The Malta Independent 27 November 2021, Saturday

Prime Minister Robert Abela cannot escape responsibility for passport scandal - PN

Thursday, 22 April 2021, 19:08 Last update: about 7 months ago

The PN said that the published stories regarding the sale of Maltese citizenship confirm that for Robert Abela, anything goes.

The Nationalist Party was reacting to a series of articles published by newsrooms both local and internationally in what has been called, the Passport Papers. This newsroom has thus far revealed that a member of the Saudi royal family successfully saw his name removed from the Government Gazette after personally raising the concern with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, despite there being a government obligation to publish the names of all naturalised citizens. In addition, it has also been reported that a Gozo apartment block was being rented out to prospective IIP applicants despite not having been finished yet.

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"Abela's government created a passport sale scheme through which a large number of people who did not qualify for citizenship, ended up becoming Maltese without having any connection to our country," the PN said.

The PN said that the basic conditions imposed by the law on this scheme, including of residency and presence in the country, were not being observed. "As a consequence a number of foreigners literally spent a few hours in the country and were given citizenship. More than that, it results that Joseph Muscat personally intervened so that names will remain a mystery, when they were meant to be published in the government gazette."

The PN said that this has damaged Malta's reputation and that Malta is no longer seen as a serious country that can operate citizenship and residency schemes."

The PN noted that procedures are being taken against Malta by the EU. "The articles confirm that in these abuses there are people close to the government involved, politicians and even former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat."

"Robert Abela cannot escape responsibility as this all happened while he was a consultant at Castille."

"It is clear that the surplus that the PL boasted about only came about through a corrupt system."

The PN insisted that The Prime Minister take steps against all those who deceived during the implementation of this scheme.

Civil Society NGO Repubblika also spoke out about the issue.

The sale of Maltese passports scheme is built on fraud, Repubblika said.

"It was a lie that applicants would be living in Malta for a year before applying. What is worse is that the government not only closed its eyes to this, but participated in it."

The Maltese passport scheme depends on unacceptable discretion of ministers, the NGO added, "without any scrutiny. The regulator closes its eyes to everything."

The NGO also said that the passport scheme helps those who acquire a passport break the rules of their home countries. "It is clear that a good number of those who sought a passport come from countries which wouldn't allow this. This places Malta in diplomatic conflict with those countries."

The NGO said that it will publish a document regarding citizenship in the coming days.

Meanwhile, politician Arnold Cassola has written to Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa asking to launch an investigation into the former Identity Malta Director, Jonathan Cardona, over the hiding of the identity of a Saudi given citizenship, among other things.

 


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