Gafa’ goes ‘missing’ as he faces court over unlawful payments

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and the Chief Medical Officer were forced to publish a notification in the Government Gazette to inform Labour crony Neville Gafa’ of a pending court case, as the former OPM operative has somehow ‘disappeared’.

The Shift is informed that court marshals and police officers made numerous attempts to serve Gafa with an official summons at his registered address in Mellieha for a court appearance next week.

However, despite physical attempts and notices left in his letter box, Gafa’ has failed to contact the authorities.

Lawyers speaking to The Shift said that although Gafa’ might have been trying to avoid the summons, its publication in the Gazette now obliges him to face justice.

The court case was filed in 2017 an attempt to recover some €6,538 in extra payments that Gafa’ erroneously received when he was employed as a ‘person of trust’ at the Health Ministry.

No one knows what Gafa’s role was, only that he spent most of his time at the Office of the Prime Minister aiding then Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.

Because he was employed on a person of trust contract — a political appointment with no entitlement to overtime — he was not entitled to the hundreds of hours of overtime payments he claimed and received.

The authorities immediately asked Gafa’ to hand back the money but he refused, forcing the Ministry to attempt to recover the funds through the courts.

Magistrate Simon Grech dismissed the case on a technicality, claiming the Ministry had filed its claim under a wrong legal procedure. Dr Grech was one of the last Magistrates to be appointed on the recommendation of disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

The Health Ministry filed an appeal, insisting the Magistrate’s decision was legally wrong.

While the courts and police have been unable to reach Gafa’ at his own registered address to serve the summons, he’s a regular guest at Schembri’s home in Mellieha. Gafa’ also keeps an active public profile on social media, most recently as the self-styled ‘defender’ of Malta against irregular migration.

Gafa’ has become a regular news item since Labour’s return to power in 2013, with stories connecting his political role as part of Joseph Muscat’s inner circle to allegations of corruption over the sale of medical visas, mysterious trips to Libya on behalf of the government, and controversial employment contracts paid by taxpayers.

Gafa’ was sacked from his role at the Health Ministry following revelations that he had met members of the Libyan militia while ‘vacationing’ in the war torn country.

He was moved to the OPM by Joseph Muscat, but was dismissed when Robert Abela was sworn in as prime minister.

It is not known whether Gafa is still on the public payroll, or who he might be working for.

                           
                               
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