Six police constables and a sergeant have been put under a bill of indictment on charges of fraud over their involvement in an extra-duty racket with Malta’s traffic police section.
All seven are facing accusations of stealing thousands while supposedly on extra duties, one of whom even carrying out such duties when he was on vacation leave.
In a sitting on Monday, the officers all pleaded not guilty, just like the other five police officers who were brought to court on similar charges last week. These included a superintendent, two inspectors and the police sergeant. A case against another officer was postponed to a separate sitting.
Magistrate Rachel Montebello, who is presiding over the case, issued a stern warning to the officers, explaining that since they were duty-bound to prevent such crimes, their offence would be considered worse.
Montebello put all the officers under a bill of indictment.
Lovin Malta recently published an interview with two suspended traffic officers, who questioned why they are being made an example of while their superiors are allowed to get away with wrongdoing, such as attending university during work hours and instructing them to forgive traffic fines for their friends.
They said they suspect former Economic Crimes Unit head Ian Abdilla had made an example of out of them to make up for his unit’s failure to take action on money laundering cases.
So who are the seven who were charged?
Josmar Muscat, 29, from Siġġiewi, was charged with defrauding the police force of thousands of euro in extra duties.
Alexander Sellar, 40, from Żebbuġ, whose mobile data shows he was in different locations when supposedly conducting extra-duty in a particular area. Seller was also on leave in November when he received extra-duty payments.
Francis Zerafa, 47, allegedly made €7,605 from the racket.
Anthony Dimech, 32, is facing charges of committing more than €5,000 in fraud.
Police sergeant Matthew Azzopardi, who. made away with over €2,000.
Edwin Zammit, 34, accused of committing €9,000 fraud.
Francis Sciberras, 52, who has claimed he received orders for Sergeant Norman Xuereb, who is allegedly on the officers behind the racket.
Muscat, Seller, Zerafa, and Dimech are being represented by Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi. Zammit is being represented by Franco Debono, Amadeus Cachia and Marion Camilleri. Lawyer Ludwig Caruana appeared for Sciberras. Legal procurator Mario Buttigieg represented Azzopardi.
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