A high-ranking police officer who was found guilty of various offences against his superior in 2012 was recently promoted, The Sunday Times of Malta has learnt.

Police inspector Mario Tonna was last August appointed superintendent despite the fact he had been previously banned from seeking further promotions following his defiant stance against his superior.

Back in 2011, Inspector Tonna had been found guilty of various criminal offences, including intimidating and harassing his superior, Superintendent Carmelo Bartolo.

He was also found guilty of making the inappropriate use of a mobile phone and of committing a crime he was duty-bound to prevent as a police officer.

The original sentence was confirmed by the court of criminal appeal a year later with the exception that Inspector Tonna’s sentence was declared as harassment but not intimidation.

This is the meritocracy we now have in the police force

The incident dates back to November 2008 when Inspector Tonna called his direct superior several times on his mobile phone, calling him a “bull” and mimicking animal grunts.

Following the calls, Superintendent Bartolo and his police team had found Inspector Tonna at a football club in Naxxar, while on duty, and arrested him.

Inspector Tonna had refused to hand over his two mobile phones. But after a search, the police had found one of Mr Tonna’s phones hidden in a planter outside the football club.

Call logs showed he had called his superior 20 times in 20 minutes without speaking to him.

Following the court’s decision, Mr Tonna was not fired from the force, but was instead prevented from climbing up the police ranks.

However, all changed soon after a change in government and Mr Tonna was permitted to re-apply for the post of superintendent, the fourth highest rank in the force.

Following interviews, Mr Tonna placed among the top three candidates and was officially promoted last August.

Senior police officers told The Sunday Times of Malta that the promotion awarded to Mr Tonna has ruffled feathers in the force.

“This is the meritocracy we now have in the police force,” one senior officer said.

The Times of Malta recently reported that several police officers had left the force this year, including deputy and assistant commissioners and superintendents.

A number of inspectors who were not promoted to superintendents have also called it a day.


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