The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

Michael Farrugia must take political responsibility for collapse of police force – Delia

Saturday, 15 February 2020, 11:44 Last update: about 7 months ago

Michael Farrugia must take political responsibility for the collapse of the police corps under his watch, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said today.

More than 40 police officers are involved in the scandal, with allegations of overtime abuse, misappropriation of fuel and the receipt of protection money from companies in return to turning a blind eye to traffic contraventions.

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Speaking on the PN media this morning, Delia highlighted the difference in the way Prime Minister Robert Abela dealt with the situation concerning former Gozo Minister Justynne Caruana and the way he is handling Farrugia.

Caruana resigned because of something her husband did, Delia said, and yet Farrugia stays on as minister in spite of the racket that was taking place under his nose in his time as minister responsible for the police.

Did Farrugia tell Abela what he knew about the police scandal before accepting to be appointed to another portfolio, Delia asked. Did Farrugia tell his successor Byron Camilleri about it? And why was Farrugia kept on as minister if Abela knew what was happening? Is he stronger than Justyne Caruana?

Delia said it is easy to understand that Farrugia must shoulder political responsibility for what the scandal. We are not talking about one rogue policeman, he said. We are talking about the majority of police officers in a particular section of the force and the possibility that it spills onto other units and other ministries, he said.

This is what happens when the government embraces a culture of impunity, when people who are supposed to suffer the consequences of their actions get away scot-free. The police force, the institution which is supposed to safeguard the interests of the public against crime, is itself embroiled in allegations of criminal action, Delia said.

The PN leader again criticised the government on the deal which saw the transfer of three public hospitals, at great cost to the people, to a private organisation. He challenged the PM, his predecessor Joseph Muscat, former health minister Konrad Mizzi and current minister Chris Fearne to a debate during which he said he will ask them questions on the contract that is seeing so much public money going to waste.

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