Activists have written to the police and government demanding that Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta, who is married to the Minister for Gozo, should be barred from holding a role at the FIAU due to conflict of interest.

Their request comes in the wake of a confirmation by the Court of Appeal on Friday that Mr Valletta must no longer form part of the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. His presence, the court ruled, breached the fundamental rights of the journalist’s family.

The conflict of interest stemmed from the fact that Mr Valletta is married to Minister Justyne Caruana and is a board member of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), the court said.

In a letter sent to Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar and Finance Minister Edward Scicluna on Saturday, members of Occupy Justice, together with activist and blogger Manuel Delia, called on them to immediately remove Mr Valletta as liaison officer, so that he would also no longer sit on the Board of Governors.

Unacceptable for the husband of a government minister to occupy the post

“We are convinced that in light of the sentence handed down by the Court of Appeal, it is now more than ever evident that it is decisively unacceptable for the husband of a government minister to occupy the post of Police Liason Officer with the FIAU.

“The potential conflict of interest that existed when Mr Valletta was appointed Police Liaison Officer at the FIAU while his wife was parliamentary secretary and then minister transformed itself into a real one the moment serious allegations were made against government members and others high up in the government administration,” the activists argued.

Such allegations, they added, fell within the remit of the anti-money laundering unit and it was public knowledge that the FIAU had even investigated some of those claims.

In its judgment on Friday, the court also observed that, apart from the fact that Mr Valletta is married to the Gozo Minister, in view of the allegations that the FIAU had failed to investigate a report on money-laundering by political persons, including ministers, his continued presence in the murder investigation “seriously undermined the element of objective impartiality”.

“We did not need the Constitutional Court to tell us that a blatant conflict of interest that could prevent justice exists. However it appears that you needed the Court to tell you what is evident to everyone else. Now it’s time to remove this obstacle to justice from everywhere,” the activists wrote in the letter, sent through notary Robert Aquilina.

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