The recent scandal that has enveloped the police force has been described in a BBC podcast as “small fry” when compared to the “broader goings on amongst Malta’s bigger fish”.
Speaking in the From Our Own Correspondent Podcast in an episode titled “Malta and the Mafia”, Juliet Rix spoke of how “the murder of a journalist has shone the spotlight on an island of much sunshine and murky business.”
She said that Malta has a saying: “We drive on the left, or wherever the shade is”, and noted that it seems like the country’s traffic police is following suit in this regards, with some “distinctly shady” practices on overtime and expenses.
Rix is referring to a scandal which has seen over 40 traffic branch police officers arrested as part of an overtime racket – equivalent of more than three-quarters of the unit.
“This may sound scandalous, but it seems like small fry besides the broader goings on amongst Malta’s bigger fish in the last few years”, she said in the podcast.
She said that Malta is a small island, which always had entrenched nepotism and intense political tribalism and favours, but noted that assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia – whom she described as “uncompromising and occasionally vicious” – had destroyed Malta’s peaceful image.
Rix spoke of her astonishment at how “night after night” the government would clear a makeshift memorial at the foot of the Great Siege monument, noting that this only stopped last month with the appointment of Robert Abela as Prime Minister instead of Joseph Muscat.
She says that the new regime at least does not include the “three senior figures” who pop up in most allegations, noting that the Police Commissioner – criticised for his inaction against government figures – is also gone.
“However, these men still walk Valletta’s streets, drink in its bars, eat in its restaurants without so much as full police questioning”, she says.
“There is plenty left to emerge in this story, plenty still to be hunted down by the bevy of Maltese and international journalists including two of Dahpne’s three sons, and there is still no date for trial”, she concludes.
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