“It’s a long, long road, from which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there, why not share?
And the long doesn’t way me down at all
He ain’t heavy – he’s my brother.”
In 1969, The Hollies, a British rock group, released the song ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’ which made it to the hit parade. The song, a rock ballad, talks about the difficult journey by brothers and how they get through it through sharing the burden. The title came from the motto for Boys Town, a community in Nebraska, formed in 1917 by a Catholic priest named Father Edward Flanagan. It was a place where troubled or homeless boys could come for help. In 1941, Father Flanagan was reading a magazine called The Messenger when he came across a drawing of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, with the caption, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.” The quote became the logo for Boys’ Town. It shows what sacrifices brothers are ready to do for each other.
The song sprang to my mind last Friday when I was reading the ‘as it happens’ reporting of the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017. Inspector Kurt Zahra was giving evidence about the relationship between Yorgen Fenech, Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri. Replying to questions by lawyer Jason Azzopardi, he confirmed that the three shared a private WhatsApp group. Kurt Zahra testified that Yorgen Fenech revealed the group when he was interrogated in November last year. “We were like brothers,” Fenech told police.
The relationship between the ex-prime minister, his ex-chief of staff and the businessman has been under the microscope since Fenech’s arrest in connection with the murder of the journalist who was investigating government corruption. Recently it was revealed that Fenech told investigators that Keith Schembri was the mastermind behind the murder while Joseph Muscat was one of the only three persons who knew about the plot to murder the journalist.
Earlier we learnt that Adrian Vella, the carrier pigeon flying between Keith Schembri and Yorgen Fenech, had already testified that Yorgen Fenech did not have any intention of taking all the blame. He said to Dr Vella that “if I go down, I’ll bring everyone else down with me.”
Inspector Kurt Zahra told the court that Yorgen Fenech said the killing of the journalist was not his idea, but Keith Schembri’s. And Yorgen Fenech confirmed this by telling the police that Schembri told him to find someone to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia. He brought it up a number of times starting in 2014 and asked the businessman to finance it. Yorgen Fenech told the police that Keith Schembri “wanted to get rid of her because she was a lot of trouble”.
Inspector Kurt Zahra told the Court that when, later, Fenech told him he had found hitmen to do the job for €120,000, eventually going up to €150,000 the former chief of staff replied “mexxi, mexxi, mexxi.” Fenech also told police that Schembri paid €85,000 to the middleman Melvin Theuma as part of the plan for the assassination.
Kurt Zahra testified that Yorgen Fenech said that Joseph Muscat had spoken to him twice about the case. First at a meeting in Castille, where he said Muscat asked him if he trusted middleman Melvin Theuma. “Not really,” he replied,“because he’s recording me”. Fenech and Muscat met again when Fenech was invited to Muscat’s lavish birthday party in early 2019 at the Girgenti residence when not even Cabinet ministers were invited. And it was at this occasion that Yorgen Fenech gifted the ex-prime minister with two bottles of expensive Petrus wine. Then, Joseph Muscat already knew that Yorgen Fenech was the prime suspect.
The police believe the assassination happened after more than half a million emails regarding the Electrogas power station were leaked to Daphne getting her to probe the deal.
In 2014 Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi had had a secret meeting with Azeri president Ilham Aliyev where they discussed the Socar oil deal.
Suspicions that both Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri were involved in the assassination were rife in November last year when civil society took to the streets in thousands asking for their resignations. Finally they all resigned: from the prime minister down to Keith Schembri, ministers Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona and police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar. Peter Grech, the Attorney General, will be resigning later this month.
It is not over yet. But little by little we are getting there. The noose is tightening, slowly but steadily. The interrogation of Joseph Muscat, under caution, by the police means that we are closer to the truth which will eventually come out. The look on the face of Pawlu Lia showed that not all was satisfactory, although Joseph tried to play it down. In the words of Malta’s greatest ever politician, Eddie Fenech Adami, “is-sewwa jirbaħ żgur”.