NGO Repubblika has escalated its calls for investigation into the case of former Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) employee Iosif Galea by filing a judicial protest calling for an independent inquiry to be held.
Earlier on Thursday, Repubblika President Robert Aquilina held a brief press conference in front of the law courts in Valletta to announce the NGO’s case against Prime Minister Robert Abela and Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri due to the limitations of the board investigating the case.
The investigation into Galea’s affairs, who is facing charges of money laundering, is being carried out by a board which was set up to hear complaints against the police.
On Tuesday, Repubblika held another press conference in front of the police force’s headquarters in Floriana to denounce a lack of action from Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’ and Assistant Commissioner Alexandra Mamo.
The police force’s own union has also called for the resignation of Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg in light of the botched plea deal given to Darren ‘it-Topo’ Debono, one of the individuals involved in a bank heist from over a decade ago.
The NGO’s actions followed articles published by the Times of Malta which showed that a European Arrest Warrant was only issued by the Maltese police after Galea was arrested in Italy while holidaying with, among others, disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Italian authorities had arrested Galea on the strength of a European Arrest Warrant filed by German authorities more than a year ago, leaving unanswered questions as to why the Maltese police force only took action after Galea was already under arrest.
Repubblika’s call for an independent inquiry established under the Inquiries Act stems from the fact that the complaints board which is currently tasked with investigating the police’s lack of action on Galea’s case has an extremely limited remit.
“While it is true that the (complaints) board has the function to ‘investigate and quickly report all matters relating to the behaviour of the corps’, it is also true that the law does not allow but actually prohibits the board from ‘ever inspecting or asking for exempted documents,” the judicial protest reads.
“This prohibition limits the possibility of learning about facts the board could have to just that which the government has no right to refuse to answer for in relation to questions made under the Freedom of Information Act, meaning the board will not be able to look at essential documents needed to establish the facts in this case,” the protest continues.
In terms of exempted documents, the board would not be able to inspect documents which may cause some form of harm towards Malta’s international relations.
“This is the situation in a case where there are allegations that the Malta Police Force acted in a way which undermined the interests of Germany and it’s fiscal and enforcement authorities and that any proof that could confirm such an allegation could possibly harm relations between Malta and Germany,” the protest reads.
You can watch a brief clip from the press conference here.