The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

Marsa network got money to men accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia, court hears

Tuesday, 3 August 2021, 10:15 Last update: about 3 months ago

A Marsa shop owner has testified how he served as the go-between to hand over money to the brother of two men accused with Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.

Joseph Brincat known as Sukku testified how Lawrence Pace, known as il-Lolly, used to give him money, which he would then hand over to Mario Degiorgio.

Mario is the brother of Alfred and George Degiorgio, both accused of carrying out the Caruana Galizia’s assassination.

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Brincat was testifying in the compilation of evidence against murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech on Tuesday.

In previous testimony, Pace had said that pardoned middleman Melvin Theuma would give him money to pass on to Mario.

The money ostensibly came from Fenech as part of an arrangement to finance the expenses of the three men accused of carrying out the bombing that killed Caruana Galizia. The three men - Alfred and George Degiorgio, and Vince Muscat - had been arrested in December 2017.

The money would then be handed to Brincat, who would give it to Mario against a receipt.

Brincat testified that Pace had approached him in June, around a year after the Degiorgio brothers were arrested in connection with the Caruana Galizia murder.

“The most he [Pace] ever gave me was €300 and other times €200, this happened some four times. This occurred once a week and happened over the span of four to six weeks,” Brincat testified.

The witness told the court that Pace told him the money was intended to give €100 each to the Degiorgio brothers and Muscat.

Earlier this year, Muscat pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 15 years in jail. The case against the Degiorgio brothers is ongoing.

Another witness, a Transport Malta official, today confirmed that the yacht by the name Gio, on which Fenech was intercepted in November 2019, was registered to the Tumas Group.

However, the witness said Fenech owned a yacht with the name Kon Tiki 2.

The compilation of evidence against Fenech continues on 9 August at 10am.

The evidence against Fenech primarily rests on the testimony of Theuma, who acted as a middleman between the business magnate and the three men who carried out the assassination. Theuma had secretly recorded various conversations between himself, Fenech and others, and was given a presidential pardon to tell all in 2019.

Caruana Galizia was murdered on 16 October 2017 just after leaving her house in Bidnija. A bomb placed inside her car was detonated remotely by an SMS.

Courtroom players

Magistrate Rachel Montebello is presiding.

Superintendent Keith Arnaud and Inspector Kurt Zahra are prosecuting, aided by Deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia.

Fenech’s defence lawyers are Marion Camilleri, Charles Mercieca and Gianluca Caruana Curran.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are appearing parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family.

10:45 That is all for today. Thank you for following.

10:44 The court says that on the sitting of 9 August there will be more witnesses. The lawyers thrash out how to make and access copies of the evidence. That done the court adjourns to 9 August at 10am.

10:36 The witness steps off the stand. Arnaud informs the court that this was the final witness for today. He says he has some pending issues on the latest note of renvoi which he wants to settle.

10:35 Inspector Kurt Zahra asks the witness about the Kon Tiki 2. It was registered with Merchant Shipping since 1987, and passed through two owners before being registered to Yorgen Fenech in 2002. The Gio was registered in 2008 by Carefree Navigation Ltd and then transferred to George Fenech before being transferred to the Tumas Group later on.

10:33 The witness says Yorgen Fenech had another boat called the Kon Tiki 2. The Gio was registered to the Tumas Group.

10:33 The next witness is Michael Savona who is testifying in representation of Transport Malta. He had been asked to look into the ownership of the Gio, the yacht which Yorgen Fenech was on when he was stopped from leaving Malta in November 2019.

10:31 Arnaud asks for the witness's nickname. "In Marsa I'm known as Sukku," he replies.

10:30 Arnaud asks the witness why the arrangement was terminated. "I don't know and it doesn't interest me," replies Brincat.

10:29 The witness says that Lolly told him the money was intended to give €100 each to the Degiorgio brothers and Vince Muscat.

10:28 Brincat: "I did it as a favour to Lolly. I said if I see him I'd pass it on to him (Mario). I said as long as he gives me a receipt. I didn't ask where the money was from or what it was for... as long as they give me a receipt. The most he ever gave me was €300 and other times €200, this happened some four times. This occurred once a week and happened over the span of four to six weeks."

10:26 The Degiorgios were in prison because of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The witness is unsure of when exactly, but recalled it was June and that "they had been inside for about a year".

10:24 He says he had been talking to Lawrence ‘Lolly' Pace, who would come to his shop. Brincat says that Mario Degiorgio, brother of George and Alfred Degiorgio, went to his shop and they had spoken about some money. "Loly said he had some money to give to Mario's brothers," the witness tells the court. The Degiorgio brothers were already in prison at the time.

10:19 The first witness today is Joseph Brincat from Marsa. He works with the Water Service Corporation and has a shop in Marsa. Superintendent Keith Arnaud for the prosecution asks the man what he knows about the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

10:17 Yorgen Fenech is led into the courtroom. The rest of the courtroom players are already here. Magistrate Rachel Montebello enters the courtroom and the sitting begins.

10:13 Good morning. We are inside the courthouse in Valletta for another sitting in the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, accused of masterminding the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

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