Maltese police have arrested seven more police officers in connection with what is appearing to be a major racket which has plagued the Traffic Section of the force. In a statement, police confirmed that 37 officers have been arrested so far, more than half the entire traffic section, out of which five been granted police bail.
To compensate for the sudden shortage in traffic police officers, officers from other sections have been roped in to assist in traffic management with the use of specially marked vehicles, while LESA and Transport Malta are also providing assistance.
Superintendent Walter Spiteri, who was in charge of the Traffic Section, has resigned and is being investigated as part of the racket.
The alleged scheme, which was flagged by an unknown whistleblower, saw traffic officers make away with tens of thousands of euros by claiming overtime for work they would not turn up for over the last three years.
However, Times of Malta has reported that the investigation has expanded into claims that some motorcycle traffic policemen had been misappropriating fuel for their own private vehicles, while NET News said it involves threats to high-ranking officials, “intimate relationships” between police officers and tickets issued in an abusive manner.
Sources explained that the investigation into the racket kicked off last December after a whistleblower handed a handwritten letter to then-Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia.
An internal affairs investigation was immediately launched, with records unveiling a potential case of fraud within the department. The Economic Crimes Unit was then called in to handle the investigations.
Investigations, sources said, proved to be an arduous task, with officers spending hours sifting through records.
The case is highly sensitive. A month ago, Prime Minister Robert Abela removed two of his police security details (who were part of the previous administration) after hearing they could have breached the confidentiality of the whistleblower’s identity.
Meanwhile, this case has attracted international attention and has been covered day the likes of Reuters, the New York Times and the Independent (UK).
Anyone who has any information in relation to these cases is urged to contact the police in a confidential manner on 2294 2201 or via e-mail at [email protected]