Home Affairs Minister says ‘no conflict’ on his relative investigating Bogdanovic case
Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela told The Malta Independent that he does not believe there is a conflict of interest that his relative was appointed to head an internal investigation into the Daniel Bogdanovic case.
The minister explained that it was the Office of the Prime Minister which appointed former Brigadier Carmel Vassallo to lead the internal investigation, not him.
The alleged case took place a few weeks ago, 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. He was then arraigned in court on Monday.
The PN cried foul pointing out that the former Brigadier is related to Minister Abela, bringing the credibility of inquiry into question given that the minister’s relative is looking into accusations regarding the police department, which falls under Minister Abela’s remit.
The internal investigation was launched to check whether procedure and law were followed, to check whether the procedures in cases of domestic violence are adequate and whether there was any form of external intervention. The inquiry board is meant to report back in three weeks.
The minister explained that the statement announcing the inquiry was not sent by his ministry. He stressed that the inquiry’s remit does not involve any investigation into the minister himself, “and accusations made in the media, and by the Opposition, are not pointing the finger at any action I did as minister, or anyone from my ministry”.
He said the inquiry report will, once concluded, be handed to the Prime Minister.
He argued that even if the inquiry is looking at whether police should have acted in this way or not, it does not impinge on his work as a minister. “We are speaking about legal procedures, whether they were followed, and whether the police should have acted that way in this particular situation where domestic violence is alleged.”
The minister said that he does not interfere in these issues in his ministerial work, saying that it is up to the police to decide on how and who to investigate and on what action to use. “As such, I feel there is no conflict of interest as I am not under investigation.”
The minister said he does not know if the internal inquiry would be made public, saying that this question should be posed to the Office of the Prime Minister.