‘escape bid’, Dr Caruana Curran asked whether the VHS was on. Arnaud explained that the captain and Fenech were both on the boat. The captain told the police that they had to take the yacht to Pozzallo for maintenance. The contact with the boatyard was made earlier and that they had clearance to take the yacht to Sicily.

Dr Caruana Curran asked whether the captain asked for clearance for the port authorities, and if their GPS and AIS were on. Arnaud said that while he was not sure if they checked, both the captain and Fenech had said just as much. He added that the captain was not arrested as his version gave no cause for doubt. The captain had to return to Malta using the ferry however, Fenech’s plans were not known.

Dr Caruana Curran asked whether Theuma asked for medical assistance. Arnaud replied that he was taken to Mater Dei but did not request any particular doctor. Theuma was taken to hospital before he got presidential pardon.

Dr Caruana Curran asked under which was conditions was he hospitalised, as he pressed if a logbook was kept of the doctors and nurses which saw to Theuma.

11:39 Doctor had left the farmhouse. Some time later, the Fenech brothers had returned to Malta.

Arnaud spoke about Schembri’s arrest – he denied the letter but confirmed that he had spoken to Fenech over the phone on the eve of his arrest. Schembri denied any involvement or knowledge of the escape bid before. Arnaud told the court that Schembri denied passing the notes.

When Fenech was arrested for the third time, the issue of the prohibitory injunction in his regard had cropped up, Arnaud explained. After some heated discussions with Fenech’s lawyers, Arnaud moved away from the investigation and Police Inspector Kurt Zahra took Zahra.

11:32 After doctor was released, he was called back and questioned further, Arnaud explained.

‘We asked the doctor if there was an attempt to help Fenech flee the weekend before Fenech’s arrest,’ Arnaud recalled. He added that the doctor said ‘yes there was such bid but that Schembri had nothing to do with it’. When Theuma was arrested, Fenech had called the doctor to visit him. The doctor had suggested to Fenech that he would go to his house in Gozo. ‘Mur hemm ghall-kwiet,’ the doctor told the police about Fenech.

They went to Gozo and remained in the doctor’s car even on the ferry. Franco Fenech went to meet them in Gozo. A boat to Tunis and from Tunis go to Dubai was one of the ideas floated during the discussions between Franco and Yorgen Fenech.

Arnaud said while he could not recall correctly, Yorgen Fenech’s wife might have visited him in Gozo. Arnaud said that the doctor recalled Fenech saying something along the lines ‘jekk ha jghereq hu, ha jnizzel lil Keith mieghu’. Arnaud could not quite figure out when this remark was made.

11:26 On 26 November Fenech was released on police bail because the deadline was up.

‘The circumstances were so, that in the media there was already an article about a middle man and a businessman. Once it was made known that Melvin Theuma was arrested, the media reported that he was probably speaking up to the police and would be requesting presidential pardon,’ Arnaud explained. ‘It was obvious what was happening and it was clear that he would try and escape,’ Arnaud added.

‘From his phone, we found a conversation between Fenech and his uncle Ray, in which Ray sent a link about an interview with the Prime Minister on Theuma’s presidential pardon. Ray sent him a screenshot of thunder. In the conversation, there was also mention of a journalist, I think, that had told him that there were rumours that they are after him,’ Arnaud explained that this content was only found later when Fenech was arrested. In his conversation with his uncle, Fenech asked him to look after his children. His uncle told him to be careful, to not use his card if he goes to France.

11:15 The doctor initially did not want to cooperate and tried evading our questions during his questioning, Police Inspector Arnaud explained, that it was only when Vella was arrested that he started cooperating. ‘He confirmed to us that he had passed on the note to Fenech,’ Arnaud said.

The police found 140,000 files in Fenech’s phone and had to look for the screenshot indicated by Fenech during police questioning. Fenech had told the police that he asked Keith Schembri ‘Jaqaw qeghdin warrajja?’ in a message, Schembri had replied with a ‘leee’. While scrolling through the files, the police found a thumbnail of ‘leeee’.

The first document bore evidence to Fenech’s version initially. The second set of notes also bore some evidence to what Fenech had told the police during the time he spoke to the police before he changed his version.

‘Yorgen Fenech’s arrest was not planned for that day,’ Arnaud told the court. ‘What happened was, there were some comments on Facebook that there will be problems [gejjin il-problemi],’ Arnaud explained. He added that in the beginning the media did not report anything but eventually, Theuma’s name was out. This jeoparized their work and they had to concentrate on Fenech, Arnaud commented. Then the police sensed suspicious maneuvers by Fenech. Police officers were placed on watch: at the airport, civil police outside Portomaso, the ports, etc. The police asked for the AFM’s assistance.

11:08 Arnaud told the court that they had two tasks at hand, investigate Dr Vella and the screenshots on his phone. A police team went to look for the doctor at his residence in St Paul’s Bay. The police waited for 45 minutes to an hour outside his house, despite the police knocking at his daughter. Arnaud had given them the order to knock the door down if there was light inside. He was later brought to the police headquarters around midnight.

