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Socialist MEP slams European Commission’s response to medical visas scandals

Neville Gafa - Keith Schembri
Neville Gafa with Prime Minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri

Socialist MEP Ana Gomes criticised the European Commission’s (EC) response to the medical visas scandal involving Neville Gafa – a member of the Labour Party’s executive recruited to join the Office of the Prime Minister’s customer care unit while receiving a salary as a manager at the Foundation for Medical Services.

She said it was “incomprehensible” that her alert to the EC to investigate the allegations on this scheme got “such a ridiculous reply despite obvious risks to the integrity of whole Shenghen system”.

Transcripts of Libyans claiming they bought visas from an official in the Office of the Prime Minister were presented in court on Monday, as well as another document detailing how the alleged racket was conducted. They were submitted by Ivan Grech Mintoff as evidence of high-level corruption.

“If the allegations are correct, then corrupt officials have issued up to 88,000 Schengen Visas and an unknown number of medical visas, permitting an inflow in to the EU of persons that could be potential security threats and/or illegal migrants,” according to the document submitted by Grech Mintoff, the leader of Alleanza Bidla.

Gomes published her letter to commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos dated March 2018 in which she brought to the Commissioner’s attention the medical visa racket requesting an investigation. She pressed the Commission to to enquire whether the Maltese authorities had taken the necessary steps to establish the truth about these allegations.

The Commissioner’s reply was limited: “As regards the allegations that such visas may have been fraudulently issued or that they involve corruption or other criminal activities, it is for the competent national authorities to investigate the allegations”.

The action taken by the national authorities when the scandal was exposed was that Gafa got promoted into the inner circle of Muscat’s trusted aides. He is one of the main protagonists in Labour’s online hate groups – driving messages that target those critical of the government in groups shown to incite violence against dissidents.

Gafa took to Facebook to deny the documented claims, backing his statement by a crowd at a Labour Party mass meeting, saying he would take action against anyone repeating the information presented in court.

neville gafa

The documents show that the scheme yielded millions of euro for those involved despite the fact that the medical visas should have been issued for free.

The witnesses listed in the document – Serraj Essa, Ali S Gamati, Ayman Alzintani, Osama Mohamed Zaidi and Ali Algool – were not contacted by the police.

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