“If it turns out I’m lying I will ask the President to order me hanged” – Theuma

melvin-theuma
Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Middleman Melvin Theuma took the witness stand today to give his testimony as part of the public inquiry that’s looking into whether the state and its authorities could have done more to save Daphne Caruana Galizia’s life.

What were the main points of today’s hearing?

  • “I was so drawn to him that we used to travel together, he got me permission to operate my taxi from Portomaso and he used to pay for my travel,” said Theuma.
  • The board asked whether Fenech tried to reach out to Theuma following his arrest. Theuma answered with a “no”.
  • Theuma explained how at times, Fenech used to mention travelling to Bangladesh, Dubaj, Rome, Azerbajgan and France.
  • While crying, Theuma said that he is truly sorry for what he has done.
  • “If it turns out that there’s another person that gave me money to commission the murder apart from Yorgen Fenech, I ask the President to not only revoke my presidential pardon but to also give me the death penalty,” said Theuma.
11:36 Thank you for having followed our live blog.
Nicole Borg
11:35 Journalists were asked to leave the courtroom because lawyers Commodini Cachia and Azzopardi wanted to address the board behind closed doors.
Nicole Borg
11:34 The next hearing is scheduled for Friday 19th June starting at 9.30am.
Nicole Borg
11:32 Today's hearing ends here.
Nicole Borg
11:30 The board of inquiry told Theuma that he may be summoned again to testify as part of the public inquiry.
Nicole Borg
11:29 Theuma's testimony ends here.
Nicole Borg
11:28 While crying, Theuma said that he is truly sorry for what he has done. He was answering a question made by the board of inquiry asking whether he felt bad for what he did.
Nicole Borg
11:28 The board said that Theuma did the right thing.
Nicole Borg
11:26 Asked about how he feels today, Theuma told the board of inquiry that last Monday he went to the Seminary in Rabat to speak to Msgr. Deguara to seek penance and receive communion.
Nicole Borg
11:24 "I used to be scared when the civic society protests took place," said Theuma. He went on to say how Fenech used to tell him that Daphne had 4,000 people backing her.
Nicole Borg
11:23 A sarcastic smile can be seen on the faces of the Caruana Galzia family following Theuma's words.
Nicole Borg
11:22 Theuma is seen getting emotional while giving his testimony in court.
Nicole Borg
11:21 "My life ended at 3pm on the 16 of October 2017," said Theuma.
Nicole Borg
11:20 Theuma explained that Fenech used to cover a lot of Theuma's expenses.
Nicole Borg
11:19 Azzopardi asked whether he felt obliged to do whatever Yorgen Fenech asked him to do.
Nicole Borg
11:16 Azzopardi asked Theuma if he had told the Police that he had rented out an appartment to the Degiorgio brothers in Mosta which was used for ulterior motives.

Theuma confirmed.
Nicole Borg
11:12 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi questioned the witness on matters he has already testified about within the compilation of evidence.
Nicole Borg
11:10 Theuma explained that Fenech was travelling frequently with his private jet. He said that he knew this because he used to drop him off at the airport himself.

He explained how at times, Fenech used to mention travelling to Bangladesh, Dubaj, Rome, Azerbajgan and France.
Nicole Borg
11:07 Theuma repeats that they met twice at Fenech's farmhouse and once at Portomaso. He explained how during the meetings they used to try to calm him down. He said they used to discuss the murder, including pinning it on Cardona.
Nicole Borg
11:07 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia asked the witness about the three meetings he had with Yorgen Fenech and Johann Cemona.
Nicole Borg
11:03 "If it turns out that there's another person that gave me money to commission the murder apart from Yorgen Fenech, I ask the President to not only revoke my presidential pardon but to also give me the death penalty, because only Yorgen Fenech ever gave me any money," Melvin Theuma insisted.
Nicole Borg
11:00 Theuma is mentioning again points that he brought forward in his testimony in the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech himself which is being heard by Magistrate Rachel Montebello.

He said that the Degiorgio brothers and Vince Muscat had said that they were putting the blame on Chris Cardona while in the prison van following one of their hearings. He said that these words were recorded by the prison guards themselves and that this was said to him by Yorgen Fenech.
Nicole Borg
10:58 "They used to mention Cardona a lot but I always had my doubt about his involvement as I always spoke to Fenech," said Theuma.
Nicole Borg
10:53 Theuma insisted that he never met with Chris Cardona nor with people close to him.

