Malta Police Commissioner joins Board of Asset Recovery Office

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Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Asset Recovery Office, replacing Deputy Police Commissioner and Chief Financial Crime Officer Alexandra Mamo.

Gafa was appointed on September 1, 2021, joining President, Judge Emeritus Joseph David Camilleri, Vice President Frankie Mercieca, FIAU Director Kenneth Farrugia and Tax Commissioner Marvin Gaerty on the Board of Directors.

Speaking to Lovin Malta, the police did not explain why Gafa was replacing Mamo, simply highlighting the regulation which states that the police commissioner or a representative must sit on the board.

The Asset Recovery Bureau is an autonomous public entity that preserves assets suspected or confirmed to be the proceeds of crime. Its main functions are asset traceability, asset management and asset disposal.

It was flagged as an ineffective body by MoneyVal, with the FATF also flagging the entity’s issues. While it was set up in 2015, the office was effectively banned from operating due to the lack of necessary regulations and has remained worrisomely strapped for resources.

A parliamentary question revealed that the office had confiscated only € 1,500 in August 2018 and € 1,260 in October 2018.

It also sparked controversy in 2020 when it sold a Ferrari sports car from a suspected drug dealer who had not yet been convicted, with the state paying out € 70,000 in compensation.

However, in October 2020 sweeping changes were announced for the office, as part of a € 2.2million project to build a facility that will respond to their inquiries and significantly increase resources.

The four-story building will hold items salvaged from criminal activity, including jewelry, artwork, boats, trailers and cars.

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