€3 million in passport funds diverted to parliamentary secretary’s district

Proceeds from the notorious cash for passports scheme are being used by the parliamentary secretary responsible for the fund, Alex Muscat, to advance his re-election prospects at the next general elections.

According to recent information published in parliament, €3 million from the sale of passports were used last year as grants for highly visible public projects in the parliamentary secretary’s district.

The grants, approved by the board of the National Development and Social Fund (NSDF), which falls under Muscat, include €1 million spent on an abandoned field in Mosta to turn it into a playing field, and another €850,000 to install panoramic lighting on the Mosta church, located in the heart of Muscat’s constituency.

The NSDF, chaired by Enemalta CEO Jonathan Cardona, issued another €1 million for a new system of lighting on Mdina’s walls. The locality also forms part of the eleventh electoral district where Muscat hopes to be re-elected.

It is unclear what criteria the NSDF is using to decide which projects should be funded through the sale of passports. Only a few other projects, outside Muscat’s district have been given the green light so far.

According to NSDF statistics, under €2.5 million was granted to be shared between two “greening” projects in Hamrun and Qormi.

Alex Muscat, who spent his first five years of the Labour Party administration as the assistant of disgraced chief of staff Keith Schembri, was elected for the first time in 2017 and made parliamentary secretary.

During his time as an OPM employee, Muscat also performed “consultancy work” for Nexia BT – the firm used by Schembri to open secret companies in Panama. Muscat never explained what type of consultancy he was doing for Brian Tonna – now accused of money laundering – nor whether this was in direct conflict with his position at the OPM.

Apart from the cash-for-passports scheme, currently being contested by the European Commission in court, Muscat was also made responsible for Identity Malta.

Only a few weeks ago, he was at the centre of another controversy when a new €400,000 tender issued by Identity Malta to lease premises for an office dictated that buildings located within a 500-metre radius of the Mosta church will be advantaged by a further 20 points in the evaluation process.

Legal observers deem that if challenged, this clause will be struck down by the court.

The Shift is informed that various Labour electoral candidates contesting the eleventh district, particularly former Parliamentary Secretary Tony Agius Decelis, have complained to the prime minister of Muscat’s “blatant abuse” of public funds. Agius Decelis was ousted from his Cabinet post by Robert Abela, giving a bigger advantage to Alex Muscat at the next polls.

                           
                               
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Carmelo Borg
3 months ago

Agius Deceslis ghilhom biex jaqalbulek. Ghalxejn tmut tqassam il pastizzi u cafe fiz zona tal flats tal gvern lil anzjani.Int Bhala persuna fil qasam mediku taf li il pastizzi HUMA VELENU ghal l anzjani hux ?

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