Works on Sai Mizzi’s Shanghai consulate offices ‘to be completed next week’

Minister George Vella ostensibly accuses PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami of creating a sensationalist story about corruption at the Maltese consulate in Algeria based off 'gutter information' 

Foreign affairs minister George Vella delivers a speech in Parliament
Foreign affairs minister George Vella delivers a speech in Parliament

Infrastructural works on the Shanghai offices of Malta’s consul to the Chinese city, Sai Mizzi Liang, will be completed by the end of next week, foreign affairs minister George Vella said.

“Things don’t proceed as quickly in China as they do in Malta,” Vella said in Parliament during a debate on the Budget. “However, Mizzi Liang’s office will be fully operational next week, and we have already decided who the locally-engaged staff at her office will be.”

He was forced to defend the appointment of Mizzi Liang, wife to energy minister Konrad Mizzi, after Opposition MP Tonio Fenech had criticised her appointment in his earlier speech.

“Sai Mizzi told us to judge her on her results, but so far all she’s achieved is the wasting of public funds, €13,000 a month,” he said. “She said that she acts as a facilitator, but what does that mean? Does she just hand out business cards to people?”

However, Vella insisted that Mizzi Liang’s work is already bearing fruit, and that she has managed to set up several networks, and find interesting contacts for the Maltese government.

‘Fenech Adami’s Algeria visa story came from gutter journalism’

George Vella played down deputy PN leader Beppe Fenech Adami’s warnings of a “racket” at the Maltese consulate in Algeria, through which thousands of Algerians are obtaining Maltese visas as a stepping stone to other Schengen countries.

“If Fenech Adami has any evidence of abuse or corruption, then he should instantly pass it on to the police as the government does,” Vella said, while claiming that the deputy PN leader had sourced his story from “gutter journalism”, referring to PN newspaper Il-Mument. 

“This journalist’s fact-checking standards are so low that she had falsely claimed last Sunday that Malta doesn’t have an ambassador to the Vatican City,” Vella said.

Figures tabled in Parliament earlier this week show that the Maltese consulate in Algeria has issued 6,748 visas to Algerian citizens since 2014. However, it has also refused a further 7,845 Algerian visa applications.

“If there was truly a bribery network at the consulate, then why would it have turned down so many potential funds?” he questioned. 

Corrected on 24th October 2015 at 17:41 to clarify that the minister was referring to a story published in Il-Mument and not by Daphne Caruana Galizia