The Malta Independent 17 July 2018, Tuesday

Medical visas: lengthy dossier with witness accounts presented in court

Monday, 18 June 2018, 16:15 Last update: about 28 days ago

A lengthy dossier on the allegedly highly profitable medical visas racket was presented in court as part of two libel cases against The Malta Independent on Sunday.

The dossier (link below), filed before Magistrate Francesco Depasquale this morning, contains the transcripts of interviews with a number of Libyan nationals who claim they were made to pay for medical visas for treatment in Malta, treatment that was meant to have been given free of charge under a bilateral agreement to treat Libyans wounded in hostilities here in Malta.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dozens of Libyans, however, allege that they were made to make payments to government official Neville Gafà to secure their medical visas to enter Malta and be treated.

The newspaper’s reportage saw Gafà file two civil libel cases against its editor, David Lindsay, and even a criminal libel case, which dropped as a result of a change in legislation provided for by the new media act, which did away with criminal libel.

The dossier presented in court yesterday points to high-level corruption from within the Office of the Prime Minister and the health ministry, where Gafà respectively is and has been employed.

The near 100-page report explains in detail how the racket operated and the kind of sums that were allegedly being requested by Gafà , which ranged from a few thousand euros to over a million.

But it does not stop there, the report also carries allegations about the illicit sale of Maltese visas from the Maltese consulate in Tripoli.

“The apparent illicit sales of visas by persons close to the Prime Minister calls into question the very security of the Schengen Zone. I hope and pray that no terrorists gained access to the EU with visas issued by Malta,” Mr Grech Mintoff commented yesterday.

 “Furthermore, I believe we have a duty to help those children and adults who were in dire need of medical treatment and didn’t get their medical visas because their families couldn’t afford the bribes and as a result were disabled or died.”

The racket was netting big money for those participating in it, the dossier, which is currently doing the rounds of the Europe’s political establishment, alleges.

It is claimed in the dossier that at least five Libyan national are ready and willing to testify that Gafà requested money for medical visas, and that they have not even been contacted by the Maltese police even though their allegations were known to the force.

One of the witnesses states that Gafà requested €3 million to be paid into a bank account and for consequent payments of €3,500 to be made for each medical visa that was to be issued, a sum that was later reduced to €3,000 per visa, after some haggling.

In another transcript filed in court yesterday, another witness claims that Gafà requested €1,750,000 for the issuance of 22 medical visas, and that he got just what he asked for.

Many other witnesses, the dossier says, are also willing to come forward and tell their stories but they fear repercussions by the Maltese powers that be.

According to the document: “As the formal issuers of the visas, the Maltese authorities could easily revoke their visa and would be right – legally – to do so, based on these witnesses’ own admission of their method of obtaining the visas.”

As such, some witnesses say they will only come forward if they were to be given some form of guarantee that they would be protected.  Grech Mintoff proposes that the European Union could intervene to give the necessary protection.

The document filed in court yesterday suggests, “Given the importance of the functioning of the visa system and the witnesses lack of trust in the Maltese government it might be wise and prudent for the European Commission to provide for some form of guaranteed anonymity – or, some form of amnesty or pardon – that ensures that the witnesses can testify without the fear of deportation or losing their present rights.”

The European Parliament’s European Christian Political Movement (ECPM), which is politically aligned to Grech Mintoff’s Alleanza Bidla, yesterday backed the contents of the dossier: “We, as ECPM, stand behind Grech Mintoff and Alleanza Bidla in this brave step.

“We call on the EU institutions to conduct a full investigation into all facts presented today and an immediate assessment into if this has been detrimental for European security.”

The ECPM added that, “The scandal points to high-level direct involvement in criminal activities such as visa trade and human trafficking. Up to 88.000 Schengen visas and an unknown number of medical visas were allegedly illegally sold for millions of euros without proper checks in a country where ISIS-terrorists are active. 

“This may have seriously impacted national security across Europe.”


Dossier Part 1 and Part 2

  • don't miss