Vella knew various generations of the Fenech’s and met Schembri when he was sick and was introduced to him by Fenech.

From Vella’s statements to the Police it emerged that on the 24 November, Vella had gone to Schembri’s house to pick a document from Schembri’s house. Fenech had told Dr Vella: ‘ghamilli pjacir mur ghand Keith igbor xi dokument,’ and Schembri had told him ‘hudli dan ghand Yorgen.’

Dr Vella said that he did not look at the document but took it to Fenech at his Portomaso residence where Yorgen Fenech’s brother and lawyer were present. Dr Vella told the police that Yorgen Fenech spoke to Keith Schembri over the doctor’s phone.

Dr Vella deleted everything from his phone before his arrest.

11:00 ‘We had asked him if he had anything to add,’ Arnaud recalled. The police continued to investigate what Theuma and Fenech had said. On 25 November Theuma was granted presidential pardon.

‘On 25 November at 3 and 7pm, Fenech spoke to his lawyers, and made another request for presidential pardon,’ the chief investigator explained.

‘On 24 November, Dr Vella went to see Fenech and handed him some notes – this was what he had added to his statements,’ Arnaud recalled. Fenech had told the police that the document was too long – and he did not follow through with the story because it was too complicated, Arnaud further explained. ‘Fenech told us that he was promised police bail, if he stuck to this version,’ Arnaud said.

The notes were passed to the police by lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran. The first three pages contained Fenech’s handwritten notes.

There was a separate set of notes a two-pager which was also handed over to Fenech by Dr Vella while at the lock-up.

‘We didn’t know that Dr Vella knew both Fenech and Schembri,’ Arnaud told the court. ‘On the eve of his arrest Yorgen Fenech had a phone call with Schembri and the two exchanged messages. Fenech told us that he never kept any screenshots but that night he kept screenshots of their conversation,’ Arnaud told the court.

10:54 Fenech was arrested early 20 November. When he gave his first version, the 48 hours were about to expire – and he had to be released on police bail.

‘I told you what I had to tell you,’ Yorgen Fenech told the police.

Police bail was given and he went back on November 22, at 10:30am. In agreement with his lawyers, Fenech had a police at his house.

On 22 November he was not brought in immediately but at around 4.30pm. He had spoken to his lawyer. On the 23 November he had an hour with his lawyers but at 12:05pm he was referred to Mater Dei by Dr Adrian Vella. ‘If I recall correctly, it was he, who asked for Dr Vella, and Vella had referred him to Mater Dei,’ Arnaud told the court.

‘At 14.55 he was discharged and was given a note saying that he was unfit for interrogation for 24 hours. He then was released on police bail until 24 November,’ Arnaud explained.

‘From the police at his residence, Fenech was visited by his lawyer and brother,’ Arnaud added. Fenech returned to the police headquarters on 24 November at around 4.30pm.

10:43 Arnaud continued testifying on the recordings made by Theuma. It transpired that many of the recordings revolved on the granting of bail to the Degiorgio’s, what went wrong ‘kif ghaffiga’, etc.

Theuma had told us that he met Schembri twice.

A deleted file recently found in Theuma’s phone and passed over to the police is a recording of Yorgen Fenech giving Theuma for a holiday. ‘Ha hu dawn… ghax ghandek bzonn break’.

‘Melvin was obsessed that he was in danger, he explained to us – he was the one to have contracted the killing by the Degiorgio’s. Once they were arrested, he thought they would kill him since they did not know about Yorgen,’ Arnaud explained.

‘Yorgen Fenech never threatened him, Melvin told us,’ Arnaud added.

Melvin Theuma and Yorgen Fenech had a chat using Signal – two days and the eve before Theuma’s arrest. Theuma asked Fenech to help him not going to prison and to leave his partner and child out of it. Theuma reportedly said in the Signal conversation ‘ma rridx inmur 18-il sena habs fuq money laundering’. Fenech had told him he could not help him about the dates of the arrest but would try and help him with a paper on the other.

‘Fuq wahda nista nghinek fuq l-ohra ma nista naghmillek xejn,’ Yorgen Fenech had told Theuma on Signal chat.

Yorgen Fenech spoke twice informally to the police. Upon his arrest, Fenech made a request for pardon. The two times he informally spoke to the police were before Theuma was given presidential pardon. During the first two informal conversations – Theuma and Fenech’s corroborated. Then Theuma was granted presidential pardon. Yorgen Fenech reference Keith Schembri then changed. Fenech told the police that what he had said in the first two versions, were because he promised presidential pardon.

10:33 Arnaud explained that the investigators were faced with a huge dilemma when deciding to arrest Theuma. ‘If we were to arrest Theuma, and not find the recordings, we would have destroyed the work we have done up to know,’ Arnaud said.

When intercepting Theuma, the police said that they realised that he was involved in illegal betting. The investigators brought in the Economic Crime Unit and it resulted there was a case for money laundering. The Homicide Squad remained engaged with the ECU, Arnaud told the court.

