Malta’s new Acting Police Commissioner was in charge of the traffic section while an underhanded overtime racket was happening right under his watch.
Carmelo Magri served as the Deputy Commissioner for Field and Operational support, which heads the traffic section, prior to Lawrence Cutajar’s resignation in January. He has served as Acting Commissioner once before, following Michael Cassar’s resignation.
He was first promoted to the role in March 2017. It has been reported that the racket, which also covers the misappropriation of fuel among other things, has been underway for close to three years.
Sources told Lovin Malta that Magri was not arrested in connection with the alleged crime. However, questions must be asked how he failed to catch a racket which saw officers make off with tens of thousands of euros.
“I’ll tell you one thing. In the traffic section, there is a Deputy Commissioner, who is now the Acting Commissioner, the Assistant Commissioner, the superintendent, two inspectors, and god knows how many managers to ensure these things shouldn’t happen,” sources explained.
So far, Superintendent Walter Spiteri has been confirmed to be under arrest and has resigned from his role. The inspectors, Nikki Sant and Pierre Saliba are rumoured to also be under arrest.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Commissioner for the traffic section, Anthony Cassar, was only promoted to the role in September 2018.
The investigation kicked off last December after a whistleblower handed a handwritten letter to former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, who handed the case over to the Economic Crimes Unit after initial investigations.
The scheme saw traffic officers make away with tens of thousands of euros by reporting for overtime for work they would not turn up for over the last three years. Around 30 people have been arrested in connection with the case.
A magisterial inquiry is currently underway. No one has been charged as of yet.
There are concerns that the issue could have spread to other departments. The Field and Operational support unit look after traffic, wildlife, rapid intervention, and street policing around Malta and Gozo, among others.