PN claims Home Affairs Minister chose relative to head Bogdanovic inquiry
The Nationalist Party yesterday claimed that Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela had chosen a relative to lead in inquiry into claims that football player Daniel Bogdanovic, who was charged with domestic violence, was apparently released in time to play a match.
The alleged case took place on the weekend before last, when the former international player was arrested over domestic violence and weapon offences. He was arrested on Saturday but was released on Sunday, allegedly after pressure by a government official.
PN Deputy Leader Beppe Fenech Adami told journalists yesterday that the person who is leading the inquiry, former Brigadier Carmel Vassallo, is married to the sister of the minister’s wife.
If wrongdoing is found in the investigation however, the PN will be looking for resignations at the ministerial level, Dr Fenech Adami said.
Justice Shadow Minister Jason Azzopardi, who also addressed the press conference, said it was unusual for the police to release a suspect they had just charged with domestic violence.
Dr Azzopardi said the footballer’s release was a “slap in the face” to NGOs working in the field of domestic violence, who know that the first 48 hours are crucial and that there was a chance that the suspect could speak to witnesses or tamper with evidence.
He argued that police bail is normally given within the 48 hours after an arrest if more time is needed for investigations. Dr Azzopardi said that the footballer was taken before the courts within the 48-hour period.
In the meantime the PN MPs also spoke about the stabbing case that took place at the home of Yana Mintoff, one of the daughters of former PM Dom Mintoff. Three people, including Ms Mintoff, were injured in the incident. Ms Mintoff’s son was slightly injured and a Romanian national was seriously injured. No one has been charged over the incident so far.
Dr Azzopardi said someone is always arraigned under arrest in stabbing cases. He asked why this was not the case and noted that the incident and the following investigation were shrouded in secrecy. “This gives the impression of a two weights, two measures approach”.
Turning to the police force in general, the PN representatives said that there is sophisticated organised crime in Malta. They said that it was only through luck that the car bomb in Bugibba did not kill more people.