Last Updated on Thursday, 25 March, 2021 at 1:43 pm by Andre Camilleri
Former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri has made another request for bail. The request, filed by his lawyers Edward Gatt and Mark Vassallo, will be decided on Friday.
Schembri was remanded in custody on Saturday evening after he was charged with corruption and money laundering. He was among 11 people who were arraigned. Only one person from the group was granted bail – former Allied Newspapers managing director Vincent Buhagiar.
The prosecution argued on Saturday that the court should not grant bail to Schembri over fears of tampering with evidence. His lawyers, however, argued that the police had previously shown no objection to him being released on police bail.
The lawyers have now also requested a referral to the Constitutional Court, arguing that Schembri’s rights are being violated. The breach arises from the fact that, while the State Prosecutor has a right to appeal bail decisions, the accused parties do not, they said.
The new request will be decided by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech. It is believed if this request is also refused, the matter could be taken higher up, but that process could last weeks.
The arraignments came after the conclusion of two magisterial inquiries; one that looked into claims that Schembri had passed payments to the former managing director of Allied Newspapers Adrian Hillman; and the other looking into claims of alleged kickbacks from the sale of passports involving Schembri and his financial advisors Nexia BT.