Top brass unaware of German warrant for Iosif Galea: police complaints board

Police complaints board says police top brass were unaware of German requests for EAW, two officials responsible for 'administrative shortcomings'

Iosif Galea was arrested in Italy last May
Iosif Galea was arrested in Italy last May

Two police officials have been found responsible of administrative shortcomings that meant a German request for a European Arrest Warrant for gambling consultant Iosif Galea, went unheeded by the Maltese police.

The conclusion derives from a statement by the Maltese police and only a short excerpt of the conclusions of the report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission led by retired judge Franco Depasquale.

The board determined that there was no interference from Commissioner of Police Angelo Gafà or top brass for the EAW not to be executed. But administrative deficiencies identified by the complaints board, led to the EAW request to be ignored or not executed by the responsible officials.

The inquiry’s conclusions were published on Friday. The inquiry board determined that there were serious shortcomings on the part of certain police officials, but it also pointed to systemic issues within the force when it comes to oversight and monitoring.

According to the report, Gafà and other higher-up officials within the corps were not even aware of the EAW issued against Iosif Galea on 28 May 2021.

“It is the understanding of the Board that there needs to be some form of system through which every case should be monitored until it is brought to court, or a reason should be given as to why it wasn’t continued.”

The inquiry board determined that Gafa was not trying to cover up Galea’s behaviour. Indeed, Gafa testified to the board that he had left a memo in 2013, before he moved to the Security Services, to prosecute Galea for computer misuse.

Gafa said he took action last February after realising the case had been shelved for so long.

The request for the investigation to the complaints board was submitted by Angelo Gafa, over claims that he could have known of the EAW prior to Galea being allowed leave for a holiday abroad, despite being on police bail in Malta in connection with a trading in influence investigation.

Galea was arrested in Italy last May on a German EAW related to a tax investigation. Earlier that week, the Maltese police had confirmed it had also issued its own EAW for Galea’s arrest.

Italian newspapers had reported that Galea was arrested on the night of 14-15 May as he arrived for a holiday he was to take at Cellino San Marco.

Galea was said to have been joining his partner Maria Grech, a longtime assistant of Michelle Muscat, wife of the erstwhile prime minister Joseph Muscat, at the Marigold Foundation.

Galea was once a gaming authority employee who had been implicated in the Dalligate affair. Today Galea is wanted by Maltese police on suspicion of being part of a criminal conspiracy where someone inside the MGA leaked sensitive information to Galea.

Rule-of-law NGO Repubblika had said last June that two high-ranking police officers and two police inspectors were being made to carry the can for the botched arrest warrant and failing to stop him from leaving Malta.