Money stolen from an alleged police overtime racket will only be returned once the case against officers concludes, Minister Carmelo Abela has confirmed.
Abela was responding to a question from MP Jason Azzopardi to see whether there had been an update on the lost funds.
Over half of Malta’s traffic corps were arrested in February 2020 on suspicions of fraud, overtime excess and even money laundering.
The scheme saw traffic officers allegedly make away with thousands of euros by reporting for overtime for work they would not turn up for. There are also claims officers would collect ‘protection money’ from construction firms and misappropriate fuel.
At least 14 officers were eventually charged with a series of crimes, several of whom have already been placed under a bill of indictment.
Following their initial arrests, Lovin Malta published an interview with two suspended traffic officers, who questioned why they are being made an example of while their superiors are allowed to get away with wrongdoing, such as attending university during work hours and instructing them to forgive traffic fines for their friends.
They said they suspect former Economic Crimes Unit head Ian Abdilla had made an example of out of them to make up for his unit’s failure to take action on money laundering cases.
The issue of extra-duty and poor practices has long threatened to spread to other sections of the police force, with sources previously describing a workplace culture of omertà where money reigns supreme when speaking to Lovin Malta.
What do you think of the case?