A freedom of information request from The Shift asking for details on the citizenships issued on the basis of merit by the Community Malta Agency was rejected because “the request is considered frivolous, trivial or vexatious”.
The agency, set up in 2020 and “responsible for administering all Maltese citizenship-related matters”, also stated that an entity referenced in The Shift’s FOI did not exist, despite it being listed in the referenced legal notice’s opening definitions.
In its FOI rejection, the Agency also chose to ignore the second half of The Shift’s request for information, which asked for the mandatory proof of residency for the applicants who were awarded citizenship.
The Shift’s request was sent as part of an investigation into citizenships awarded by merit, also known as citizenship for exceptional services, to athletes taking part in the Games of the Small States of Europe last May.
The FOI was filed after Sports Minister Clifton Grima and the Malta Olympic Committee repeatedly ignored questions.
The legislation regulating such citizenships, Legal Notice 335 of 2017, makes reference to a locally registered entity designated to provide a report to the government of the applicants’ merit. In its rejection of the request, the Community Malta Agency claimed that “the legal notice quoted does not contain any reference”.
The Community Malta Agency’s FOI rejection continues to hammer home the government’s lack of transparency and its refusal to divulge matters of national interest.
Last May, The Shift won its 12th Court of Appeals case against government entities attempting to conceal information requested through FOIs.
The cases form part of 40 near-identical cases of FOI rejections being battled by The Shift, with the government funding its legal defence through tens of thousands of euros in taxpayer funds, in an attempt to conceal information from the public.