The Malta Independent 2 April 2020, Thursday

Police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar resigns, interim chief appointed

Friday, 17 January 2020, 10:18 Last update: about 3 months ago

Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar has resigned, Prime Minister Robert Abela said today.

The resignation has been accepted, he said at a press conference in Castille.

He will be temporarily replaced by Carmelo Magri (below), the most senior police officer. 

Cutajar has been under fire for months, in particular by civil society, for his failure to investigate allegations of corruption. He had been appointed by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

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Abela said that new Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri had informed him this morning that he had received Cutajar's letter of resignation, which had been accepted. In his letter, Cutajar said that the appointment of a new PM brought about changes that will lead to a reform of the police corps.

The PM thanked Cutajar for his services and also for what he said were good results achieved by the police force under his tenure.

He said that police investigations into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia led them to arrest and arraign four men charged with the crime. The police had worked hand in hand with Europol and FBI to reach the desired results.

But the police had achieved success not only in this case, but in others. Hard work led to the solution of various cases of serious criminal activities, Abela said.

It is natural that from time to time changes are needed, and he saw Cutajar's resignation as an opportunity to start afresh and go for a reform of the police corps.

The Cabinet, Abela said, will be discussing a new way of how a police commissioner is appointed. He said he will be making a proposal to the Cabinet in the next meeting on Tuesday.

Abela would not go into details as the subject is still to be discussed.

He said that the resignation of the police commissioner does not necessarily mean that it will be followed by that of the Attorney General.

He said that he finds no reason why the AG should resign or be dismissed.

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