Campobello Tumbarello doctor: “I did not know the patient was Messina Denaro”

«I couldn’t imagine that one of my patients had given up his identity. Andrea Bonafede, born in ’63, was under my care since October 2018, after his primary care physician retired. I have known him for many years, but we are not friends. One day he came to show me the results of a colonoscopy…».

This afternoon, in court in Marsala, Dr. Alfonso Tumbarello, 71 years old, former primary care physician in Campobello di Mazara, testified on charges of external complicity in a mafia association and false public documents for issuing numerous certificates in the name of “Bonafede Andrea,” born in ’63, to allow the late mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro to receive treatment for a tumor. Responding to questions from the prosecutor of the Dda of Palermo, Gianluca De Leo, and the presiding judge, Vito Marcello Saladino, and then from his lawyers, the attorneys Gioacchino Sbacchi and Giuseppe Pantaleo, Dr. Tumbarello, currently under house arrest, tried to defend himself by stating that he had never seen Matteo Messina Denaro. “If it had happened – he added – I would have immediately gone to the police.” He then explained that Andrea Bonafede, born in ’63, told him that his cousin namesake, born in ’69, would pick up the subsequent medical prescriptions (hospitalization requests, other diagnostic tests, etc.) because he did not want his family to know about his tumor. In reality, the mafia boss from Castelvetrano was the one afflicted with the tumor. “I did not examine Andrea Bonafede – Tumbarello said – because it was useless in front of the colonoscopy results.”

In the first part of the interrogation, the prosecutor De Leo asked the defendant how he facilitated the meeting between Salvatore Messina Denaro, Matteo’s brother, and the former Christian Democrat mayor of Castelvetrano Antonio Vaccarino. “Vaccarino – Tumbarello replied – asked me if I knew Salvatore Messina Denaro and if I could arrange a meeting. I knew Salvatore Messina Denaro because, as a pulmonologist, I had been asked to examine his sister-in-law, who could not leave her house. We set the day and time, and they came to my medical practice. Since there was no one in the waiting room, Vaccarino asked if they could talk there. It seemed rude to say no. I locked my room and left. I returned an hour later, and no one was there. Vaccarino, with whom I had a relationship for a certain period for political reasons, did not tell me why he wanted that meeting, nor did I ask him. I found out years later, from the newspapers.” As the prosecutor De Leo recalled, “that meeting was a prelude to the start of a correspondence with Matteo Messina Denaro.” The secret services, in fact, through Vaccarino, were trying to locate the fugitive.

Il medico di Campobello Tumbarello: «Non sapevo che il malato fosse Messina Denaro»

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