Civil society NGO Repubblika has declared it has lost all confidence in Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’, calling for his resignation after months of campaigning in which the organisation had been calling for more police action on high profile corruption cases.
Addressing Gafa’ directly, who has recently come under fire again following the bungled-up prosecution of former MGA employee Iosif Galea, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said the police commissioner “must take his failure into account”.
“You have no credibility left. For goodness’ sake, with respect to the uniform you wear, you should avoid further humiliation for the police corps and our country as a whole,” Aquilina said during a press conference outside the police headquarters in Floriana on Wednesday.
“We have a police corps that has become a national humiliation. We have a police corps that is demoralised. Above all else, we have a police corps that remains a tool for injustice and impunity. In the interest of justice, in the interest of the general good, in the interest of the nation: resign,” Aquilina added.
Repubblika, which has over the last year staged several protests demanding action on cases where wrongdoing has been revealed, corruption linked with high-ranking government officials and even Gafa’s own predecessors linked to crime, spoke of Gafa’s promises when he was first made police commissioner.
Naming several figures who are yet to face police prosecution, including the disgraced trio of former prime minister Joseph Muscat, former chief of staff Keith Schembri and former energy minister Konrad Mizzi, Aquilina slammed the commissioner’s “absolute failure” in this regard.
“Gafa’ had promised that he was not going to consider anyone favourably and that he would not allow any politicians to influence his decisions. You tell me whether Gafa’ has taken at least one politician to court over the obscene corruption that occurred from March 2013 onward,” Aquilina said.
“He had also promised that he would inform the public regularly about the activities undertaken by the corps through regular press conferences he would be giving. The last press conference Gafa’ held was in February 2021, 15 months ago,” Aquilina added.
The NGO also took the police commissioner to task over the failure to either carry out its own investigations in parallel to ongoing magisterial inquiries into high profile corruption cases or otherwise follow up on inquiries after they are concluded.
Referring to the fact that Iosif Galea was arrested by Italian police while holidaying with Joseph Muscat on the strength of a European Arrest Warrant filed by German authorities more than a year before the arrest, Aquilina spoke of the case as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“This scandal as well as several other scandals which we got to know about over the past two years clearly show that the police corps is in the same exact state in which it was found in the public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination,” Aquilina said.
“The corps has been lumped with a police commissioner who hides rather than being held accountable. For Gafa’, accountability is a game of hide-and-seek,” Aquilina added.