An Identity Malta employee has been accused in court of embezzling thousands of euro paid for the granting of passports.

Joseph Calleja, 60, from Mosta, who is suspended from his job, pleaded not guilty and was granted bail.

He was also accused of misappropriation, fraud and falsification of documents, which offences were aggravated by the fact that he was a public officer.

It was alleged that the man had defrauded a local bank out of a sum exceeding €5,000. Another sum also in excess of €5,000 was allegedly misappropriated to the detriment of Identity Malta and the state. Although the exact sum has not yet been established, investigators alleged that the full amount exceeded €20,000.

READ: Police investigating misappropriation of passport funds - worker suspended

The prosecution explained that the man was employed within the Passport Department and had been tasked with handling the reconciliation of funds. He was suspended from work when suspicions regarding the alleged embezzlement pointed in his direction.

Before MJoseph Mifsud, the man pleaded not guilty and was granted bail against a deposit of €1,000 and a personal guarantee of €10,000.

On Wednesday the government said in a statement that the man had offered to reimburse the funds if the police were not called in. 

Inspectors Matthew Vella and Priscilla Caruana Lee prosecuted.
Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Josette Sultana were defence counsel.

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