UPDATED (4): Number of Traffic Police who have been arrested reaches 41 – 25 officials suspended
Police investigations of alleged irregularities in their Traffic Section have continued, leading to further arrests and resignations.
The number of arrests has now increased to 41 and in recent hours in addition to the Section Superintendant’s resignation, the resignation of officials has risen to seven. Those involved are expected to be Court arraigned in recent days.
TVM is informed that another investigative exercise has started on overtime payments and extra duties carried out by Police officers in other sections of the Force.
Sources close to the investigation said that the alleged mastermind of this scheme was Sergeant Norman Xuereb.
Apart from Supretendent Walter Spiteri resignation, five police officers with 25 years service in the Force resigned after being faced with proof that they allegedly defrauded the Force with an irregular scheme concerning the extra duty that Traffic Police officers were doing while escorting trucks, transport of boats or to control traffic near construction sites or infrastructural projects.
Sources close to the investigation said that it is not excluded that the alleged mastermind of the scheme, Sergeant Norman Xuereb, will be charged in Court also with money laundering charges. In the past hours, Mr Xuereb resigned from the Force, together with Sergeants Joseph Buhagiar and Frankie Sciberras. Police Major Dunstan Camilleri who, among others, trained recruits on the work carried out by the Traffic Section, also resigned. The Force management also accepted the resignation of Constable Emanuel Pisani.
Apart from their resignations, the seven officers and around 35 other police officers are expected to face Court proceedings, allegedly on fraud charges. Sources stated that investigations by the Economic Crimes section are at an advanced stage and during the past days, its officers gathered proof with the assistance of technology equipment, among others. Some of the officers are expected to be arraigned under custody in Court and others will be summoned with what have been described as light charges.
The sources said that the implicated officers, who resigned in recent days and retired from the Forces, qualify for a service pension. However, in case they are found guilty, the Court may disqualify the sentenced persons.
It appears that the Traffic Section investigation led the Police Force to order an investigation on the overtime and extra duties payments made by members in the force in every other section. A parliamentary reply shows that, during the first six months of last year, all the Force members worked almost 350,000 overtime hours, with the amount excluding the hours worked during local and European Parliament elections.
PM says that mechanism to appoint new Commissioner has started
PM Robert Abela said that the internal affairs investigation which was launched following these allegations of fraud within the Police Force confirm the commitment of the Government which is continuing to take important decisions.
He said that the Government is working to put into effect the mechanism to appoint a new Police Commissioner, as soon as possible. He said that this will take place without any Government interference.
The PM was speaking during a meeting with UHM-Voice of the Workers at Castille this morning during which various matters were discussed including equal pay for equal work, trade unionism and the appointment of the Judiciary.