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MALTATODAY 16 April 2023

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4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 16 APRIL 2023 NEWS Opera onal Programme I – European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020 "Fostering a compe ve and sustainable economy to meet our challenges" Project part-financed by the Cohesion Fund Co-financing rate: 85% European Union Funds; 15% Na onal Funds CONNECTING THE DROPS CIRCULAR WATER MANAGEMENT FOR URBAN GREENING THE ENERGY & WATER AGENCY IN COLLABORATION WITH MCAST & UNIVERSITY OF MALTA INVITE YOU TO AN INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP ON: This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity for students and recent graduates to meet and learn from people working in the water sector. Interested in making your voice heard and to propose sustainable solutions? Join us to learn and contribute as we very much look forward to what will be proposed by the next generation. We will offer work placements for PAID INTERNSHIPS. Register Now. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING, KINDLY REGISTER ON WATER.ORG.MT/JOIN-THE-DROPS/WORKSHOP-WATER-SECTOR/, BY CALLING 27772777 OR EMAIL ON INFO@EMCS.COM.MT THU 27 TH APRIL 2023 between 8:30 and 15:00 FRI 28 TH APRIL 2023 between 8:30 and 13:00 AT ESPLORA CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The case goes back to August 2021 when Muuse Igaale Ali, a prominent figure in the local So- mali community, had been de- tained at the airport after failing to declare €160,000 in cash he was carrying with him while boarding a flight to Istanbul. He was subsequently charged with tax evasion and money laun- dering and was remanded in cus- tody. At the time of being remand- ed in custody, Igaale was still in possession of €10,000, which had not been affected by the charges. But in the next sitting, Igaale's lawyers, Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb, informed the court that when their client had asked the prison authorities for the money to be returned to him, he had been told that the cash was missing. Igaale subsequently filed a police report at the Paola police station, accompanied by officers from the police Anti Money Laundering squad. A magisterial inquiry into the disappearance of the money was subsequently conducted by mag- istrate (now judge) Doreen Clarke. The inquiry established that while he was being escorted back to prison from his arraignment in August 2021, Igaale had tested positive for COVID-19 and was immediately placed in isolation, in Division 14 – the section of prison allocated to COVID posi- tive inmates – without the usual handover between the police and prison officials having been car- ried out. Once in the Corradino Correc- tional Facility, the inmate had transferred the contents of his hand luggage and another bag that he had been carrying since his arrest into a white plastic bag. This bag, together with the cash, which was put in an envelope, re- mained in Igaale's possession. He was the only inmate being held in the division at the time. The day after Igaale's arrest the same prison official who had su- pervised him while he was trans- ferring his belongings into the white bag and envelope, filed an internal report. According to the warder, Igaale had offered him money in exchange for use of his mobile phone. Two days later, the same Cor- rectional Officer asked Igaale to hand over his possessions to him, to which instruction Igaale com- plied. The inquiry noted that the protocols for registering inmates' belongings had not been followed by this prison official, neither up- on Igaale's admission, nor at this stage. After completing his two-week quarantine period, the inmate had been transferred to Division 20, and two days later transferred again to Division 2. He had spoken to the Correctional Inspector in charge about the fact that he had handed his belongings to the Cor- rectional Officer. Three days later, Igaale was taken to the Chief Correctional Officer's office to be registered. At that point, the CCO, Helenio Galea, was informed that Igaale's belongings had been taken from his possession and secured in a separate room. But when this room was unlocked in order for the registration procedure to be carried out, the cash was nowhere to be found. The inquiry said that the prison official who had initially super- vised Igaale was the only person who appeared to have taken pos- session of the inmate's belongings. Besides highlighting the need for a backup system for register- ing new inmates, the magisterial inquiry had concluded that it was apparent that sometime between 25 August and 10 September 2021 the offence of aggravated theft had taken place and identified the Correctional Officer in question as liable to prosecution. But although the magistrate or- dered the inquiry to be delivered to the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police for fur- ther action to be taken, no further steps appear to have been taken. A spokesperson for the Correc- tional Services Agency told Malt- aToday the organisation cooper- ates with any investigation by the relevant authorities but was una- ware that this specific inquiry was concluded. "To this date, the agency was not notified that any investigations in this regard have been concluded," the spokesperson said. She added that the agency has recently enhanced its procedures related to valuable possessions brought by inmates upon their ad- mission to the Corradino Correc- tional Facility. "These include the use of sealed bags, registers, and a dedicated secure room to store these pos- sessions. Moreover, the agency continuously updates its policies and procedures to provide a more secure and transparent admission to the facility," she said. Additional reporting by Karl Azzopardi No steps taken after magistrate referred case to AG, police The magistrate ordered the inquiry to be delivered to the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police for further action to be taken

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