Malta, a small island of only 475,000 inhabitants in the middle of the Mediterranean with a distance of 50 miles south of the Italian coast and 221 miles north of Tripoli. Malta was once part of the British empire from 1814 to 1964 and achieved complete independence in 1979. And since Malta is a formal British colony, English is the second language and Maltese being the first. While the Mediterranean island is a perfect tourist destination with its wonderful weather and clear ocean.
Malta has been bogged down with political scandals and corruption for years. Just recently as 2017 the island made international news with the murder of Maltese Journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia. On October 16, 2017, the wife and mother of three left her home to run errands when a bomb exploded that had been planted underneath her car. Investigators believe the person or persons used a remote control to detonate the bomb.
Who Was Daphne Caruana Galizia?
Daphne Caruana Galizia was a Maltese journalist who reported on events within the region. Her primary focus was the large amount of corruption that was prevalent throughout the political establishment on the island.
She worked for the “Sunday Times of Malta” and the “Malta Independent” from 1992 until her death in 2017. Daphne also ran a blog “Running Commentary” which focused on investigative journalism in Malta. The journalist is also known for her feud with Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, his wife, and government officials in connection with the Panama papers. She accused the Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat and his wife of owning an offshore company in Panama called “Egrant.” Later on in 2018 after an extensive independent (the investigation is questionable giving it’s connection to the prime minister) investigation, the allegation was proved false. Daphne also accused the prime minister of allowing organized crime from Italy to operate in Malta.
She wrote about Joseph Muscat’s best friend and Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri that he also owned an offshore shell company. Along with other government officials who held offshore shell companies were Malta’s Member of Parlament, Konrad Mizzi. He was accused of owning a shell company in New Zealand along with his co-worker Keith Schembri. Through her reporting, Daphne realized that her country was a hub for illegal drug trafficking, people smuggling and a playground for Italy’s organized crime. She pointed to the prime minister and his government as the source of Malta’s rampant corruption.
Daphne wrote articles on the prime minister and his cabinet accusing them of being crooks and so did the threats from anonymous persons and libel suits from the prime minister. In the years before her murder, she had received death threats in the form of letters, emails, her dog throat was slit, phone calls, and somebody set the front door of her house on fire with the intent of killing her and her family. Daphne dedicated her life to fighting truly crooked evil people so it’s no surprise she attracted these death threats from the wicked of the human race. After the death of the Journalist, the prime minister promised to use all his resources in catching those responsible for Daphne’s murder.
Murder Links To Government
In December 2017, several people had been arrested including three main suspects accused in connection with setting off the bomb that killed the mother of three. the accused were Vince Muscat, Alfred Degiorgio, and George Degiorgio. The trial for the three suspects began last year but the investigation continues as authorities believe the three men were only hired to kill the journalist. As leads into the probe were hitting dead ends investigators got a lead last November. A self-confessed, “middle man” Melvin Theuma came forward in court to testify that he knew who was responsible for the murdered journalist.
Melvin Theuma was arrested last November on money-laundering charges. In exchange for having all charges dropped in his case, he offered to provide crucial evidence in the Daphne Caruana murder case trial. Melvin Theuma says he was directed by local businessman Yorgen Fenech to plan the murder. Fenech, a Maltese business that owns many casinos in Malta and companies in Dubai. One company he owns in Dubai is 17 black Limited.
The prime minister’s staff used this company for money laundering. Through this company, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi received and routed money to their offshore shell companies. Yorgen Fenech has also been accused of bribing local politicians to suit his needs. Melvin Theuma describes in great detail how he was giving funds from Yorgen Fenech to give to the three alleged suspects in the murder plot. Also, he says he had meetings with the prime minister’s staff before and after the murder-which included Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.
In November of last year the businessman Yorgen Fenech after having received a tip-off attempted to run by leaving the island on his yacht. The police were lucky as they were able to apprehend him before he could run from justice. The businessman has denied accusations that he was the mastermind behind the journalist’s death. Fingers have pointed towards the prime minister chief of staff, Keith Schembri as the mastermind. Since Daphne Caruana’s death, both Keith Schembri and Konrad have both resigned because of the large amount of political corruption in the government office.
In November of 2019, masses of people went to the streets to demand the prime minister step down because of his connections to the murder of the slain journalist. In January of 2020, prime minister, Joseph Muscat officially stepped down from office do to the political scandal. The trial for the murder of the journalist and the investigation is still ongoing.