A British-era stone marker is still in Agriculture Minister Anton Refalo’s home, he confirmed on Thursday, while remaining evasive on how it was acquired.
The minister has come under fire after photos on Facebook emerged showing the historic artefact in his house, raising questions as to whether such an item could be privately owned.
Refalo is a former chair of Heritage Malta and a known collector of historic items.
While remaining evasive on how the stone marker, with a Victoria Regina inscription, came into his possession, Refalo confirmed to Times of Malta that it is still in his Qala home.
“I have said what I needed to say and for the moment I have nothing else to add, in the best interests of the administration of justice,” the minister, a lawyer, said.
He said he had cooperated fully with the police and the superintendence of national heritage.
He confirmed that the stone marker is still at his home near the pool.
“I invited the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage to see it, he did and it’s still there. I don’t think I would do anything to it that wasn’t under instruction from the Superintendence.”
Asked whether he had received clearance for the artefact to remain in his home, Refalo did not confirm nor deny it, stating only that he intended to cooperate fully with authorities.
“I have told them, even in writing, that I will obey every directive they give me because I intend to cooperate in full.”
Pressed on how he had acquired the stone marker, the minister insisted he had not taken advantage of his position at Heritage Malta to do so.
“I have never abused of any position. National heritage is a part of my heart and I love everything that is Maltese.”
He added that he had nothing further to comment on the matter.
Earlier in May, Refalo was questioned by the police about the stone marker being in his possession.
The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, as well as Heritage Malta have been mum on the future of the artefact.
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