Civil society NGO Repubblika today urged police commissioner Angelo Gafa to take action against a host of alleged wrong-doers, including several people connected to shuttered Pilatus Bank for whom international arrest warrants have been issued, accusing him of a “lack of will” similar to his predecessor’s.
“As a result of the Pilatus Bank inquiry, we heard that the inquiring magistrate, in March of this year, signed an international arrest warrant for people connected with Pilatus Bank,” Repubblika president Robert Aquilina claimed earlier this morning in front of police headquarters.
The results of the inquiry, which began in November 2018 and ended in December of last year at a total cost of €7.5 million, were compiled in a report running up to 600,000 pages in length, Aquilina claimed earlier today.
Repubblika further claimed that the inquiring magistrate had signed an international arrest warrant for every single director and money-laundering officer that worked at the now-defunct bank.
The NGO also divulged details about a man named Anthony Farrugia, who Repubblika stated is currently being interrogated by the police’s financial crimes investigation department (FCID).
“Among the people who plotted and carried out illegalities with Yorgen Fenech who have not yet faced prosecution, there is also Anthony Farrugia, known also as ‘il-Buddy’. From what we know, he was Yorgen Fenech’s accomplice in the use of Bitcoin for illegal purposes,” Aquilina said, referring to the police force’s investigation into Fenech’s use of Bitcoin wallets to purchase weapons from the dark web.
“Farrugia has, for the past several months, been going in and out of the FCID every few weeks, only to be sent back home shortly after,” he continued.
“We know that next Thursday afternoon, along with another person named Patrick Demanuele, Farrugia has yet another appointment with FCID based on information obtained from Yorgen Fenech’s mobile phone as well as other sources,” he added, later stating that the source informing Repubblika’s statements would not be revealed.
The NGO’s press conference was part of Repubblika’s campaign against police inaction on corruption, chiding Gafa’ for not holding figures linked with government corruption accountable and comparing his “lack of will” to that of his disgraced predecessor, former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar.
While the NGO expressly stated that it is not yet calling for the commissioner’s resignation, Aquilina accused Gafa’ of “dragging his feet” and “only making a move when forced to do so”.
He referred to a list of individuals such as disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and disgraced ex-minister Konrad Mizzi, who have not yet been prosecuted for their alleged roles in facilitating corruption throughout the years of Muscat’s administration, or for their close ties with Yorgen Fenech, who is set to face a trial by jury for his part in commissioning the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Repubblika also criticised Gafa’ for not taking action against John Dalli, the former EU health commissioner mired in corruption allegations amounting to “tens of millions of euros”, a person who Gafa’ himself had testified about, stating that there was enough information for charges to be pressed.
Aquilina directed the same criticism at Gafa’s inaction over several high-ranking government officials who have been linked with acts of corruption, including “Chris Cardona, Edward Scicluna, Yorgen Fenech’s business partners like the Apap Bolognas and the Gasans, Johann Buttigieg, Edwina Licari, Carmelo Abela, Rosianne Cutajar and all the others”.
“Gafa’ did not make a move against any of these in spite of the fact that the public inquiry report that was published a few weeks ago clearly said that the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia occurred in a climate of impunity, including police officers aiding criminals in their corrupt behaviour,” Aquilina said.
“Apparently, Gafa’ doesn’t like it when we compare him with his predecessor. However, we insist that he is choosing his own destiny by deciding to not decide, by dragging his feet and only making a move when he is forced to make one,” he added.