A man who passed himself off as a CID officer has been ordered to refund over €53,000 to the victims of his fraud. Plaintiffs Joseph and Maria Anna Vella and their daughter Maria Sciberras told the court they had been introduced to Gino Zammit in 2004 and were told that he was a police officer who had been assigned to work with the Criminal Investigation Department. They trusted him as a result and in the last seven months of 2004 Mr and Mrs Vella loaned him Lm15,352 towards his business. Furthermore, Mr Vella and Mr Zammit had travelled to Turkey together. Prior to their departure, Mr Zammit had insisted that Mr Vella hand over to him half the cash he was carrying. Mr Vella handed over to Mr Zammit Lm2,225 while they were still in Malta. But, when they got to Turkey, Mr Zammit told Mr Vella that the Turkish authorities had confiscated the money. On her part, Mrs Sciberras told the court that she had problems with her husband and that Mr Zammit had offered to get her information about his financial affairs. She paid Mr Zammit Lm4,000 for information about a safe deposit box allegedly held by her husband with HSBC and borrowed a further Lm5,000 to pay Mr Zammit for more information. The plaintiffs subsequently realised that Mr Zammit was not a police officer and that he had not carried out any work on their behalf.(timesofmalta.com) Fraud must always be repaid
Matthew Psaila case: Senior officer explains how training has to be tough
The compilation of evidence against an army officer and an NCO who stand charged with the involuntary homicide of 19-year-old Matthew Psaila during a training exercise continued today, with a Lieutenant Colonel testifying how such exercises were meant to prepare soldiers for challenging eventualities. "The aim of training exercises such as the one we had here is to train soldiers, preparing them for challenging eventualities, in which we teach them stamina, endurance, leadership, teamwork, team spirit. This training comes in useful when soldiers are called to assist in difficult situations in Malta such as saving people from the Msida and Birkirkara valleys during floods," Lt Col Ian Ruggier testified. He was giving evidence for the defence in the case instituted against Lt Christian Vella, 27, of Zabbar and Lance Corporal Marvic Peregin, 31, of Pembroke, who stand charged with the involuntary homicide of Gnr Psaila. Mr Psaila died three days after finding himself in difficulties at Chadwick Lakes on February 13, 2009 while wading through cold water in a tunnel. Lt Vella was in charge of the training exercise and Bdr Peregin was assisting the recruits. Lt Col Ruggier said the army often also organised training exercises abroad, such as in the Alps, to expose the soldiers to tough conditions. In Italy, for example, training was conducted in cold and wet conditions, with temperatures down to -20 degrees. He said he had participated in difficult training exercises such as the one in which Gnr Psaila . In 1992 he participated in a difficult training exercise in Wales with the British army in "poor and very challenging conditions". Lawyer Michael Tanti Dougall, appearing for Gnr Psaila's family, asked the witness whether the soldiers had safety equipment during the Wales exercise. He replied that they had no flotation devices or life jackets.(timesofmalta.com) No training is easy
Montenegro, Malta aim to boost economic ties
A state visit by Montenegro President Filip Vujanovic aims to foster stronger economic ties between two of Europe’s smallest countries. Dr Vujanovic is accompanied by a business delegation, which joined Maltese business representatives in a business forum organised by Malta Enterprise yesterday. The delegation comprises representatives of businesses operating in a number of sectors, including tourism, construction, and maritime transport. The state visit is the first by a Montenegrin head of state. The country only became independent in 2006, although it had previously been independent until 1918. Mr Vujanovic has been its president since 2003, when the country was part of Serbia and Montenegro. As is custom, the Montenegrin president was greeted by his Maltese counterpart, George Abela, in an official ceremony outside the Palace in Valletta yesterday morning. Following talks, they delivered statements to the press, with Dr Abela going first. Dr Abela noted that diplomatic ties between the two countries have grown since 2006, and said that it was only natural for the development of economic ties to follow. He insisted that the two countrie.(independent.com.mt) This is a very clever maneuver.