Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa has been appointed to the Board of the Asset Recovery Bureau, replacing Deputy Police Commissioner and head of financial crime Alexandra Mamo.
Gafa was appointed on 1 September 2021, and joined with Chairperson Judge Emeritus Joseph David Camilleri, Deputy Chairman Frankie Mercieca, FIAU chief Kenneth Farrugia, and Inland Revenue Commissioner Marvin Gaerty on the -board.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, the police did not explain why Gafa was replacing Mamo, he simply pointed to a regulation that says that the police commissioner or representative should sit on the board.
The Asset Recovery Office is an autonomous public entity that preserves suspected or confirmed assets that are the proceeds of crime. Its main functions are asset tracking, asset management, and asset disposal.
It was marked as an inefficient body by MoneyVal, with the FATF also marking issues in the entity. While set up in 2015, the bureau was effectively banned from operating due to a lack of necessary regulation and remained a resource concern.
A parliamentary question revealed that the bureau confiscated only € 1,500 in August 2018 and € 1,260 in October 2018.
It is also a court of controversy in 2020 when it sold a Ferrari sports car of a suspected drug dealer who had not yet been convicted, with the state throwing € 70,000 in compensation.
However, in October 2020, major changes were announced for the bureau, as part of a € 2.2 million project to build a facility to cater for their investigations and greatly improve resources.
The four-storey building will preserve recovered from criminal activities, including jewelery, works of art, boats, trailers and cars.
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