More people have come forward to highlight the police force’s application of two weights and two measures since The Shift reported on how a private security guard licence was issued for a convicted drug trafficker out on bail for entering an elderly man’s home while posing as a telecommunications worker, tying him up, injuring him and ransacking the property.
The case of Tano [Gaetano] Farrugia, who despite his criminal record and the charges in criminal court, the police granted a private security guard licence, which is meant to require a clean bill of criminal conduct, exposed holes in the system.
Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa has still not answered The Shift’s request to explain how Farrugia had been given a licence despite his criminal record. The only answer the Shift has received so far is that the information would be investigated.
It is not known how Farrugia had been cleared for a private guard licence or how many other people with criminal records or who are facing criminal charges have been licenced as private guards.
Farrugia and two others were charged with posing as telephone company representatives to gain access to an elderly man’s home in Mosta in May 2019 to rob him.
The 66-year-old victim was slightly injured when the men broke into his home pretending to be telecommunications workers. They allegedly tied the pensioner up and ransacked his home but found nothing worth stealing and left empty-handed.
Farrugia’s lawyer in the case is Mario Mifsud, the brother of Magistrate Joe Mifsud, and is also the lawyer for the Corradino Correctional Facility and a full-time soldier.
At the time of the charges, in June 2019, Farrugia was an engineering company employee, according to court documents. By at least April 2022 he was working as a private security guard, meaning his questionable licence had presumably been issued in the interim and after he contract Mifsud as his legal defence.
The former footballer had also been imprisoned in Tunisia in 2010 after being caught with 50 kilos of cannabis. He was convicted of drug trafficking in Tunisia and sentenced to 20 years but was released on an amnesty in celebration of the Arab Spring uprising.
That Tunisian conviction alone should have theoretically disqualified Farrugia from holding a private security guard licence.
Others, meanwhile, have been denied the same licence for far less serious infractions.
Among those who came forward after The Shift’s initial report was former Armed Forces of Malta bombardier Godwin Schembri.
Schembri had been discharged from the AFM after a video he took mocking a gate without a wall on the road to the Pembroke shooting range was leaked and went viral.
Looking for employment after his discharge, Schembri applied for a private security guard licence on two occasions – in June 2021 and in January 2022. His dismissal came with no criminal charges attached and the issue was over alleged misbehaviour.
His licence refusal letter from Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa simply states his application was turned down because of his army discharge for misbehaviour.
Schembri is currently fighting his case before the Industrial Tribunal, where he is insisting he had been vindictively and unfairly dismissed from the AFM.
But while people such as Schembri have been denied private security guard licences, Farrugia had somehow managed to secure one for himself seemingly against all odds.
He was at least until recently, and possibly still is, working as a private security guard although the licencing process requires a background check and a clean criminal conduct.
Two and a half years after being charged with the Mosta crime, Farrugia was on a televised charity fundraiser stage, novelty cheque in hand, in April 2022 – in a private security guard uniform accompanying his employer who was making a donation.
Yet another statement by Commissioner Gafa that the police will investigate another failure by them to uphold the rule of law.
You don’t need to be too much of a cynic to think this is another one which will be buried and never see the light of day because of the connections to yet another politically exposed person – magistrate Joe Mifsud.
Different rules for different people and those with the right connections exposed yet again by the Shift.
Keep up your great work please.
Il-Kummissarju Gafà lest jaghmel hafna kutrumbajsi ghall-kriminali. Ang, imbilli fil-konferenzi tippreżenta ruhek taparsi xi ragel serju u ta’ integrità, il-maggorparti nett tal-poplu jaf int kummidjant u bl-inkompetenza tieghek, int komplici mal-kriminali fil-berah.