"Only Yorgen Fenech sent me with money to cover the assassination," said Theuma.
Nicole Borg
10:52 Theuma said that they used to tell him that if he got arrested he was to say that it was Chris Cardona that commissioned the murder.
Nicole Borg
10:51 Theuma also said that Camilleri had told him that the number was wrong as that was the number of the person that commissioned the murder.

"On that day I rebelled and I told him that it was Yorgen Fenech that commissioned the murder. I said this in front of Johann Cremona," Theuma said in court.
Nicole Borg
10:50 Theuma recounted how once when he was at Cremona's office with Kenneth Camilleri present, he showed him three mobile numbers. One of these numbers was an old one that was used by Theuma himself in the past.
Nicole Borg
10:48 The board asked about when Johann Cremona came to know that Fenech was involved with the assassination.
Nicole Borg
10:47 Theuma said that during these meetings, Johann Cremona has tried to calm him down together with Yorgen Fenech.
Nicole Borg
10:45 Theuma said as well that Johann Cremona knew that Yorgen Fenech had ordered the assassinations because there were three meetings held with him following the murder. One at Portomaso and another two in Żebbuġ.
Nicole Borg
10:43 Theuma said that Fenech and Johann Cremona used to tell him about a lot of things. He said that they told him about the raid and that they would give him a list of locations where the police were meant to raid. They told him that they would also give him a list of questions he was going to be asked. They informed him that he won't be arrested in relation to the murder. Theuma said that none of what they said happened.
Nicole Borg
10:42 Theuma said that when he was being interrogated, Silvio Valletta was never present. He said it was always Kurt Zahra and Keith Arnaud.
Nicole Borg
10:39 The board asked whether Fenech tried to reach out to Theuma following his arrest. Theuma answered with a "no".
Nicole Borg
10:37 Theuma told the board of inquiry that he doesn't understand how VInce Muscat was unveiling everything when he had never met him.

"That's why I couldn't understand how il-Koħħu was exposing information according to what Fenech told him," said Theuma.
Nicole Borg
10:32 Theuma said that Yorgen Fenech used to tell him that if they remain united they will remain safe, but if they argue then they will start having problems.
Nicole Borg
10:31 Melvin Theuma said that Fenech had told him that he had always done things as should be done when going into the electrogas deal. He also said that Fenech told him that he was feeling as if he was trapped in a cage because of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Nicole Borg
10:30 The board of inquiry asked Theuma if he had known about the Electrogas deal.
Nicole Borg
10:30 Melvin Theuma qal ukoll li Yorgen Fenech didn't always use to tell him everything. He said now he's realising just how many things he wasn't told.
Nicole Borg
10:25 "Fenech trusts Keith Schembri more than he does Silvio Valletta," said Theuma.
Nicole Borg
10:22 Theuma said that Casa was speaking a lot about 17 Black and that's the reason why Casa offered the money. "I didn't know what 17 Black was exactly," Theuma said.
Nicole Borg
10:19 Theuma said that Fenech had offered money to the Nationalist Party to try and ensure that MEP David Casa is not re-elected.
Nicole Borg
10:15 Theuma mentioned again how he once saw Silvio Valletta when he was visiting Fenech at his farmhouse in Żebbuġ.
Nicole Borg
10:13 Theuma said thay Fenech sometimes called Keith Schembri in front of him. He confirmed that by saying that once Fenech showed him a photo passed along to him by Schembri himself while he was cooking some rabbit.
Nicole Borg
10:11 Theuma is currently mentioning the instance when he went to Castille to get government employment.
Nicole Borg
10:10 Theuma said that Fenech didn't use to tell him what he used to do at Castille.
Nicole Borg
10:10 Theuma said that before he was instructed to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia, Theuma drove Yorgen Vella to Castille several times.
Nicole Borg
10:08 Theuma testified that Fenech had called him during that week to drive him to the airport. When they arrived, Fenech pulled out €150,000 and said that they were the payment for the murder.
Nicole Borg
10:07 Theuma had passed along €300,000 which Fenech had won from bets on elections.
Nicole Borg
10:06 Theuma mentioned again how on the day when the election was won by the Labour Party, Fenech had called him to proceed with the assassination plans.
Nicole Borg
10:05 In the meantime, the 2017 general election was announced and Fenech asked Theuma to halt the plans. Theuma had told him that there was nothing for him to stop as technically nothing had started yet.
Nicole Borg
10:03 Theuma mentioned again how he met one of the Degiorgio brothers and they had asked for €150,000. He had informed Fenech about this, and Fenech had said that he will speak to him about it later on.
Nicole Borg
10:01 Melvin Theuma said that he thinks that Fenech asked him whether he knew the Degiorgios.
Nicole Borg
10:01 Theuma said that he hadn't asked him whether he knew what he was doing.
Nicole Borg
10:00 The board asked Theuma if he had asked Fenech about what was motivating him to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Nicole Borg
09:58 According to Theuma, Fenech said that he wanted to kill Daphne because she has information about his uncle and she was going to release it.

