No charges filed yet on minister’s illegal possession of Victorian artefact

It has been seven months since the discovery of a protected artefact at Minister Anton Refalo’s private residence in Qala, but the police are yet to press charges against the veteran Gozitan politician.

The Shift is reliably informed that no charges have been filed against the minister as yet, even though he has publicly admitted to having a Victorian-era stone marker at his house. The agriculture, fisheries and animal rights minister has so far failed to explain how a protected piece of Malta’s history came into his possession.

Contacted by The Shift to explain why action has not been taken against Refalo, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’ said he could not answer the question as he was precluded by law from giving out any such information.

Legal sources, however, have insisted with The Shift that this was just Gafa’s “excuse” to protect the minister as the Force, even under Gafa’s command, has very often officially answered similar questions, particularly when it comes to foreign nationals. This is in addition to the regular leaks from senior officers to specific mainstream journalists.

Just a few weeks ago, Gafa’ told The Shift that the police “were still investigating” Refalo’s case.

The Shift is also informed that to have illegally acquired the protected artefact, there had to have been other people close to Minister Refalo’s secretariat involved, including those who had actually transported the stone marker to the minister’s residence.

It is not known whether the police are also investigating these persons or whether they will be issuing charges against them.

Minister Refalo is also being protected by Kurt Farrugia, the politically-appointed superintendent of cultural heritage, who is duty bound by law to ensure criminal action is taken against those caught in the illegal possession of national heritage.

Following The Shift’s revelations last February, Farrugia has confirmed that the illegal artefact was indeed found in the minister’s residence following an inspection.

However, since then, Farrugia went completely silent, refusing to answer any questions on the issue.

According to the provisions of the Cultural Heritage Act, if charged and found guilty, Minister Refalo faces either a fine of not less than €2,000 and not exceeding €250,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years.

Asked to state whether he has received any court summons, Minister Refalo and his spokesperson, Estelle Bonello Sant, refused to reply.

Since the discovery of the protected piece of heritage in Minister Refalo’s illegal possession, Prime Minister Robert Abela has not commented on the case despite his mantra that ‘institutions are working’.

Instead, Abela re-appointed Refalo to his Cabinet after the last elections.

It is known that relations between Abela and Refalo are somewhat strained as the prime minister is more inclined toward the agriculture minister’s rival Clint Camilleri.

                           
                               
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Francis Said
Francis Said
9 days ago

The outcome of all this will be a slight slap on Refalo’s hand and possibly the return of the artefact. When? In the very distant future, as the police sometimes tend to go slow in clear cases of guilt on the part of some important individual.

carlos
carlos
9 days ago
Reply to  Francis Said

not even – kollox ghal taht it-tapit.

Greed
Greed
9 days ago
Reply to  Francis Said

Important or self important?

Winston Smith
Winston Smith
9 days ago

The depths of corruption: Even when the crime is set in stone the authorities fail to act.

Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
9 days ago

Ongoing. Still pending. Still investigating. Seven months of taking fingerprints, DNA swabs, interrogating possible other suspects, stone experts still examining object…… (has the public outcry died down yet?). Now if it was an ordinary Joe who got caught stealing….24 hours, court, no bail for now….

makjavel
makjavel
9 days ago

What excuse will the commisioner cough up?
One question , has somebody gone to the police and actually made a report?
This is the usual excuse used, no report , no investigation , and the one making the report will be the first one dragged to the courts.
Then expect the following problems from the police :
a) Where is the proof?
answer ; It’s in all the papers.
The police do not accept what is in the papers as reason to investigate.
b) If some courageous guy uses a drone to photograph the evidence , the police will accuse him of trespassing .
c) Heritage will never report anything missing that is some Minister’s property. Heritage has been Neutered like all the rest.
Nothing will happen.

Eddy A
Eddy A
9 days ago
Reply to  makjavel

It will be as usual ” no wrongdoings “, you wonna bet ?

Greed
Greed
9 days ago

And no charges will probably ever be given but instead he will get to keep the artefact and probably be paid a retainer of say €5000 a month to maintain it and a policeman to guard it so it is not stolen back by the people

D. Borg
D. Borg
9 days ago

We are still striving to extract a statement from the victim (i.e. the hijacked artefact), but to date it has stubbornly opted to exercise its right to remain silent – thus unless and until such time that the victim releases a statement (preferably under oath), we’ll have to flag this investigation under sine die category…as the working institutions require’.

Bamboccu
Bamboccu
9 days ago

Xi hlew hux.
Qatt tistaw timmaginaw li Gafa ser jidhol
GaFFa f’xi investigazzjoni hekk u li tinvolvi l politiku?

KLAUS
KLAUS
9 days ago

The worst thing is that
Minister Anton Refalo is still in power
and ROBBER Abela still tolerate it!

So sad for the future of Malta.

Eddy A
Eddy A
9 days ago

No surprise, from the moment that he stole it, it became immediately HIS property.

KLAUS
KLAUS
9 days ago

It is MINISTER Anton Refalo!

It is ROBBER Abela‘s thing to answer question:

ROBBER Abela, where are you???
Why are you so silent? And:
Why is Abgelo Gafa so silent too???

carlos
carlos
9 days ago

A thief of cultural heritage that belong to TAGHNA LKOLL. Isthi refalo tisraq projeta li hi wirt nazzjonali. Kif m’ghandkhomx zejt f’wicckhom. Ghandkhom ragun ghaliex il-poplu gahan ma jinteressahx mill-kutura iz jimpurtah biss mill-flus. MAFIAMALTA GC – MAFIA MALTA GREED AND CORRUPTION.

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