The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Authorities ‘now have to move up the chain’ – Sant; ‘Brains behind scheme must be arraigned' - Casa

Kevin Schembri Orland Sunday, 17 September 2023, 08:30 Last update: about 9 months ago

Kevin Schembri Orland is reporting from Strasbourg

Labour Party MEP Alfred Sant and Nationalist Party MEP David Casa both say that the authorities have to arraign those higher up the chain on the benefits’ fraud scandal.

In separate interviews with this newsroom, held in Strasbourg, both Sant and Casa were asked about the benefits’ racket that has rocked the country.

The Times of Malta reported that up to a possible 800 people could have received severe disability benefits which they weren’t entitled to. The Prime Minister, Robert Abela, has said that investigations so far have confirmed 160 may have done so, and the government has appointed a board to evaluate the process of the disability benefits scheme. A former PL MP, Silvio Grixti, has also been implicated in the racket for allegedly providing false documents enabling people to receive benefits they were not entitled to. He resigned two years ago.

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Alfred Sant, asked for his thoughts about the scandal and about what he believes the government and authorities should be doing to tackle it, said: "Its totally disquieting that an abuse that was rampant under the Gonzi PN administration that I thought would be over, is still running, and it’s got to be stopped.”

“Heads would roll,” was his response to a question about how he would tackle the situation if he were in charge.

As for whether he believes the authorities are strong enough to arraign all those involved, he said: "Well they are doing it at a micro level if I understand correctly, now they have to move up the chain."

For his part, David Casa stressed the need for the brains behind the racket to face justice. “The brains behind the scheme, those who operated it and led it, must be arraigned," he said. He alleged that rather than being called a scandal, "it is a scheme organised by the Labour Party to steal votes, to the detriment of people with special needs. There is anger. People are really fed up".  Casa also questions who will be carrying political responsibility.

Casa alleged that schemes “managed by the Labour Party in government are susceptible to being corrupted”.

He says that the institutions were "hijacked by the government. Only one institution still works well, the courts”.

Interview with Alfred Sant can be seen here

Interview with David Casa can be seen here

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