The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

Schembri logs into secure messaging service Signal after he claimed to have lost his mobile phone

Tuesday, 14 January 2020, 10:29 Last update: about 8 months ago

Former OPM chief of Staff Keith Schembri and PL MP Clayton Bartolo logged into Signal from their mobile phones on Monday afternoon, roughly when newly appointed Prime Minister Robert Abela was sworn in.

Signal is similar to Whatsapp. Bartolo was one of the new Prime Minister Robert Abela's key canvassers in his campaign. Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia has asked for an explanation after it was revealed that the mobile phone used by Keith Schembri was reactivated.


Keith Schembri had claimed a few weeks back that he had lost his phone, telling the police as such when they had asked for it.

Inspector Keith Arnaud had testified in court that Schembri said the phone went missing.

In a previous court sitting, it was revealed that Schembri refused to give the police the password to his iCloud, citing sensitive government information. The password to Schembri's iCould could mean access to all data held on his mobile phone, should he store it there, as well as anything else stored on it.

Arnaud also said that police had asked for data, from services providers, to locate the last known position of Schembri's mobile phone.

He has also testified in court that Fenech had repeatedly claimed Schembri would leak him information from the investigation. Schembri, who was aware Fenech was being watched by police and attended briefings on the investigation, denies having ever passed on information to Fenech.

Schembri, also in testimony in court, said that Fenech had called him on the day before he tried to flee and informed him he was planning to go to Sicily. Schembri told him this was not a good time to go abroad. Replying to questions by the defence lawyers, Schembri had said he knew back then that Fenech was being treated as a suspect but said he could not tell Fenech. "In my position, I could not give information."

More importantly, he did not inform the police that Fenech was planning to escape.


"No, I didn't. With hindsight, I know it appears to be bad. I did what I had to do. I had told no one of my friendship with Yorgen," Schembri had said. "We can say that the objective was attained, I did my duty," he continued.

The following day, Arnaud said Schembri had claimed he had lost the phone. A number of electronic devices were collected from Schembri's home and Castille office but his mobile phone was never found.

What is Signal?

Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. It uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images and videos.



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