State-sponsored impunity: no action taken against Anton Refalo for possession of protected artefact

Reconfirmed Cabinet minister Anton Refalo, who was revealed by The Shift in February to have been in possession of a protected artefact at his own home in Qala, has not been charged with any wrongdoing by either the police or the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage, despite clearly being in breach of national heritage laws.

Any citizen or resident of Malta who is found to be in possession of national heritage is to be prosecuted for a criminal act, according to the Cultural Heritage Act. If found guilty, the crime is punishable with a fine “of not less than €2,000 and not exceeding €250,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years”.

Although Refalo, a former chairman of Heritage Malta, admitted to having a protected 19th century British-era marker at his home, illegally, after pictures of the marker in the minister’s courtyard were published by The Shift, both Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa – who claims investigations are still underway – and Cultural Heritage Superintendent Kurt Farrugia, have so far failed to bring any charges against him.

Adding to the concerns about impunity, while Minister Refalo’s illegality was exposed before the general elections, Prime Minister Robert Abela not only failed to comment on the minister’s alleged theft but also went ahead and re-appointed him to Cabinet.

The police commissioner declined to answer questions on the matter. Gafa said the police are still investigating and refused to provide any details.

Kurt Farrugia, handpicked through a political appointment in 2020 as Superintendent of Cultural Heritage in a move that ousted his predecessor Joe Magro Conti, has ignored media questions.

Superintendent Kurt Farrugia protecting a minister found with an illegal artefact.

When the minister’s misappropriation of the artefact was first exposed last February, Farrugia rushed to issue a statement confirming that the protected artefact was found in the Minister’s house and that “the proprietor was collaborating with the Superintendence”.

Asked repeatedly by The Shift to state whether he had filed a police report about the findings at the unnamed “proprietor’s” house, as he is obliged to do by law, and whether the protected marker was taken away from Refalo’s villa, Farrugia failed to answer. Several reminders sent to Kurt Farrugia over the past weeks have been ignored.

Refalo himself has yet to explain how he came into possession of the protected marker, and why he kept it at his home despite the rules clearly stating he was required to inform the authorities of its discovery.

The minister, who was ousted as Gozo Minister by disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, was returned to Cabinet by Robert Abela soon after the latter took over Castille.

                           
                               
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Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
14 days ago

One day, an honest man, or woman maybe, might actually make it to cabinet.

carlo
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul Pullicino

the cabinet (or the maqjel as well describe by anglu farrugia is not the pace for Honest people, but only for greedy fraudsters and the non honourable.

viv
viv
14 days ago

Well, through their silence they have just turned this marker from a historical artefact into a symbol of state plundering. Bravi.

Winston Smith
Winston Smith
14 days ago

Still investigating, meaning delaying any form of justice hoping, that given enough time it shall be forgotten from our collective memories. Honestly, what the hell is there to investigate? What is even sadder is that every single day we read of political crime, deceit and corruption knowing that these criminals will get away with it. It has been made abundantly clear that we are not a functioning democracy. There is no distinction of powers between the legislative, executive and judiciary and the political class and their cronies are above the law. Until morally just individuals of this country revolt, using any and every means possible to address criminality, nothing shall change. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is pure madness.

James
James
14 days ago
Reply to  Winston Smith

A wonderful synopsis when taken in the context of Caroline’s article of what is wrong with Malta.
When will the relevant international agencies liaise with each other and put these corrupt “ untouchables “behind bars?

Franco Galea
Franco Galea
14 days ago

I’m pretty sure he got to keep it too

Carmelo Borg
14 days ago

Varist sewwa kont tghid li Hawn zewg ALL AT. GHADEK IS SOSTNI ISSA?

carlo
13 days ago
Reply to  Carmelo Borg

isin’t he ALSO one of them (allat)?

Roger Galea
Roger Galea
13 days ago

Justice delayed Justice denied

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