Former army commander Maurice Calleja dies

Weapons and ballistics expert, Brigadier Maurice Calleja dies aged 87

Maurice Calleja in one of his last TV interviews on Xtra Sajf in 2021
Maurice Calleja in one of his last TV interviews on Xtra Sajf in 2021

Brigadier Maurice Calleja, a former commander of the Armed Forces of Malta, has died aged 87.

He headed the AFM between September 1991 and December 1993, when he resigned after his son Meinrad was arrested and charged with importation of cocaine.

In an interview, he gave to TVM’s Xtra Sajf last year, Calleja had said it was not to his wish to resign, but the circumstances at the time would have led many to think that there was a conflict of interest. He also denied knowledge of his son’s actions.

“I was informed of the case by an army officer. I knew nothing,” Calleja had said.

Trained at the Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK, Calleja was specialised in weapons, ballistics and sharpshooting. He was a court ballistics expert for many years.

In 1980 Calleja was appointed deputy commander of the newly-formed Task Force, a civilian outfit under military discipline. He was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1982 and colonel in 1986.

In 1988, Calleja was nominated deputy commander of the AFM and promoted to brigadier in 1991 when he was appointed commander.

After the change in government in 2013, Calleja headed a board that was set up to consider complaints of injustices in the AFM throughout the years.

Calleja married Muriel Savona in 1961. They had two sons, Meinrad and Patrick, and a daughter, Clarissa.