Neville Gafà who was given a job at the Office of the Prime Minister on ‘privileged’ pay after being accused of bribery, is the latest government official to attempt to discredit the Russian whistleblower, Maria Efimova, who will be talking to MEPs investigating the rule of law in Malta on Monday.
Reacting to a report by The Shift that Efimova will be talking to the MEPs investigating Panama Papers revelations and the rule of law in Malta, Gafà tweeted: “Will she be speaking from the kitchen?”.
It was a reference to the whistleblower’s claims that she had seen documents showing that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s wife Michelle was the owner of an offshore company in a safe in the kitchen of Pilatus Bank’s offices in Ta’ Xbiex. The allegations were denied, but they are part of a criminal magisterial inquiry.
Gafà is not new to controversy after being accused of taking bribes connected to the issue of medical visas. Gafà has denied any wrongdoing but the police insist that they are still investigating the case. Concurrently, the police presented criminal charges against the Libyan national who made the claims against Gafà.
Following his engagement as a person of trust by the then Health Minister Konrad Mizzi at the Foundation for Medical Services in 2014, Gafà was transferred to Gozo upon being investigated.
Following the 3 June election, Gafà was employed at the Office of the Prime Minister’s customer care unit but he is still receiving a salary as a manager at the Foundation for Medical Services.
Before the 3 June election Efimova was the source of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s claims that Egrant received a payment of over €1 million from a Dubai company owned by Leyla Aliyeva, the daughter of Azerbaijan’s autocratic leader Ilham Aliyev.
Efimova fled the country in August 2017, after her elderly father was intimidated by Russian private detectives “hired by individuals from Malta”. She was the target of government officials and Labour-leaning media who systematically discredited Efimova.