The Daphne Project reveals how state witness got his pardon

Melvin Theuma
Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Times of Malta has revealed how Melvin Theuma, who has turned state witness in the murder case of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was granted presidential pardon last year.

A day before Malta marks the third year since Daphne Caruana Galizia was brutally assassinated in a car bomb just outside her home in Bidnija, the Times of Malta along with other foreign news outlets involved in The Daphne Project have published information shedding light onto the case.

French NGO, Forbidden Stories, coordinates The Daphne Project, which is composed of 18 media outlets around the world.

The Times of Malta explained that when Theuma was arrested on 14 November 2019, he first sought to find legal representation among vocal Partit Nazzjonalista MPs calling Simon Busuttil, Jason Azzopardi and Karol Aquilina to have him represent him in the case. All three declined. The brief was taken up eventually by Matthew Brincat and Kathleen Grima.

The local daily explained that Theuma and his lawyers insisted on signing a memorandum of understanding with the Police Commissioner, the Attorney General, and the Prime Minister, before Theuma would spill the beans on the case. Usually such arrangements are only entered into when a suspect collaborates with the police and the evidence provided is corroborated.

Melvin Theuma’s name was first dropped by suspected hitman Vince Muscat known as il-Koħħu, who was arrested in December 2017 along with brothers Degiorgio. Muscat had given the police information about unsolved cases and made a request for presidential pardon.

Theuma who was arrested in his partner’s car, had his ice-cream box containing the recordings of his conversations with murder suspect Yorgen Fenech and others. He had immediately informed the police that he would like to speak with Police Inspector and lead Prosecutor Keith Arnaud “about the murder”.

When the Times of Malta broke the news that Theuma sought pardon, disgraced then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had confirmed that he had granted Theuma pardon in a decision he took alone without involving the cabinet.

The newspaper quotes a lawyer appearing for Yorgen Fenech claiming that Theuma had obtained the pardon in a corrupt means, however, he did substantiate his claims.

Fenech who was arrested on 19 November, has denied charges of complicity to murder.

Under interrogation, Fenech told the police that disgraced then OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri had asked him to find someone to carry out the murder.