Mario Cutajar given access to Malta’s Security Committee

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The public inquiry on the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continued this afternoon. The Head of the Secret Services testified in court behind closed doors.

  • Confirmed; The Head of Civil Service attended Security Committee meetings
  • Mr Josef Bugeja is asked if he ever met Keith Schembri at Castille
  • The Public Inquiry board requests Mr Bugeja to continue testifying behind closed doors
  • The next sitting will take place on Friday 24th January

15:24 This live blog ends here. Thank you for following. Next sitting will be held this Friday, 24th January. The next sitting will also take place behind closed doors.
Amy Borg
15:23 Mr.Bugeja is still testifying behind closed doors
Amy Borg
15:05 According to Law, the security service falls under the responsibility of the person appointed by the Prime Minister. The Head of the Security Services has to present an annual report that has to be presented to the Prime Minister.

The members of the Security Services are to be appointed by the head of the MSS. These include a public officer, a member of the Armed Forces of Malta and a member from the Police corps amongst others.

Law states that there needs to be a Security Committee formed by the Prime Minister, the Minister responsible for the Secret Service, the Minister responsible for International Affairs and the Leader of the Opposition. This committee has to compile an annual report.

Decisions by this committee are to be taken if at least 2 members are present.
Amy Borg
14:46 The case will continue to be heard behind closed doors. The family of Mrs.Caruana Galizia will remain indoors. The press is asked to leave the courtroom.
Amy Borg
14:38 Mr. Mario Cutajar is the Principal Permanent Secretary and according to Lawyer Dr. Jason Azzopardi, he cannot be present to meetings related to the Malta Security Services tasks/operations. Mr. Bugeja replies that to his knowledge and according to law, yes, Mr.Cutajar can be present to MSS related meetings.
Amy Borg
14:33 Dr Jason Azzopardi asks Mr Bugeja if he ever met Keith Schembri at the Office of the Prime Minister in Castille. Mr Bugeja is requested to reply to this question behind closed doors. The request was made by the public inquiry board.
Amy Borg
14:31 Asked if Mr Mario Cutajar ever attended to a Security Committee Meeting, Mr Bugeja replied, yes.
Amy Borg
14:29 Bugeja says that the Police Commissioner is not always informed by the information they receive or by the information gathered by the MSS. He mentions that the MSS work in collaboration with different Police sections.
Amy Borg
14:25 Every time the MSS is requested to investigate certain calls they compile the information gathered and if needs be the information is reported to the police to investigate.
Amy Borg
14:19 Mr Bugeja says that every information received is evaluated by MSS.
Amy Borg
14:10 The Head of the MSS, Joseph Bugeja, starts to testify in court. He has occupied the post since December 2014.
Amy Borg

After today’s public inquiry sitting ended, the Office of the Principle Permanent Secretary released a statement saying that the person acting as the head of the civil service had been acting as the Security Committee’s secretary since 2001.

According to the statement, the decision in 2001 was approved by then PM Eddie Fenech Adami.

The Office released a photo of the minutes showing Fenech Adami’s signature approving this decision.

This week, on Monday 20th January, the former chief of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, Manfred Galdes, testified in court followed by Kenneth Farrugia who is the current FIAU chief. Mr Farrugia was to answer the public inquiry board’s questions behind closed doors.