VALLETTA: Malta had arrested nearly half of its traffic police force, including its chief, for suspected overtime fraud.
The arrest has been done after an anonymous tip-off from a whistle-blower.
Officials said 37 of the country’s 50 traffic cops had been were arrested as part of an investigation into what the police so far claims is abuse on overtime.
The traffic cops were detained on suspicion that they had fraudulently filed for hundreds of hours of non-existent overtime that they did not carry out over at least a three-year period.
Police from other divisions have been called in to fill in for the arrested officers, which LESA and Transport Malta are also assisting.
Malta’s Prime Minister, Robert Abela, celebrated the crackdown, saying it was good the police were investigating their own people.
“This confirms that we have a functioning police force,” said Mr Abela, who took office last month.
The small Mediterranean island has been struggling with an image problem in recent years, following allegations of widespread corruption, cronyism and financial wrongdoing among the political and business elite.
“The superintendent in charge of the traffic section submitted his resignation yesterday, and it has been accepted,” the police said in a statement on Wednesday.