Ian Abdilla is still an assistant commissioner in Malta’s Police Force despite being booted out as Economic Crimes Unit head following years of perceived inaction of major money laundering cases.
Newly-appointed Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa, who removed Abdilla from the role the day he was promoted, said that the controversial Assitant Commissioner is now within the police’s ICT department.
“There are no disciplinary or criminal proceedings against him and he will continue his duties,” Gafa told Lovin Malta in an interview.
Abdilla, who was replaced by Assistant Commissioner Alexandra Mamo, has faced stinging criticism for alleged inaction on financial crime, particularly when it comes to top officials in the government.
He also allegedly held a secret meeting with the FIAU head, the day before he submitted a report on Konrad Mizzi to a magisterial inquiry.
Money laundering prosecutions were also worryingly low under Abdilla’s tenure ahead of a crucial second MoneyVal test, and Gafa concedes that the ECU needed a change in leadership.
“There has been a drastic reduction in crime, but we have now seen a switch to financial crime and cybercrime, and that’s where our focus should be.”
“We are seeing changes bear fruit already, just yesterday two people were charged with money laundering,” he said.
However, concerns remain whether the police are acting when it comes to major corruption cases.
Recently, Corinne Vella, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s sister, warned that a police press release saying that there was no reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing in Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri’s role in the Panama Papers scandal has been removed.
“I assured myself that investigations are ongoing when I was appointed to the role. Whoever did anything and we have sufficient evidence, we will take them to court, whoever the person is.”
“We should not strengthen just because of MoneyVal, it has to be a long term commitment. Give us a chance and results will come,” he said.
In a more direct change, Gafa explained that discussions for police to share prosecution powers with the Attorney General are now at an advanced stage. Until now, only police can prosecute in magisterial court but the AG will soon be able to, especially when it comes to major crimes.
Hopefully, enough will be done before October’s MoneyVal test. Failing it would see Malta potentially blacklisted.
Do you think Abdilla should be removed entirely from the Police Force? Comment below