"In reality, things later changed," said Theuma.
Nicole Borg
09:57 Theuma said he had no idea just how bad the situation was.
Nicole Borg
09:56 The board asked Theuma how he felt when Fenech told him what his intentions were.
Nicole Borg
09:55 Theuma said that he met Fenech next to the Blue Elephant restaurant. "He told me to help him as he want to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia," said Theuma.
Nicole Borg
09:54 Theuma explained that when Fenech spoke to him about what he was supposed to do, he had just finished his shift from Portomaso. He wed home to put his car in the garage and then Fenech called him. Theuma said that he didn't feel like going to meet him, but he went anyways.
Nicole Borg
09:52 Theuma said that when Fenech approached him he had no clue who the other people asked to be part of this were.
Nicole Borg
09:50 Theuma said that he considers Theuma as a good friend of his.

"I was so drawn to him that we used to travel together, he got me permission to operate my taxi from Portomaso and he used to pay for my travel," said Theuma.
Nicole Borg
09:49 The board asked Theuma how long has he known Yorgen Fenech. Theuma replied saying he has known Fenech for seven years. For as long as he has been providing his taxi services in front of Hilton Hotel.
Nicole Borg
09:48 The board of inquiry warned the witness that as per normal procedure he is bound to say the truth and nothing but. Failure to do this would mean that his presidential pardon would be revoked.
Nicole Borg
09:45 Melvin Theuma, the middleman was asked to come into the courtroom to start his testimony.
Nicole Borg
09:44 The court agreed that this can be done in another hearing.
Nicole Borg
09:44 Lawyer Azzopardi was told that a point for his attention was brought up by Daphne's sister Corinne Vella.
Nicole Borg
09:43 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is asking the board to re-listen to a part of the recording that was heard in court during the hearing held last February.
Nicole Borg
09:42 The hearing for today is starting now.
Nicole Borg
09:41 Theuma had recorded conversations that he had with Yorgen Fenech. Within these conversations they referred to Silvio Valletta as "Valletta l-oħxon" (Valletta the fat one).
Nicole Borg
09:40 Middleman Melvin Theuma is expected to give his testimony today.
Nicole Borg
09:39 Silvio Valletta who used to occupy the role of Deputy Commissioner of Police was ordered to stop investigating the assassination case after the Constitutional Court found that the fundamental rights of the victim's family were not considered.
Nicole Borg
09:37 On Monday, Acting Police Commissioner Carmelo Magri said that the electronic equipment such as laptops and mobiles weren't taken by eks Deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta to be investigated.
Nicole Borg
09:36 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia that is also representing the Caruana Galizia family just arrived in courtroom 20.
Nicole Borg
09:35 The public inquiry hearing was meant to start at 9.30pm.
Nicole Borg
09:33 The public inquiry board is made up of Judge Emeritus Michael Mallia, Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro.
Nicole Borg
09:31 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is present in the court room. Present are also members of the Caruana Galizia family.
Nicole Borg
09:30 Journalista are present in court room 20.
Nicole Borg
09:28 Good morning. Welcome to our live blog.
Nicole Borg

The last hearing was held on Monday when Acting Police Commissioner Carmelo Magri took the stand. Among the points that stood out from his testimony, he said that no electronic equipment that is laptops or mobile phones, was seized from former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta.