Oh for shame. This is the absolute pits. Are our newspapers dead in the water already?

Published: August 22, 2013 at 9:40am

police logs

This is what those who voted Labour have brought down on us: a police commissioner who abuses his position and openly fights the battles of the men – Police Minister Manuel Mallia and his head of secretariat, Silvio Scerri – who appointed him.

And this against a weak and vulnerable private citizen, with certain problems, aged 27, who has already been wrongly arrested, arraigned and held on remand when it was known that another man had admitted to the crime.

There’s more, and worse: this man’s case is up now for hearing before the Police Board, whose members are made up entirely – except for the chairman, a retired judge – of the personal friends and associates of Manuel Mallia and Silvio Scerri, plus one failed Labour electoral candidate.

The first controversy erupted over the arraignment of this innocent man when the guilty man was known to the police.

The second controversy occurred last Saturday. The news broke – not thanks to the investigations of the press, but through shadow police minister Jason Azzopardi, who informed the press which then comfortably took notes – that the man who spent 14 years in prison for stabbing Richard Cachia Caruana in 1994 (he was then personal assistant to prime minister Fenech Adami) had gone in search of this wrongly accused man, Borg, and told him to go with him to Manuel Mallia’s ministry because ‘somebody wants to speak to him’.

This man is Charles Attard, known as Iz-Zambi. Most subsequent press reports and press questions described him only as a convicted criminal, when that is hardly the key significance. A convicted criminal can be anything – a handbag thief, for instance, or a dealer in illegal porn. The significance of Charles Iz-Zambi having been sent to fetch Borg for a meeting at Manuel Mallia’s ministry, and having sat through the meeting there with his head of secretariat Silvio Scerri, is that he stabbed Richard Cachia Caruana and that Manuel Mallia was defence lawyer to Meinrad Calleja, in his jury trial for commissioning Charles iz-Zambi and others to commit that very same stabbing.

THAT is what is shocking about the meeting. THAT is its significance. A meeting with any old criminal would have been really bad, yes, but with this one it is particularly significant and particularly bad.

Now the police commissioner has come out fighting Scerri’s and Mallia’s battles. He said it was Darryl Luke Borg who contacted the ministry and not the other way round. “The phone logs show this,” he told the press. But for heaven’s sake, what phone logs? Don’t the press even bother to ask?

It is AGAINST THE LAW for the police to obtain phone logs without the appropriate authorisation from a superior authority (the courts). It must petition the courts and the telecoms provider has every right to object. They usually do. When the police, six years ago, petitioned for the release of mobile phone logs to see who was around our house the night it was set on fire in the early hours (except for those who lived in the area, that is), the mobile telephony providers objected on data protection grounds, and the court upheld their objection.

So, what phone logs is the police commissioner talking about? Phone logs obtained illegally? The ministry’s own phone logs? Phone logs from all mobile telephony providers? Phone logs from Go and Melita?


Unless the police commissioner has all phone logs from all providers and has cross-checked a great variety of personal and office numbers, both mobile and fixed, for the several individuals involved, he has no way of knowing who contacted who first.

But he can’t possibly have done this. 1. It is illegal, and 2. he doesn’t have the necessary information and he hasn’t had the time to do all that.

There is another crucial point. THIS STARTED WHEN CHARLES IZ-ZAMBI WAS SENT TO FETCH DARRYL BORG AND TAKE HIM TO THE MINISTRY. Silvio Scerri claims that he didn’t send him. This is hard to believe. Why would Charles iz-Zambi spontaneously go to look for Darryl Borg and decide, for no particular reason, to take him to meet the minister’s head of secretariat?

Bear in mind that, had the minister himself not been away on holiday, he would probably have taken him to meet the minister, not his underling.

If a man is sent to fetch another one, this constitutes making the first approach/contact, and IT DOES NOT SHOW UP ON PHONE LOGS. OBVIOUSLY.

59 Comments Comment

  1. observer says:

    Pure, unadulterated, STASI stuff.

  2. Candida says:

    I couldn’t stand the sight and sound of Police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit on NET TV trying to explain basic things his own way.

    He thought he was explaining to a group of year 3 primary pupils.

  3. Joe Micallef says:

    I nearly choked on my espresso this morning.

    What terrified me more is the fact that Times of Malta thinks it has a really good news item rather than an extremely worrying statement.

  4. La Redoute says:

    This was a police press conference called in defence of the Minister of Home Affairs’ representative, Silvio Scerri. Anyone who doubts this should read the last paragraph in The TImes’ report. The only common element in the two unrelated incidents, the most recent being far more serious in nature, is Silvio Scerri.


  5. Roy says:

    Ic-chat logs jistaw jigu biss jew fuq investigazzjoni kriminali jew bil-kunsens tal-vittma li f’dan il-kas il-cop biex jaghtti xturu jista jighd li gara hekk.

    Li missu staqsa ir-reporter huwa li chat logs ta’ liema mobile, ic-chief of staff kemm ghandu mobiles, ma setax cempillu fuq land line, knowing li kienu qed jitkellmu ma nies mhux daqsekk subajhom dritt mhux ovvja li ma ntuzax il-mobile u intbaghat postman.

    Xi kultant jahsbuhom fidili in-nies.

    Mhux ovvja ser jaqbes ghac chief of staff jekk il-cop sar cop min l-istess ministeru.

    Hemm bzonn li l-oppozizjoni tqum naqra fuq taghha fuq dawn l-affarijiet.

  6. meritocracygalore says:

    Seems like the man in the street is now following our Ministers’ examples in a new way….


  7. PWG says:

    It could well be that Borg phoned the ministry. What that does prove? He could have been advised by iz-Zambi to make contact, or by someone else, for that matter.

    The police commissioner should never have gone public, especially at this early stage. He needs some lessons in best practice.

    When Tonio Fenech, prior to the election, gave details relating to a meeting with the commissioner, the latter refused to elaborate when pressed to do so by some journalists.

  8. TinaB says:

    Do the police also arrest people for stealing water, by filling it in jerry cans, from public fountains?

  9. J says:

    I’m taking bets on the PM’s response:

    1/2: ‘Allura ma kienx hemm min mar jiltaqa’ ma’ Zeppi l-Hafi’.
    1/3: ‘Forsi ghandu kwalitajiet tajbin u ohrajn inqas tajbin’.
    1/1000: ‘Din is-sitwazzjoni hija tassew inkwetanti u se nwaqqaf inkjesta indipendenti u nissospendi lil-Ministru minn dmirijietu sakemm ir-rapport jigi pprezentat lill-Kamra tad-Deputati u jkun hemm diskussjoni aperta u hielsa.’

    Of course, this latest story is hardly surprising when in his capacity of Leader of the Opposition, in his capacity as Prime Minister, and again in his capacity of Leader of the Opposition, Alfred Sant spoke to the press practically as though he were Meinrad Calleja’s defence lawyer…with PM Poodle as his chief cheerleader.

    But everybody will be as oblivious to the horrific danger this poses as they have been for the past 20 years.

    In Malta, it’s OK to collude with murderers for political gain as long as you’re not Nationalist.

    • J says:

      Sorry, I’ll reply to myself before this is even moderated (and sorry for typos) – this is a bit of a pet peeve…

      Joseph Muscat was instrumental in doing the following:

      Richard Cachia Caruana was Eddie Fenech Adami’s closest confidant, yet the MLP managed to make Zeppi l-Hafi the issue.

      This meant that it was impossible for the state to secure a conviction because more than 50% of the population did not believe a word Zeppi l-Hafi said. This was reflected in the jury’s decision.

      The state would not have granted Zeppi l-Hafi a pardon if several people were not convinced that this was necessary. Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami was involved, but this wasn’t his decision alone. The Attorney General and the Police Commissioner (the latter is, of course, a completely different species to the current holder of the post) also played a part, and this is a matter of public record.

      Meinrad Calleja, who went on trial for attempting to murder the prime minister’s personal assistant, had the (unofficial) help of the Labour press. He did not get away with it completely. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for cocaine trafficking.

      Richard Cachia Caruana, a human being (contrary to popular belief) who suffered a severe physical and emotional trauma (he was stabbed in the back, at night, outside his home, FFS), did not see justice done in his case.

      Alfred Sant gained brownie points with the thick as pigs*!t electorate.

      Eddie Fenech Adami lost points.

      Joseph Muscat became Prime Minister. Well done, Malta.

  10. hopeful says:

    But for heaven’s sake what do you expect from SUCH a Police Commissioner? Echoes of Pullicino are heared in the hills.

  11. Bubu says:

    And how about the attacks by the Labour-leaning newspapers on the police inspector who brought the *real* perpetrator to justice?

  12. Jozef says:

    Inspector Taliana’s taking Maltatoday to court, the lies and blatant twisting of facts sublime, and not a word anywhere either.

    Prove d’orchestra for the future, human rights abuse, cover-ups and arbitrary power. Thanks to a press which has been silenced or bought. A roster on TVM it is then.

    Your article today nailed it, may I add that it will depend on the integrity of the so called opinion makers, journalists and ‘intellectuals’ to speak out, show some mettle. If they even have what it takes, mentally, culturally and spiritually.

    At the moment, all I see, is one woman with a blog.

    • Jozef says:

      It’s not objective to say that the PN can counterbalance at the moment, not when the hostility to its legacy regarding anything with a sembiance of civil behaviour can be seen dripping from their websites.

      Maltatoday will insist on commentary to some boxing match, The Times unleash Sansone’s camouflaged penchant for social justice.

      And everything takes on Muscat’s flavour for comparison, relativistic takes on fundamental values, what matters is whether we’re enamoured of this lie of a movement or not. The weak just follow.

      As if a country can give up itself to an ideology and not degenerate into a miniature Pyongyang.

      Meantime, Net News doubled its viewership. The joys of a market economy.

    • Jozef says:


      Presumably were the inspector a protected species of bird, he’d get better treatment. Or perhaps the inspector was involved in other investigations, leading him to exotic isles in the Caribbean.

  13. Eve says:

    At the rate we’re going we’ll soon be another China in the Med.

    For heaven’s sake where are our journalists? Oh probably they are only reporters so they don’t ask questions.

    They only feel safe when hounding a PN minister as they know that the PN is a party which really believes in democracy.

    They went after Tonio Fenech for a measly clock. But no, something like this and they’re mum.

    Maltese “journalists”, what are you afraid of? The wrath of your employer, the minister, the chief of staff?

    I have shunned the Times of Malta, never read the pro labour press and read The Independent.

    To chant the Labour mantra during the election campaign – Shame on you.

  14. Kevin says:

    Sadly, most will dismiss your story as “mud-slinging” and the press would never pick on this post to investigate further and ask questions.

    Another nail in the coffin of Maltese journalism.

  15. Galian says:

    I only managed to stand a couple of minutes listening to the Police Commissioner on ‘Iswed fuq l-Abjad’ or whatever the programme is called. My intelligence couldn’t stand more insults.

  16. S Borg says:

    Even if what he alleges is true – that Mr Borg called first – it does not necessarily mean that it was Mr Borg who made first contact.

    Could it be that Mr Borg was called through iz-Zambi, and Mr Borg in turn called to verify the authenticity of iz-Zambi’s visit? I would certainly have done so if iz-Zambi turned up on my door step and insisted I go with him. After all, given the circumstances, I would not call the Police for assistance.

  17. Edgar says:

    Now why did many of my friends not believe me, when before the elections I warned them that this lot, if elected, will take us back to the bad old times because they have the very same attitude. They wanted a f*cking change. Issa hudu go fikhom, u ahna maghkom.

  18. qronfla says:

    Jidher li huwa kaz serju hafna u li jghalek tithasseb hafna.

    Il-kummissarju ghandu hafna xi jwiegeb. Jien tlift il-fiducja fih ghall kollox issa.

  19. Toyger says:

    On a different note, more details for the taghna lkoll appointments.
    Social Security Act (Cap 318)
    Drs Joe Brincat and Sharon Brincat Ruffini are husband and wife
    Dr Joshua Chetcuti is Dr Paul Chetcuti Caruana’s son (ex mayor of Mosta)
    Dr Jan Chircop is the sone of the late PL MP Karl Chircop
    Dr Silvio Grixti is a failed PL candidate in last election
    Dr Vincent Moran
    Dr Anglu Psaila
    Dr adrian Vassallo
    Dr Joseph Zarb Adami, known laboyr supporter
    Prof Anthony Zammit
    Dr Daryl Xuereb, was going to contest elections on PL ticket butsuddenky decided not to (he did give a speech at one oof their general conferences)
    Dr Jurgen Abela is brother of Dr Gunther Abela, who was appointed to the Malta Red Cross Society Management Committee in No458
    Govt Formulary List Advisory Appeals Committee: Dr Sandra Gauci is Marlene Farrugia’s sister

  20. twanny borg says:

    il-gurnali zbaljaw wkoll ma staqsewx ezatt din it-telefonata li sar riferenza ghaliha meta u x’hin saret.

