Fenech Adami had turned down ‘golden passport’ proposal, says former ambassador

Former ambassador says Eddie Fenech Adami did not accede to the request, even though Malta was then passing through “an economically strained period”.

Eddie Fenech Adami
Eddie Fenech Adami

Former prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami refused to consider a money-raking scheme to sell Maltese passports at the start of his premiership back in 1987.

Former ambassador Noel Buttigieg Scicluna told party organ In-Nazzjon that Fenech Adami had been proposed the idea to sell citizenship, as an investment-promotion vehicle for Hong Kong citizens expecting an imminent handover to China from British ownership.

Buttigieg Scicluna was commenting on the government's scheme to rake in €30 million in the sale of Maltese passports at the price of €650,000 per individual application.

"During his time as prime minister there was a lot of pressure on him to turn Maltese citizenship into a commodity that could be sold. At the time Hong Kong [then still under British ownership] was in citizenship talks with the Chinese, and it was suggested to the Fenech Adami government it could sell Hong Kong citizens who were afraid to be part of the Chinese regime Maltese citizenship."

According to Buttigieg Scicluna, Fenech Adami did not accede to the request, even though Malta was then passing through "an economically strained period".

The government will be selling Maltese citizenship as part of its Individual Investor Programme, through its exclusive concessionaire Henley & Partners. Applicants will have to pay €650,000 for a passport, and other reduced fees for their spouses or dependents, apart from passing due diligence tests conducted by Henley or its registered agents. Identity Malta will be the government agency that will recommend the applicants pushed by Henley for eventual naturalisation by the Home Affairs Minister.

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@Jonas Cord jr Don't forget that EFA's regime also sold the profitable state companies that the MLP left behind and sold them for peanuts. Why bother struggling and working to keep Malta fiscally sound when you can take the easy route and borrow and borrow and borrow. In EFA's words, "Let our children and their children worry about the debt." After all, he knew he wouldn't be around when the bills came due!
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Mela nharsu lura qeghdin mhux il-quddiem, Sur Buttigieg Scicluna? Ma ghadekx tpappija ta' Ambaxxatur tal-Klikka issa? EFA hawwad kemm felah dak iz-zmien u issa, seba' w ghoxrin sena wara qed inhossu l-effetti ta' dak it-tahwid. Mur obsor, ghax ma kellux il-foresight EFA ma ghandu jkollu hadd.
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Min jaf kif kienu jinqasmu kieku l-flus li kontu 'ddahlu. Jista' jkun l-Fenech Adami ma fdakhomx b'dak il-progett ghalhekk.
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Who is Dr Noel Buttigiieg Sciculna?
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@Mike Farrugia, Isn't it enough that they pay 650,000? and their spouses will also be charged. Imagine putting that in the bank and getting interest on it and I think that the country can afford social and health benefits for these people. Besides if they become citizens they still have to pay contributions I suppose like any other Maltese.
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@Mike Farrugia - In twenty years time Malta, under the Premiership of Dr Joseph Muscat, would have families during village festas throwing out of their balconies and windows paper money instead of the usual shredded confetti. What's that for an answer?
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While it is true that there was money in Maltese coffers in 1987, the wealth of a country is not measured by the money in a bank but by the quality of services it provides its citizens, its infrastructure like roads, telephonic services, access to IT, freedom to purchase what you want and many other such things which were not very much visible in Malta in 1987.
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Who is going to believe this proven liar. Still this does not mean that he took the right decision.
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Dr Noel Buttigieg Scicluna must either be dreaming or hallucinating when he says that in 1987 when the NP under the leadership of Dr EFA was returned to govern Malta was passing through "an economically strained period". He must have conveniently forgotten that in 1987 the outgoing Labour administration left in the Maltese coffers Lm500,000,000 (Maltese Liri) equivalent to €1,165,000,000 (euro). He must have also forgotten Dr EFA trumpeting in mass meetings "that money is no problem" because he knew what he was going to find. Unlike the PL under the leadership of Dr Joseph Muscat last March when he knew that he was going to find Malta burdened with eight billion euro in debts.
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And instead he sold the whole country to the so called european union.
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X'ghandu x'jaqsam li qed tghid sur Noel Buttigieg Scicluna? Mela ghax ma ghamilix EFA mhix tajba? Dan EFA kien xi alla? Li kien jghid hu kien vangelu jew? Ghaliex ma tghidux li tinsabu mdejqin ghal mewt ghax qed taraw li Dr Joseph Muscat jimxi bhal rifnu u jiehu decizjonijiet li intom ma kontux kapaci tiehdu f'25 sena. Muscat ghandu l-mandat goff tal-poplu biex johrog lil dan il-pajjiz mill-abbissi ikkakmati li hallejtu lil dan il-pajjiz fih. X'hin jasal iz-zmien tad-decizjoni u l-ghazla l-poplu jaf jghodd wiehed u wiehed.
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Who gives a shot what this political dinosaur did, thinks or believes in. Dinosaurs should be in a museum for the amusement of the people.
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Luke Camilleri
Looking forward to seeing Eddie on XARABANK'S edition on unsolved murders! He did say PUBLICLY that he knew and had information on a couple of murders in pre-electoral Euphoria way back in the 80's ! ;)
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Yeap! There goes that infamous "Money no problem" economy basher again! EFA preferred us to drown in debt.
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so what ??!! I prefer 650,000 citizen rather an immigrant who marry a Maltese girl JUST for the citizenship
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Families are expected to fork out millions in order join this proposed scheme. But if only one of the parents applies and obtains the Maltese passport, won’t the rest of the family get Maltese passports for free automatically? How much is this scheme going to cost us in health, education and social benefits per person in 20 years time?
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joseph mercieca
So what's the big deal? That was his government that left Malta with a mountain of debt. This present PM thinks otherwise about this subject. As I have been repeating all along the Nationalists have nothing to brag about when it comes to citinzship. If it was for them Malta would have been another Lampedusa.
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Paul Sammut
Oh how sweet. EFA did not sell citizenship probably as advised by EU. Of course he sold Maltese Sovereignty lock, stock and barrel.
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This does not mean that EFA in any way took the right decision. Indeed I would say that he and his government missede a golden opportunity to inject new business initiatives and entrepreneurship into our island. The lesson which should be learned is that Canada opened its doors to these savvy business people looking for a new base and is now reaping the benefits. You just have to go to Toronto to see how successful these Chinese have been in creating innovative business ideas many of them in high-tech. One of the problems with the former gov was their inability to think outside the box and for a long time they ignored innovative ideas and investment in research and development. We should be grateful that our new PM is taking a completely different attitude and approach.
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So? He was never an economic guru. Only a short sighted opportunistic quasi politician. Go to sleep again bittigieg scicluna
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Are you for real Noel? Malta passing through an economically starined period in 1987? So had the PN government in a few months already squandered the more than €1,000 MILLION left in Malta's coffer? So what is the situation now when in spite of having started with more than €1,200 MILLION left by the previous Labour Governments, in spite of all the billions of €'s in taxes collected from Maltese citizens over 25 years, the various PN governments both under Eddie Fenech Adami and Gonzi not only squandered all those BILLIONS, but led Malta into more than than €6,000 MILLION DEBT? As the Maltese saying goes, iż-żejt tiela f'wicc l-ilma.