Medical benefits fraud: 'FCID were ordered to investigate only 'from the doctor, down' would-be whistleblower says

Roger Agius tells Andrew Azzopardi that the medical benefits fraud racket was intended to garner votes and line the pockets of the medical board's organisers and that the police had been instructed not to try and uncover who was behind the scheme.

Junior minister's former driver invited
Junior minister's former driver invited "anyone" who wanted to sue him for libel to do so

One of the five men accused of running Labour’s €10 million fraudulent medical-benefits-for-votes scheme has claimed that sensitive information that he had disclosed to investigators had been relayed the Prime Minister. 

Roger Agius, a former canvasser and driver for junior minister Andy Ellul, made the statement during an interview on Andrew Azzopardi’s Saturday talk show on RTK, where he appeared together with his lawyer, Jason Azzopardi.

He said that until late last year, when he had been working at OPM,  he had been “acting as a runner for ‘il-Gulia,’” referring to the nickname by which Mark Calleja, employed at Michael Falzon’s ministry on “a person of trust” basis, is known.

Although he had applied for whistleblower status last year, offering to reveal who was behind the scheme, Agius’ application had gone nowhere, he said. 

“I caught the police passing on the information I was giving them,” he told Azzopardi on Saturday. “On 12 October, the Financial Crimes Investigation Department handed over the information to the Prime Minister,” he said, adding that he was inviting “anyone to take me to court right now about this.”

“I don’t trust the police because they leaked my information,”  Agius went on, telling the host that he learned that, the day after he had named a sitting cabinet minister in one of his statements to the police, that same minister had complained to a third party that Agius had mentioned him.

Agius went on to allege that in December 2021, the police had requested files related to the suspects. “The FCID took a month or a month and half to send them, and sent them by email to an office in the same building.” 

The aims of the medical benefits fraud had been to garner votes “and money… for those who organised the medical boards.”

The police inspector investigating the case had been playing him for a fool, he said. “Last week the inspector said he wanted to re-investigate me in order to assess me for whistleblower status. He wants me to tell him everything I know and then he can tell me it’s not enough for whistleblower status.”

Jason Azzopardi, asking the Chamber of Advocates “to take note,” alleged that last year one of his clients had been approached by a messenger sent by Castille, who offered to spare him prosecution on condition that he repaid the 5 years worth of benefits he had received  - and that he drop Azzopardi as his lawyer. 

Agius said the FCID inspector’s superior had ordered him to investigate “from the doctor down,” and not to seek out the person behind the scheme.

“I begged him on my knees to take me there [to an office in Valletta] so I could throw all the doors open. He told me it was theatrics. 

Do you know what the real theatrics are? That they took my mobile phone and placed it in a locker [before interrogation] while the inspector kept his, playing with it under the table.”