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No leads in drug probe of PL club

The police interviewed “all the persons involved” in the allegations of possible drug trafficking at a Labour Party club but this did not help them make any inroads in their investigation.

The allegations emerged from a secret recording of PL deputy leader Toni Abela that was published last week.

None of the statements of those interviewed revealed any details or information “which could further lead to identify the person or place mentioned in the recording,” the police said. They did not specify when the interviews took place but said the investigation started in October 2010.

Neither would they say why the location of the alleged crime could not be identified.

In the recording, Dr Abela was told by the president of an unnamed PL club that someone was seen “cutting up a white block” in the kitchen.

Based on that information, Dr Abela had sacked the barman of the club but did not report the incident to the police.

In the recording Dr Abela is heard saying: “I told him: What do you want me to do, file a report at the police station to get you in trouble? ...I told him you removed the evidence and only God knows what would happen if I went to the police.”

In an interview with The Times, Dr Abela said he did not report the case because he feared he would put the “honest” committee members at risk. “I used my discretion. You may not agree with me. But I said if I file a report I would get these people in trouble,” he said, pointing out that the club president who reported the case had disposed of the evidence.

According to Maltese law, people only have an obligation to report a crime if this threatens the safety of the Government or if the crime falls under elements of the Money Laundering Act.

However, Dr Abela told The Times on Friday that the Police Commissioner called him in for questioning on Valentine’s Day because of a section in the Criminal Code that obliges people to supply information to the police when a case is under investigation.

“I said you have to have an investigation first, so it does not apply to me because there was no investigation,” Dr Abela said. The Times has asked the Labour Party to supply the statement given by the club president which Dr Abela asked him to write before he sacked the barman. No reply has yet been forthcoming.

Allegations ‘unfounded’

Meanwhile, the police also told The Times they investigated the other allegations made in the recording, about Dr Abela having asked a “Labourite policeman” to delay criminal action regarding an incident at Labour’s Attard club.

The police said they had launched an investigation in October 2010 on the strength of a complaint lodged by Richard Vella who suspected the officer prosecuting this and another case regarding bodily harm was not performing his duties properly.

During the course of the investigation, the recording had been produced to corroborate these allegations, but after thorough investigation the allegations proved “unfounded”, the police said.

“The prosecuting officer strongly denies that he was ever approached by Dr Abela,” the police said, adding that the charges against Mr Vella’s alleged assailant on the bodily harm case were in fact issued in May 2010.

When asked about the officer’s denial of their meeting, Dr Abela said he had never spoken to the prosecuting officer but had simply met a police constable at the station’s reception desk who happened to tell him he was a Labourite. Dr Abela insisted that his only comment to the policeman was that the case in question could be resolved civilly, as it was.

The police said “no further action was considered to be required” in respect of Mr Vella’s complaint.

But to make sure the case was pursued impartially, another inspector was assigned to oversee the court proceedings, which have not yet been concluded.

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