    Telefonata ma tindika xejn ghax jista’ xi hadd ta’ lil borg numru biex icempel.

    Pero naqbel mieghek hafna gurnali jitfu rapporti b’hafna mistoqsijiet mhux imwiegba.

  21. Aunt Hetty says:


    I thought this had something to do with the jerrycans being filled up with water from the fountain of Pjazza San Gorg, on a regular basis.

  22. Rumplestiltskin says:

    Can you imagine what the press corps in England, the US or Canada would have made of this? But the reporters in Malta happily just scribble their notes and regurgitate what they’ve been told. Don’t they have any pride in their profession?

  23. WhoamI? says:

    I was disgusted reading the report on The Times yesterday. How is it possible that the Police Commissioner can get away with this much?

    Have all the phone logs been analysed? Personal mobile phones, work mobile phones, home landlines, telephone boxes, unregistered mobile phone sim cards, Skype, Viber, Google?

  24. Antoine Vella says:

    Charles iz-Zambi could easily have told Darryl Borg to phone the ministry and, knowing that Borg would comply, the police could have “fortuitously” been keeping records of such phone-calls.

    Are we going back to a police force resorting to frame-ups?

  25. botom says:

    Unfortunately NET TV gave the Police Commissioner a free ride to say whatever he wants without being cornered with pertinent questions to bring him to account.

    • hola says:

      Yes, it is a real shame. Why were the tough questions asked by NET after the programme through an email? Why didn’t the presenter ask the really important questions there and then, while he had an audience, and while the police commissioner was on TV with him? NET (and the Nationalist Party) totally lost the opportunity.

  26. Alf says:

    Unless clarified by the Police Commissioner, this is (a) illegal, (b) abuse of power (c) infringement of data protection.

  27. Il-Hsieb tar-Ronnie says:

    Our newspapers dead? Just have a look at the editorial in Times of Malta (15 August) which dealt with the issue of public procurement.

    It seems to be a press release straight from the Government’s DOI. The newspaper got the facts wrong.

    With all the grandiose talk of simplification of administrative procedures, this government has decided to prevent self-employed from being engaged by bigger contractors as subcontractors for public tenders.

    Instead of carrying out surgical operations to address abuses in employment conditions (which it should do with all its strength and resources) the government is carpet-bombing all the self-employed.

    The option being offered by the government for self-employed is to either enter into a consortium with bigger players or else be employed as part-timers by such players.

    Both options mean forfeiting the essence of what the term “self-employed” means.

    Maybe we should start calling this process the “collectivization of self-employed”. Now that is a more familiar term with some members of this government, and certainly with Mario Vella at Malta Enterprise.

    And then you have Times of Malta supporting this initiative, which it has not even begun to understand.

  28. Peppa says:

    This is beginning to sound like a frame-up.

  29. anthony says:

    I am either going mad or else everyone connected with Mallia’s ministry is. For the sake of Malta I sincerely hope that it is the former.

  30. kjd says:

    Whilst on the subject of ‘water’, did the newspapers or journalists not pick up on this one as well. A man arrested for stealing water from a public latrine and filling up a 1000 litre tank on the back of his truck. If one had to fill up 20 litre jerry cans on a push chair is this not also a crime?

  31. Toni Bajada says:

    Dear Ms Caruana Galizia,

    I follow your blog with assiduity. Unfortunately, whenever I read a new story I end up asking myself the same question over and over again, ie, “Where the f*** is the PN?”. You are doing the job of a whole political party. Thank you

  32. Michael Seychell says:

    The reason why journalists did not ask the pertinent questions, could only be two-fold, they are either incopetent in their work, or they are afraid to stand up and be counted.

    I want to add that Dr. Jason Azzopardi seems to be doing much more then the leadership tro of the P.N. both in the House and outside it. He is to be commended for that.

  33. Manuel says:

    Yes, Daphne, our newspapers are dead in the water. It seems that the journalists from (The) Times of Malta and Maltastar sister and ally Maltatoday have nothing to report since last March 8.

    And to think of the storm created in a tea cup by these two newspapers about an Arlogg tal-Lira! Shame on them. By their stance in failing to dig deeper into serious investigation with regards to important issues such as this, the have become an accomplice of josephmuscat.com and his propaganda machine.

  34. Thoughtful says:

    In addition to all of the above, the point is not who called whom for the meeting but the fact that Scerri spoke to the witness at all and in the presence of Iz-Zambi.

    Scerri should certainly resign or be fired. If either of these events does not occur then responsibility moves up a level and keeps doing so until it reaches the Prime Minister.

    The silence of the Prime Minister on all such issues has already caused the loss of his credibility after such a short time.

    • nev says:

      Scerri should have been fired previously when he ordered the police to arrest a security chief who was only doing his job.

  35. GiovDeMartino says:

    Not only are the newspapers dead, but also the Opposition.

    • M. says:

      I agree. I am sick of getting Facebook updates fron Simon Busuttil about practically each and every festa in Malta and Gozo. – and yet, he rarely, if ever writes anything political “ta’ sugu”.

  36. Francis Saliba says:

    On top of all the police inspector who solved that crime promptly and efficiently and who was instrumental in having the wrongly accused person released by a court order finds himself hounded by the LP leaning press and libelled so severely that he has to institute court cases to defend his good name.

    Shameful return to the police methods rampant in the days of Mintoff.

  37. nutmeg says:

    The Malta Police Farce.

    • Paul Bonnici says:

      It was a farce under the PN and the PL are perfecting it.

      • Francis Saliba says:

        Dear Paul Bonnici

        Will you please complete the picture and give us also your candid opinion about the Malta Police Force/Farce in its previous existence during its MLP days under Mintoff and KMB?

        According to my own very close experience it was terrible, not farcical at all, and forceful only in protecting evil.

        Moreover survivors from that period would be recognising already, with horror, an abhorrent resurgence of the similar techniques.

  38. C Falzon says:


    But nothing about fountains in Valletta, jerrycans and ministers.

  39. WhoamI? says:


    A really cute tweet about a ‘batch’ of candidates.

    And that picture of the party HQ facade is out of date. This is the Labour party’s own website, and yet it hasn’t noticed that the party HQ facade has been upgraded with a victory balcony and the red ‘cage’ has gone.

  40. rjc says:

    How right you were in your contribution to the Malta Independent:

    Fear seems to have taken over our media. The way government ‘spokesmen’ immediately react to any news with a rebuttal is their way of neutralising every piece of news that in some way could harm the administration.

    And it’s working. Why publish or investigate a story at all if it’s going to be shot down the next minute? This must be on every journalist’s mind at the moment.

  41. Esteve says:

    I think it is about time we started the Maltese version of “The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure”. God knows there is (and will be) more than enough material to fill a few volumes.

    The US Department of Defence publishes just such a book:

    Available for free online here:

  42. Joan says:

    Back to Mintoff and KMB years.

    It’s just unbelievable that we’re going back to those days.

    Where is the PN? Where is the leader? If you can call him that. Nobody said anything except Jason Azzopardi.

  43. jackie says:

    This is the sort of story that sends a shiver down the spine. The implications are profoundly serious.

  44. C says:

    Where is Franco Debono? Watching Silence of the Lambs?

  45. Socrates says:

    The last episode shown on NET ‘Iswed fuq l-Abjad’ revealed the inadequacy of our Police Commissioner in handling his huge responsibilities responsibly.

    He was just good at diverting the viewers’ attention to the peripheral aspects of the string of questions he faced.

    It was pretty obvious that Peter Paul Zammit is not up to his job because his political affiliations with PL prevail over serious ethical issues regarding a serious of episodes that should be treated more seriously by the Police Commissioner.

    The more time we spend under PL the more it is becoming obvious that citizens should be really worried by the incompetence of Malta’s present government and the handpicked individuals who have been assigned top roles.

    It is sad to note that the PN leadership is practically ‘inexistent’. Hey, what’s happening at Tal-Pieta’?

  46. Carmelo Micallef says:

    The reins of power in Malta are held by ‘pimps, thieves and scoundrels’.

  47. nev says:

    I am morally convinced that both Mr.Scerri and the Police Commissioner are not telling the truth.

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