On paper, Malta’s police force may look like it is geared up to tackle financial crimes – with two separate units focused on money laundering and economic crimes respectively.
Yet, it has now transpired that only a single police officer within both units is actually qualified in accounts – a shocking statistic considering the glut of media reports on financial crimes in recent years.
Partit Demokratiku MP Godfrey Farrugia sought information about these two police units from home affairs minister Michael Farrugia in Parliament this week.
The data reveals the situation in the two units has actually grown worse in recent years. There were four qualified accountants stationed in the two units in 2013, but one of them was transferred in September 2013, another one resigned in December 2014 and another one was promoted to the rank of inspector last month.
Jonathan Ferris has lashed out against the police officer in charge of the Economic Crimes and Money Laundering Units
Farrugia said the officers stationed in these units receive regular training in Malta and abroad and confirmed the government plans to significantly boost their human resources next year.
The Economic Crimes Unit was set up in 1994 while the Money Laundering Unit was set up in 2001. Both units are led by assistant police commissioner Ian Abdilla, who was in the news recently due to harsh criticism from former police inspector Jonatan Ferris.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Ferris accused Abdilla of being in bed with the Labour government – noting he had received three promotions, from sergeant to superintendent to assistant commissioner, in the 18 months following PL’s electoral victory in 2013.