[WATCH] Former Brigadier hoped to finish tenure, insists he reluctantly offered his resignation

Former Armed Forces of Malta Brigadier Maurice Calleja interviewed on Xtra Sajf

Former AFM Brigadier Maurice Calleja
Former AFM Brigadier Maurice Calleja

Former Armed Forces of Malta Brigadier Maurice Calleja 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.

Calleja had resigned from his post as commander in chief of the armed forces after his son, Meinard Calleja was charged with the importation of narcotics into the country.

Interviewed on Xtra Sajf, the former brigadier recalled what had happened at the time, said he was informed of the case by an army officer. “I knew nothing.”

Calleja said that he had then expressed his wish to resign to then Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami.

“After I informed Fenech Adami, he told me that I would still be participating in a Freedom Day parade,” he said. “But on the day of the parade, the media had caught wind of the case, and an article was published with the title stating that I would be ‘forced to resign’.”

The article was penned by then Sunday Times of Malta editor Laurence Grech, who had spoken to Calleja before his meeting with the PM.

“He had asked me if I was going to resign, and I told him no. I wasn’t going to tell him, before I told the Prime Minister,” Calleja said.

“I didn’t speak to him for years, because I had invited him at my home, and I thought it was unfair he still went on to publish the article,” he said.

He insisted that it was not his wish to resign, as he had only one year left in his tenure. “There would have been a conflict of interest, and would have felt uncomfortable attending a press conference on security for example.”

Maurice Calleja with former Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami
Maurice Calleja with former Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami

Calleja also spoke about the leadership of former Prime Ministers, insisting they were all “good men” but with different characters.

“Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici was a perfect gentleman, I have never seen a more educated and smart person,” he said. “Eddie Fenech Adami was also very approachable, and while Mintoff was slightly more difficult to approach, he was still a good man.”

“Mintoff used to call for you, but he wouldn’t tell you on what he would be talking to you about, and so you used to go the meeting unprepared,” he said.

Calleja also spoke about his time as a ballistics expert, stating it was not an easy job.

“The first time I saw an autopsy, I was left shocked for around two weeks, I couldn’t even eat meat,” he said.

He said that he underwent a course with the Italian Carabinieri, and used to analyse everything from bullets and ammunition to explosives.

“I analysed more than 80 autopsies in my time as court expert,” he said.