Man accuses suspended police inspector of misappropriating seized cash

A man accused of forgery and keeping an unlicensed poodle has accused a suspended police of misappropriating cash that he had seized when police officers stormed his house

The young man alleged that the inspector had taken a total of €1,700 cash that he was keeping at home
The young man alleged that the inspector had taken a total of €1,700 cash that he was keeping at home

A man accused of forgery and keeping an unlicensed poodle has accused suspended police inspector Jason Francis Sultana of misappropriating cash that he had seized when 11 police officers had stormed his house.

This morning magistrate Antonio Micallef Trigona heard Wayne Falzonwas allowed to testify in his own defence after waiting 18 months for the prosecution to finish tendering their evidence. He had been arrested in 2012 after a police raid recovered a one-sided A4-sized photocopy of a €50 banknote, an un-chipped poodle and some dummy ammunition from his house.

Inspector Sultana was suspended from duty and charged with bribery in November last year, after allegedly asking a couple for €4,000 in bribes to let them move into a vacant apartment in Gżira whose original tenants had been jailed for prostitution-related offences. The case against the suspended police officer is yet to be concluded.

Falzon told the court that inspector Sultana had knocked on his door at around noon on the day of his arrest, before entering the premises together with “10 or 11” uniformed officers. The officers had scoured the house but found nothing illegal, he said. 

The young man alleged that the inspector had taken a total of €2,700 cash that Falzon said he was keeping at home for various reasons. Falzon was eventually given back €1,000, which the man said he had been planning to use as a deposit on a car. The remaining €1,700 in cash, he said, he never saw again, despite repeated requests. The man added that his laptop, computer tablets and printer had also been seized and claimed to have not been given a receipt for these items, but it was later pointed out by the court that the receipts for these items had, in fact, been issued and copies of the receipts were in the case file.

Lawyer David Gatt, Falzon's defence counsel, asked him about the “fake banknotes”.

“There was an A4 paper printed on one side like a €50 note, running around with other papers,” Falzon replied.

He had not been suspected of receiving stolen goods, Gatt said, questioning why the items had been seized in the first place.

“He was, however, charged with keeping an unlicensed and un-microchipped poodle,” the lawyer sarcastically pointed out.

Asked whether any guns were seized during the raid, Falzon said that contrary to what was reported in the press, no firearms were found, but his collection of inert ammunition had also been seized.

The accused also denied carrying a knife at the time. “The only knives taken were taken from the kitchen,” he said.

Cross-examined by inspector Rennie Stivala, Falzon said that the police, inspector Sultana “and about another 10 officers” had gone to his house with a warrant for Ray Sammut, who didn't live there. The accused used to sell cars at the time, admitting to the court this morning that he didn't have a dealership licence. “The €1,000 was refunded to a guy who didn't want to buy his car from me after that.”

Answering Stivala's question about the photocopied banknote, the accused said it was wrapped around a tin in which he kept loose change.

The case continues.

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