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Gozitans arrested on drug charges changed police statement after political intervention

Two men expunged police statement after a meeting between their parents and two senior politicians in a government building in Victoria, Gozo

saviour_balzan
Saviour Balzan
26 February 2017, 8:45am
Two young Gozitan men were given the opportunity to expunge a police statement in which they admitted they had been trafficking drugs.

This was made possible by the timely intervention of two senior government politicians, MaltaToday has learnt through various sources.

The case goes back to the summer of 2013 when police apprehended two young men who had been present at a party in the bay of Mgarr ix-Xini in Gozo.

The two youths, one from Munxar and the other from Victoria, whose identities are known to MaltaToday, were arrested and interrogated by the police and in their declaration admitted to trafficking in drugs. 

The two men and their families are well known in Gozo and days later, two senior politicians met in a government building in Victoria where they had a meeting with the fathers of the two men. 

Eyewitnesses said the fathers of the two young men entered the building from a side door to avoid being noted.

MaltaToday is privy to specific details of the meeting.

After the meeting the two young men were given the opportunity to change their police statements – which they did – with the new statement completely contradicting their original declarations. 

As a result of their revised statements the Gozitan police did not proceed with prosecuting the two men.

On 5 February, MaltaToday had reported how Nationalist MP Chris Said had asked home affairs minister Carmelo Abela in parliament to come clean over information that the police had not arraigned a number of individuals arrested on drug charges.

“Very few arraignments are made and at times concrete action has only been taken because police officers from Malta are deployed in Gozo,” Said said during his intervention in Parliament at the end of January.

MaltaToday reported how Said alleged that “secret meetings” were held at a ministry, in order to have people caught with drugs avoid being arraigned.

Abela denied such meetings had taken place within his ministry and insisted that he cannot interfere in the police’s operations.

Said has also insinuated that they were not charged because of the intervention of influential third parties.

The former justice minister also reminded Abela that the information could easily be compiled by his officials, by analysing the discrepancy between those arrested and those arraigned in the Maltese and Gozitan courts.

“I have asked in Parliament whether any meetings took place in which it was decided not to arraign people arrested for trafficking. The minister also has access to statistics about how many people were arrested and how many people were arraigned and how many were arrested for possession and trafficking but not arraigned. I am not privy to this information, but the minister has access to this information and he can check who was arrested but not arraigned,” Said replied.

The last time MaltaToday reported allegations of irregularities with the Gozitan Police in arraigning the football player Daniel Bogdanovic Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had set up an independent inquiry. That inquiry revealed that the arresting officer could have felt a degree of pressure to release Bogdanovic in time for a Sunday football match, after a telephone call from an Assistant Commissioner in Malta, and a conversation she had with her Superintendent on the day of the footballer’s release. Last Wednesday, Bogdanovic was fined €1,000 and had his firearms licence suspended for a year over the incident in question.

Updated on Monday 27 February after MaltaToday erroneously reported in its print edition that the arrest took place in 2014, as opposed to 2013

saviour_balzan
Saviour Balzan is the founder and co-owner of MaltaToday. He has reported on Maltese poli...