The Malta Independent 24 June 2018, Sunday

PN’s proposed IIP scheme reform will not sell citizenship - Busuttil

Julian Bonnici Thursday, 11 May 2017, 11:11 Last update: about 2 years ago

PN Leader Simon Busuttil today clarified his position on the controversial IIP scheme, telling journalists in Qrendi that he maintained that citizenship should not be sold and that he would reform the iniative to better reflect the investor programme it is meant to be.

This comes after a number of doubts were raised concerning Dr Busuttil’s change in position on the sale of citizenship scheme.

Dr Busuttil had formerly said that he was against the initiative in principle. However, he recently announced he would keep the scheme should he be elected.

This has been met with criticism from the Labour Party who say that this runs contrary to Dr Busuttil’s assertions that he is a principled man, unlike Dr Muscat.

The scheme has been at the centre of allegations that the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and Nexia BT owner Brian Tonna were involved in money laundering or the proceeds of crime related to kickbacks from the sale of Maltese passports.

Dr Busuttil said that a PN Government would reform the programme and ‘clean it’ of the alleged mismanagement.

The Nationalist Party was vehemently against the scheme when it was first introduced but relaxed its position when a number of compromises were made with the government, namely that the sale should be linked to investment and a period of residency in Malta.

At the press conference, Dr Busuttil acknowledged that those measures were not enough and that a number of abuses take place.

It has often been claimed that a large number of applicants simply put their name under a rented property but rarely reside in the country.

It remains to be seen whether or not the IIP is essential to the costings of the proposals the PN has put forward. 

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