In June of last year Ian Abdilla was transferred out of the Economic Crimes Unit. Yesterday he was suspended altogether from the police force. The police department says he’ll face PSC proceedings. That’s nowhere near enough.
Ian Abdilla is not accused of taking a part-time job without his boss’s permission. He’s not being disciplined because he didn’t fill out his over-time sheet correctly or was late for work or was rude to a colleague. This is no minor HR matter to be settled in house. It is not even a major HR matter that can be closed with his dismissal.
Ian Abdilla is accused of very, very serious crimes.
In a comment beneath my earlier post someone brought up this article Daphne Caruana Galizia had written. She reported how Ian Abdilla sat on FIAU reports into Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and Adrian Hillman. His underlings confirmed this to the independent inquiry. He could not deny it.
Without his criminal complicity, Joseph Muscat’s political protection of Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi would not have been enough. If Ian Abdilla did his job, exercised his responsibilities and his powers as the law required him to do, what Robert Abela said recently would have been true: “there’s impunity for no one in Malta”. But there is.
Ian Abdilla sat on and through the Pilatus Bank inquiry. Any piece of evidence that the magistrate was aware of was handed up through Ian Abdilla. Any piece of evidence the magistrate did not find, Ian Abdilla was there not finding it for him.
As Daphne Caruana Galizia stated in this post he would ask evidence from journalists behind closed doors in the context of an inquiry where they would be bound by secrecy. Complying with his wishes amounts to burying evidence which it is the public’s interest to know.
Ian Abdilla froze the investigations into John Dalli’s daughter. He held back the police from timely raids on Nexia BT and Pilatus Bank.
He was present when the Pilatus Bank whistle-blower testified, not the first and not the last episode of persecution and intimidation that she spoke of.
While he sat on FIAU findings now ruled by the inquiry as the underlying cause for the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Edward Scicluna told the country the FIAU reports were “written to be leaked”. Jonathan Ferris was thrown out of his job and he’s still denied whistleblower status and compensation for his unlawful dismissal.
Ian Abdilla maliciously and consciously went against what was expected of him. In discussions with Keith Schembri he violated his obligation to ensure that suspects of crimes are not tipped off about investigations against them. In speaking with the suspects he implicated himself in the execution of their crimes. In holding on his desk for at least three years evidence that was sufficient to authorise formal investigations and commence interrogations of suspects he suppressed evidence he was in duty bound to pursue.
These are not “mistakes”, “errors of judgement”, “lack of professional zeal or decorum”. These are crimes. There’s only one place where crimes can and must be prosecuted. The Head of the Economic Crimes Unit Alexandra Mamo’s job now is to arrest her predecessor.
Before that happens, no one out here, no FATF, no Moneyval, no honest law-abiding, tax-paying citizen, can ever believe again that our police are on the right side of the law.