Last Friday, Manuel Delia wrote another article wherein he mentions my name due to my criticism for the way Magistrate Rachel Montebello conducted the inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s case.
It should be remembered that all the evidence produced so far against Yorgen Fenech is based on the recordings provided by Melvin Thuema and what the same Melvin Thuema testified in court.
Lest anyone needs reminding, all the evidence produced in court against Yorgen Fenech is based on dubious recordings and what a loan shark cum taxi driver cum money launderer called Melvin Theuma stated in court. But what is worse is that the Police only investigated a section of these recordings and in return for his contradictory and wholly unreliable testimony, Theuma who had an enormous amount of euros stashed away at home was given a clean slate by the Police Commissioner for a state pardon.
Strange now that Manuel Delia wants his readers to forget all this. But now there is more to the story that Manuel Delia wants his readers to forget. In a recent article he stated that and I quote:
What he forgot is that the Magistrate in question is none other than Rachel Montebello. She is the woman who was appointed to hear the evidence in Yorgen Fenech’s case. Her father is currently the subject of a number of scathing articles regarding a property in Gozo that belonged to the Maltese (and not Gozitan) diocese. In other words, her father got into business with Manuel Delia’s friend, Archbishop Scicluna and under very flimsy evidence, a big slice of the territory of the Catholic church in Gozo was passed to the company that was set up by Rachel Montebello’s father and others. Ironically, Archbishop Scicluna, who is one of those speaking about transparency in Daphne’s name has refused to comment.
Perhaps, one can argue that Rachel Montebello is independent of her father. In truth, Magistrate Rachel Montebello’s father happens to be a retired magistrate. In the process, Magistrate Rachel Montebello’s partner, lawyer Patrick Valentino was put in charge of this whole estate in Gozo which has now been reported to have made profits over a million euros in one year.
ICIJ journalists, through their investigation called Paradise Papers, revealed that Rachel Montebello was part of the company involved in this business prior to her appointment to the bench. But Manuel Delia conveniently omits all these facts. But what is even more curious is that when I write about Magistrate Montebello, I am accused of having an interest in attacking the said magistrate.
Imagine abroad, a magistrate whose family and in-laws are clearly involved in construction and property business, over which the media is putting pressure and shadows of doubt, is appointed by the courts to decide on the fate of a man who incidentally happens to be a property tycoon. Abroad this would have been considered a conflict of interest but in Malta, those who pride themselves to be the guardians of rectitude did not bat an eyelid and did not clamour that she should have recused herself. Yet, in other cases, they demand magistrates and judges to recuse themselves. Very strange indeed.
What Manuel Delia should write and explain is how can Magistrate Montebello pass judgments and decrees on Yorgen Fenech’s case serenely. Both Delia and the Times journalist, Jacob Borg have broken more than once Magistrate Montebello’s court order but were lucky enough that they have never been accused of contempt of court. I wonder why!