The former chief of the Police’s Economic Crimes Unit, Ian Abdilla, has been suspended from the Police Force and will face investigations under disciplinary rules governed by the Public Service Commission this website has learned.
Ian Abdilla was removed from the Economic Crimes Unit last June soon after Commissioner Angelo Gafà took office and was transferred to internal administrative work.
In a statement to this website this morning, in response to a specific question on whether Ian Abdilla had been suspended, the police confirmed that “the Malta Police Force as suspended a police official in line with the Public Service Commission Disciplinary Regulations, pending investigations.”
But the findings of the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry have led to his suspension and the commencement of proceedings that could result in his dismissal.
The inquiry was shocked to hear Ian Abdilla admit in March 2020 that he met Keith Schembri in Castille in 2017 to discuss reports by the Financial Intelligence Agency that documented suspicions that Keith Schembri was involved in crimes.
Abdilla admitted responding to a summons from Keith Schembri and advising the then prime minister’s chief of staff to seek legal advice to respond to reports of corruption and money laundering.
At the same time, the police dismissed press reports that Keith Schembri was suspected of crimes declaring there had been no basis even for an investigation.
In its report, the public inquiry remarked that Ian Abdilla and his police unit did nothing against Nexia BT on the back of advice from the attorney general that told them that raiding files and servers to investigate wrongdoing would be too intrusive.
The inquiry also found how Ian Abdilla sat on the evidence presented to him by staff from February 2017 onwards. His staff testified to the court in February 2020 saying that by then nothing had happened to their recommendations to Ian Abdilla to commence police action.
By the time Ian Abdilla testified to the inquiry in March 2020, they had questioned nobody about the Panama Papers that had been in the public domain since Daphne Caruana Galizia first reported on the subject in February of 2016.
The inquiry found that institutional inaction created an atmosphere of impunity that allowed Daphne Caruana Galizia to be killed. On this basis, the inquiry found the Maltese State responsible for the killing of the journalist.
This morning NGO Repubblika published a post in connection with Ian Abdilla as part of a series of posts calling for police action against people in power that continue to enjoy impunity.