In the interview he gave us, Jonathan Ferris spoke of his involvement in the Libya visa scam investigations. He described a container of documents being delivered to him and a bunch of policemen reporting to him sifting through heaps of paperwork.
Until they gave up and were taken off the case to investigate something else.
The perpetrators, including people in political office, walked away scot-free.
Speaking to the BBC a few weeks ago a UK corruption expert said the handful of convictions on money laundering secured by the Malta police is disproportionately minute when seen in the scale of funds that goes through this country.
We tell the rest of the world that we have a robust financial services legislative infrastructure.
But then, as it has been confirmed by home minister Michael Farrugia in a reply to a question by Godfrey Farrugia, it turns out there’s only one qualified accountant in the police force. Just one. There used to be 4 in 2013 but 3 have since left or been removed and were never replaced.
It gives you the shivers to think of all those ‘ġab C fil-Malti, l-Ingliż u l-Metts’ sifting through layers of banking transactions bouncing around the world between Dubai, the Cook Islands, the BVI, Malta and back again designed to confuse the sharpest auditors, let alone our boys in blue.
Let us not be naive. It’s not like up till 2013 the police force was manned by a troupe of experts who went on to the board of the world bank. Somehow we have long been stuck in the notion that law enforcement kicks in when there is blood on the floor. Otherwise, somehow, things are expected to solve themselves.
This has created an environment of impunity for money-laundering and white collar crime. They are perceived as victimless crimes and therefore a low priority compared with keeping drunks apart in village festas.
To police the secretive activities of hundreds of nameless banks operating from here, each equipped with armies of accountants and experts, the police enforces the complex, sophisticated laws we transpose from European directives with one accountant.
What leg are we going to stand on when we face the pressure of the persistent accusation that this is a banana jurisdiction?