Malta’s Home Affairs Ministry has refused to divulge whether a European Arrest Warrant has been issued for a suspected murderer on the run from the police.
Ramzi Abdulhafid Ib Abukem, who is out on bail for murder, attempted murder, theft and other crimes, has been wanted by police since 26th August in connection with another investigation.
There are real fears that he could have fled the island, bypassing Malta’s security checks despite the serious charges against him. Lovin Malta is informed that an EAW is yet to be issued but neither the police nor the ministry wishes to comment on the issue.
“Ramzi Abdulhafid Ib Abukem is wanted in relation to ongoing investigations. Therefore, it would not be prudent to divulge further information at this stage,” a ministry spokesperson said.
Sources have been shocked by the replies of the ministry and police, claiming that it should be relatively straightforward for either to confirm whether an EAW has been issued.
It would present a resounding failure of Malta’s authorities with Ramzi yet to face trial for the extremely serious charges he has been accused of.
It will not be the first time that Ramzi fled a country to avoid prosecution with sources claiming that he was also wanted for an unspecified crime in Libya before coming to Malta.
Ramzi will also not be the first suspected criminal to flee Malta undetected. Ryan Schembri notably escaped Malta by boarding a ferry to Sicily before settling in the UAE and then Scotland.
Meanwhile, police have been under intense criticism for the failures in pursuing EAWs in both Schembri and Iosif Galea’s cases.
Ramzi’s history with crime dates back to 2016 when he was charged with attempted murder following a fight with bouncers in which he brandished a sword. He was released on bail for the case, which is ongoing.
He was back in court in December 2017 over charges of aggravated theft, cocaine possession and breaching his bail conditions, but was once again released on bail while a verdict is yet to be reached.
In 2018 Ramzi’s crimes escalated and he was charged with beating to death Mahmoud Elmejdi in Ħamrun, as well as holding another two against their will and threatening to kill them. Ramzi was also released on bail in this case, which is also yet to be concluded.
A year later, Ramzi was charged with two separate cases in the same month, which included several thefts and possession of illegal weapons.
Despite breaching his bail conditions numerous times, Ramzi was also granted bail in this case and ordered to sign the bail book at the police station in Qormi.
The next two years were relatively quiet, but he found himself in the news once again after he was linked to the high-profile murder of Mario Farrugia but was released without charge pending investigation.
The manhunt for Ramzi is a reminder of Malta’s abysmal court system, which sees scores of alleged criminals walk free on bail due to massive delays.
However, the Ministry insisted that those issues remain firmly within the courts and not in its duties or responsibilities.
What do you think on the refusal to comment?