Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa has been appointed to the Asset Recovery Bureau Board, replacing Deputy Police Commissioner and head of financial crime Alexandra Mamo.
Gafa was appointed on 1st September 2021, joining Chairperson Judge Emeritus Joseph David Camilleri, Deputy Chairperson Frankie Mercieca, FIAU head Kenneth Farrugia, and Inland Revenue Commissioner Marvin Gaerty on the board.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, the police did not explain why Gafa was replacing Mamo, simply pointing to regulation which states that the police commissioner or a representative must sit on the board.
The Asset Recovery Bureau is an autonomous public entity that preserves assets suspected or confirmed to be proceeds from crime. Its main functions are the tracing of assets, asset management, and assets disposal.
It was flagged as an inefficient body by MoneyVal, with FATF also flagging the issues in the entity. While it was set up in 2015, the bureau was effectively barred from operation because of the absence of the necessary regulation and remained worryingly short on resources.
A parliamentary question had revealed that the bureau had confiscated just €1,500 in August 2018 and €1,260 in October 2018.
It also courted controversy in 2020 when it sold off a Ferrari sports car of a suspected drug dealer who was yet to be convicted, with the state forking out €70,000 in compensation.
However, in October 2020, sweeping changes were announced for the bureau, as part of a €2.2 million project to construct a facility that caters for their investigations and heavily beef up resources.
The four-storey building will preserve recovered from criminal activities, including jewellery, works of art, boats, trailers and cars.
What do you think of the appointment?