A search has been carried out on Minister Anton Refalo’s property in Qala to locate a protected VR marker that The Shift revealed on Tuesday was placed by his pool.
A spokesman for the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage confirmed that following an “inspection” at the property “the artefact has been identified, and the proprietor is collaborating in full”.
The Superintendence has so far refused to name the so-called “proprietor” and to state whether a police report has been lodged so that criminal charges are filed according to law.
The old stone marker, with the initials VR (Victoria Regina), is considered by law to be part of Malta’s protected national heritage. It is clearly restored and placed on a pedestal in the minister’s courtyard, photos uploaded to social media by his son show.
Appropriating items of cultural and historical value is a criminal offence, punishable with a fine of up to €116,000 or a maximum of six years imprisonment.
The minister and former chairman of Heritage Malta has so far refused to explain how the stone marker got to be in his possession, as revealed by The Shift, and why he had not reported the discovery to the authorities, as obliged by law, choosing instead to place it on a stone pedestal in his home.
Prime Minister Robert Abela has so far not reacted to the story involving one of his ministers or to state what action he will be taking. Questions sent yesterday to the Office of the Prime Minister have been ignored.