Malta’s prospective Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa will be grilled by a parliamentary committee tomorrow morning ahead of his likely appointment to the vital role. However, Gafa will only face government MPs after Malta’s opposition, the Nationalist Party, decided it would boycott the entire process.
Gafa, the current CEO of the Malta police force, is an unknown quantity to the public while the next police commissioner is expected to tackle major issues like corruption in top echelons on Malta’s government, including the police force itself.
With the PN giving the Labour Party a walkover in choosing the next police commissioner, Lovin Malta is suggesting 35 crucial questions that have to be asked during tomorrow’s 2pm committee meeting:
These questions have been sent to the members of the Parliamentary Committee for Public Appointments and the Speaker.
1. Every candidate presented a four-year plan for the police department – could you provide yours in detail?
2. There is a long list of major corruption allegations, but we are yet to see a single politician or entity charged with any sort of crime. We don’t seem anywhere close to solving these cases. What do you think is the issue? What can be done to address it?
3. In your time as an Inspector you led an investigation into former EU Commissioner John Dalli. This resulted in no charges with the case hitting a brick wall. What faith can people have in you properly investigating major political figures with success?
4. So do you believe criminal investigations should be launched into the following individuals?
5. Your predecessor Lawrence Cutajar and former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta have been heavily linked to the Caruana Galizia case. Should a public inquiry into the police force’s role and potential leaks in the case be launched?
6. Do you agree with calls for a transnational Joint-Investigation Team leading an investigation into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and other allegations of corruption?
7. Magisterial inquiries often take years, delay prosecutions, and are sheltered by confidentiality. Are we giving them too much importance? Should we rely more on police investigations?
8. How will you ensure the attorney general and state prosecutor don’t hold you back?
9. Would you be willing to investigate a member of the judiciary?
10. An entire section in the police force has been implicated in a major scandal. A former police commissioner and former deputy police commissioner are under investigation for leaking information one the most prominent case in Malta’s history. How can people have faith in police officers?
11. How do you plan to rebuild people’s trust?
12. The role of Police Force CEO was made especially for you. There have been allegations that the selection process for police commissioner was geared for you to benefit. What sort of faith can people have that you are free of political influence?
13. Police press conferences remain something of a distant memory. Do you plan to change this?
14. You were Police CEO when an alleged extra-duty racket in the traffic section was started. As the person who is ultimately responsible for the administrative role of the Police Force. How could you let this happen under your watch?
15. Were you ever aware of any indications of the racket? If not, what faith can people have that you are capable of overseeing the conduct of the entire police force?
16. Regardless of the outcome in the traffic section investigation, several police officers have flagged issues of low pay. What is your stance on the issue? Do you feel salaries are too low? If so, what should they be?
17. Several police officers have flagged issues with how some officers are able to get a degree at university while on the job only to leave for private industry. Some even say that they skip work to attend their lectures and study. These were allegations that plagued several other commissioner candidates. Do you think this is an issue? If so, how do you plan to address this?
18. Crucial departments like the Economic Crimes Unit remain worryingly understaffed. How do you plan to address this?
19. Would you step down if Malta is blacklisted by MoneyVal?
20. Malta is a financial hub, yet money laundering cases remain low despite a high number of suspicious transaction reports. What is the issue?
21. Currently, the recruitment procedure for police officers remains relatively simple. Height restrictions are the only seriously major limit imposed. Do these need to change? If so, how?
22. Malta’s police were subject to significant criticism during the pandemic. Every day people were fined for breaking the rules, but massive crowds of people were left to continue with little enforcement from police. Is this a case of police being strong of the few but weak when it comes to large scale enforcement?
23. The incident in Floriana could have been foreseen. Is there a lack of planning at Malta’s police force?
24. Speeding, drink driving, and other driving offences are a pervasive issue in Malta. A few days of enforcement during the pandemic uncovered an endless line of offences. Should this be done all year round?
25. Police do set up roadblocks during periods were drinking is high, like Christmas. However, the number of people breathalysed remains minimal. How do you plan to curb the issue?
26. Malta’s government is changing its position when it comes to recreational use of drugs like cannabis. What is your position?
27. Sex work is also set to be regularised. Do you think this will solve the issue?
28. Community issues are erupting in areas like Marsa and St Paul’s Bay, among others. What do you plan to do?
29. We have seen growing tensions in refugee centres across the island. What can Malta’s police do to ensure improved security?
30. There are far too many court cases that are decided on shortcomings in police investigations – this has been flagged by some magistrates, like Magistrate Joseph Mifsud. Should police continue handling prosecution in the lower courts?
31. If so, how do you plan to oversee an improvement in police’s training during investigations?
32. Hate speech remains a serious issue, but convictions and the number of charges remains low. What’s the issue?
33. A police sergeant Ramon Mifsud celebrated the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder on Facebook. He is still in the police force and disciplinary action is still pending. Are the police serious about tackling the issue? Or is this a case of two weights two measures?
34. Domestic abuse remains a major issue, but convictions are also still very low. What do you think is the issue?
35. People with a criminal record are still allowed to be police officers. Do you agree? If not, do you plan to change this and how?
What other questions do you think have to be asked? Comment below