Repubblika asks courts to intervene in police chief’s ‘refusal to act on orders by magistrate’ on Pilatus Bank

Anti-corruption NGO Repubblika has turned to the law courts to legally challenge Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa on his “inaction” to obey orders given in 2021 by the inquiring magistrate investigating the now-shuttered Pilatus Bank, the institution involved in a host of allegations of corruption.

On Friday, the NGO’s president Robert Aquilina announced in a press conference outside the law courts that the group has filed a request against Gafa.

“It is clear now more than 15 months have passed since when the inquiring magistrate made this order to bring those persons to court, that they are refusing to do so. We are asking the court to, after hearing our evidence, order Gafa to take the necessary steps indicated and ordered by the inquiring magistrate in 2021,” said Aquilina.

When magistrates fulfil their duty “with significant risk to themselves” and arrive at conclusions that politicians and people close to them have committed serious crimes, Gafa and Deputy Police Commissioner Alexandra Mamo keep refusing to act, he added.

Aquilina said that through his own sources in his capacity as a public notary, and from investigative journalist sources, and local news reports, he knows that the inquiry’s conclusions ordered that criminal charges be taken against Pilatus officials Mehmet Tasli, Rivera Luis Felipe, Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, Ghambari Hamidreza and Antoniella Gauci, in connection with breaking the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The inquiry, which cost some €7.5 million, also established that there were clear indications of trading in influence between Hasheminejad and disgraced former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri at a time when the latter was a public official, he added.

“The magisterial inquiry ordered the police commissioner and Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg to release a number of criminal charges against them tied to money laundering, truing in influence, criminal association, false declarations to public authorities and that the constitution, organisation or financing of a group with the thoughts of carrying out a criminal activity,” Aquilina said.

The inquiring magistrate also recommended reopening the inquiry into Egrant, the offshore company mentioned in the Panama Papers with connections to Pilatus Bank, he said.

“We have reason to believe that the dirty operations of Pilatus Bank benefited from the protection of top brass politicians in government at the time within which the bank began its operations in Malta, especially that of disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his former chief of staff Keith Schembri, so much so that the two were invited to Hasheminejad’s wedding in Italy.”

“We have the duty and right to take all legal steps available so that the impunity and refusal of the Police Commissioner and AG to obey the orders of the inquiring magistrate does not continue,” Aquilina added.

He said that in January the NGO had presented a report to Gafa about this case, to which they only received an acknowledgement. In April, a reminder was sent, however, the corps has still not spoken to them about this topic.

“We are not going to accept that Gafa, Mamo and Victoria Buttigieg follow the steps of Lawrence Cutajar, Ian Abdilla and Peter Grech,” he concluded.

                           
                               
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KLAUS
KLAUS
1 month ago

After the extremely ill-advised ejection of Jason Azzopardi from the leading PN circle by Bernard Grech, the PN has deprived itself as an opposition and also as an anti-corruption party.


The PN now has little reason to exist. We need a new honest opposition that will also represent us in the parliment and stop the MAFIA.


Only an honest team can free Malta from the shackles of the political MAFIA, please REPUBBLIKA, please Mr. Robert Aquilina help MALTA.

carlo
carlo
1 month ago

Xoghol l-opposizzjoni jaghmluh l-NGOs. Tal-biki.

James
James
1 month ago

Continuity was what PM Abela promised prior to the election and credit where credit is due he has delivered on his promise!

The untouchables continue to remain untouchable, the police commissioner continues to renege on his promise to investigate all complaints of financial crimes no matter who is involved, the attorney general continues to ensure that justice is denied and the friends of friends continue enjoy the fruits of patronage from their friends.

Just another day in beautiful corrupt Malta.

Ghur
Ghur
1 month ago

Everyone in Malta is corrupt, this is the real problem

Caroline Muscat
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Ghur

No. Not everyone in Malta is corrupt.

Judy
Judy
1 month ago
Reply to  Ghur

No sorry do not generalise , those who have no moral values are

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