‘However, if something of interest cropped up, we were kept informed,’ Arnaud explained.

Europol was also on board. The Economic Crime Unit had chosen the date 16 November 2019 for Theuma’s arrest. ‘I was not involved, however, there were preparations underway where searches would take place,’ Arnaud said.

On 14 November he was asked by Police Inspector at the ECU, he was called in when Melvin Theuma was observed doing a suspicious maneuver and went to the place where illegal betting took place. Arnaud recalled that Europol was not in Malta yet, and they were not prepared. Police Inspector Nicholas Vella led the arrests of Theuma, his partner among others.

All electronic devices seized were handed over to Europol Officer in Malta who together with their team investigated the data extracted.

Theuma was interrogated for six times. He requested pardon – if he were to give all information to the investigators to uncover the whole truth, would be granted.

Police went through all the recordings with Theuma. ‘There we had listened to names that were mentioned for the first time – Keith Schembri and Kenneth’s,’ Arnaud told the court.

10:27 Arnaud then explained how the investigation moved onto Melvin Theuma. He explained that a number of phone calls were listened to.

Somewhere in March 2018, it emerged that Mario Degiorgio spoke to Melvin Theuma. Arnaud said from the conversations they had listened to, Melvin Theuma would encourage them and promise them to send them food. ‘We had noticed that Theuma took a great interest in the Degiorgio’s. He would go frequently to Mario’s house to speak to Alfred or George over Mario’s phone,’ Arnaud explained.

Both Alfred and George Degiorgio and are in the same division, Arnaud told the court. He added that sometimes they would use each other’s pin to make an outgoing call.

Arnaud told the court that at some point Theuma sounded panicked and he kept saying that he had a problem with the accused. It was only late 2018 that the investigators understood that ‘this problem could have been related to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia,’ Arnaud explained. He mentioned that they also found out about the existence of the recordings – however, they did not know what these recordings contained.

10:20 From the investigation, it resulted that George Degiorgio had run out of credit and asked a friend to top up his phone. George Degiorgio had his own phone, a ghost phone and another phone – these three phones moved together, Arnaud explained.

Police Inspector Keith Arnaud further explained that a number was paired to a phone used by Alfred Degiorgio. During the arrests of the three, the phone was found a few meters away from where Degiorgio was arrested.

Vincent Muscat who was also indicted with the Degiorgio brothers, had a Go Mobile number and had a number which showed up close to Bidnija.

George Degiorgio’s phone was only in Bidnija on the day of the explosion. While those used by Alfred Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat had connected to the cell towers, with the investigators understanding that the two would follow Caruana Galizia’s movements.

The three ghost phones were used to communicate with each other. Muscat’s phone number was also found in the sea in Marsa.

10:10 Magistrate Rachel Montebello entered the courtroom. Chief Inspector Arnaud took the witness first. The Police Inspector said that he would like to add to his testimony. He informed the court that he would like to give the mobile numbers linked to the device which triggered the bomb that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia.

One number switched on early 2017 and used a number of times and off up to the explosion. When on, it had incoming SMSes. On the day of the bomb it was switched early morning on Monday 16 October 2017. Its location update was always Bidnija.

The number received SMSes from another mobile number which was activated at around the same time. This number was always paired to another mobile used by George Degiorgio and one of the ghost phones.

The number which activated the bomb, it resulted that it was paired with a phone and a phone which was personally registered on George Degiorgio. From the investigation, it resulted that the numbers moved together from St Paul’s Bay to Marsa and linked to various cell towers all facing the sea, until the bomb was activated by an SMS which was later decoded.

Once the SMS was sent, the boat returned to port. After the bomb was activated, the ghost phones were turned off except for one that moved with George Degiorgio. This gave a location update from a cell tower close to the potato shed in Marsa – this mobile phone was found during the raid in the sea.

10:08 The prosecution and lawyers appearing for the parte civile sat at their benches. Melvin Theuma’s lawyer Matthew Brincat is also in the courtroom.

10:06 Newsbook.com.mt is live from Hall 9 where the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech will continue. Fenech just entered the courtroom and spoke to his lawyers Marion Camilleri and Gianluca Caruana Curran.

The compilation of evidence against murder suspect Yorgen Fenech continued on Thursday morning.

During the last sitting, self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma said that could not say under oath that disgraced OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri paid him or discussed with him Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. It transpired that Yorgen Fenech had nothing to do with the possibility of granting bail to the Degiorgio brothers who are facing charges that they had detonated the bomb. It also emerged, that after an argument with Fenech, Johann Cremona who works with Fenech and Kenneth Camilleri who was part of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s security detail had visited Theuma. The latter had told Theuma about the granting of bail to the Degiorgio’s.

Chief investigator Keith Arnaud also took the witness stand. During Thursday’s sitting Arnaud is expected to continue testifying and will face cross-examination.

Police Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra led the prosecution.

Lawyers Marion Camilleri and Gianluca Caruana Curran appeared as defence counsel.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia and Andrew Borg Cardona appeared as parte civile.

Magistrate Rachel Montebello presided over the case.