Updated Louis Grech says controversial secrecy clause ‘to be removed’

Deputy prime minister reveals removal of controversial secrecy clause for IIP citizens • PN says concession is mild relief for damage to Malta's reputation

Deputy PM Louis Grech (left) said the IIP secrecy clause will be removed.
Deputy PM Louis Grech (left) said the IIP secrecy clause will be removed.

Deputy prime minister Louis Grech has revealed with MaltaToday that government is to remove a confidentiality clause  from the Individual Investment Programme, that would have meant that new citizens who buy their passports by paying €650,000 into the scheme, would remain secret.

He said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had agreed with him for the secrecy clause to be removed, and for the names not to be kept secret.

The clause was one of the Opposition's red lines in the parliamentary debate that adopted amendments to Malta's citizenship laws, and elicited great controversy in the international press.

Grech told MaltaToday that the inclusion of the confidentiality clause in the IIP was on advice of citizenship programme experts who argued that confidentiality was important for high net worth individuals.

Concessionaries Henley, who will promote the IIP exclusively, had said confidentiality encouraged rich applicants to apply for a second passport that they might need to freely move across the eurozone and for visa-free travel across the world.

By removing the confidentiality clause, the people awarded naturalisation using the fast-track IIP will now be published in the government gazette, along with the names of other migrants naturalized on recommendation to the home affairs minister.

The Labour government has argued that funds from the citizenship programme, estimated to reach some €30 million, will go to a national development fund aimed at financing health, education and social programmes.

In comments to MaltaToday, Grech said that notwithstanding the negative effect the removal of confidentiality will have on the IIP, "the government has listened, and taken note of what seems to be the absolute main concern."

With the 'secrecy clause' removed, Grech confirmed that the names of foreign individuals who choose to pay €650,000 for a Maltese passport and become Maltese citizens will be available to the public. 

Grech confirmed that he was in contact with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who is currently attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.

The government also removed a controversial clause at committee stage, that gave the home affairs minister the discretion to consider applicants for the IIP facing 'politically motivated charges'.

Tonight, deputy Speaker Censu Galea announced that the President had signed the amended Citizenship Act, which brings into force the International Investors Programme scheme.

Nationalist Party reaction

In an official reaction, the Nationalist Party said the negative international press and the Opposition's insistence had put Prime Minister Joseph Muscat with his back to the wall.

"He has made the first retreat and accepted the Opposition's demand to have the IIP citizens' names made public. For the PN this is not enough and the prime minister's decision is too little in the light of the international damage to our reputation in Europe and the world.

"The only choice left for him is to heed the movement against the sale of citizenship and to repeal the scheme. The PN remains in principle against the sale of citizenship and Muscat's retreat changes nothing of our objections."

 

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Anke fil-gazetti tas-South Amerika gabuna! Jien smajt li ghandhom xi agenti in- Nazzjonalisti go Costa Rica biex min Malta xi hadd baghat e- mails (l-istess e-mails)lil kull gazetta li hawn fid-dinja. Qisu xi hadd kellu data base ta gazzetta influwenti, u uza din biex jghajjar lil PL?
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A mistake from the very beginning. Rather stupid of them to not have realised the impact this was going to have. And then you have even stupider comments that they did the right thing. Had they not retracted this the international community would have listed us on par with tax haven states. And this would have meant trouble for all the foreign businesses operating in Malta. All the hard work of the last 25 years would have gone down the drain. Thank God common sense prevailed and these idiots did not continue to dig a deeper hole. Whoever of the lot managed to convince the leader deserves the Gieh ir-Republika!!!
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PN are the SPOILSPORTS ! IT'S THE MALTA FILE ALLOVER AGAIN, if they don't rule, they just put the spokes in the wheels ! They must be inviting over Eddie ti the Dar Centrali / Bingo Hall for some "free consultation" being not only in dire straits BUT BROKE AND IN DEFICIT even in ideas ! ;)
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Who would expect that that a party, whose only aim is to see that the Government budgetary aims are not achieved, would welcome such a positive step?
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i It is never enough for PN. Whatever the government does, the only thing that satisfy them is to return to power and govern arrogantly once again. Imagine if ever the pn had 35,000 majority. Austin once said that with a majority of 5 members they do not even need to go to parliament
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Mistoqsijja lill-ippokriti Maltin. X'hini d-differenza bejn U-Turn u Gvern li jisma? Probabilment skond min ikun fil gvern!!!
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How is the Government going to change the secrecy clause at this stage ? Government could have entertained the Opposition's amendment during the parliamentary debate but it refused to do so. Now, the matter is no longer in the Government's hand as it is up to the President to enact the relative legal notice and the President is not duty bound constitutionally to enact the draft prepared by the Government. This sudden U-turn may signify that the President was not willing to sign the legal notice in the form proposed by Government which had to make concessions in order to avoid an institutional clash and further egg on its face. J. Ellis.
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At least the initial line up of mafioso's will have a second thought - this will effectively slow down this insane and greedy scheme and make the slow Maltese majority realize the facts of the civilized European world: YOU WILL NOT BECOME RICH FOR NOTHING !
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The PN still think they are running the show,but they can only talk the talk and not walk the walk.
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Finally a government who hears the people and acts.
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This is much too late. Simon Busuttil has already said that he is going to divulge the names of those granted citizenship. His stand has made the secrecy clause useless.
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Gvern li jisma, u ghall menu s'issa m' ghandu xejn x'jahbi. Hudha ma saqajk Sur Xmun
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...niskanta kif l-horrief li s-soltu jharbxu xi kummenti fuq kollox ma qalu xejn s'issa....
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Great news! Shows how the new administration listens to serious criticism (very different to Gonzi and his stance on divorce and other national matters). This must have been the only fly in the ointment as far as I was concerned. But anyway, sincerely there was never any secrecy involved as Xmun had already stated that he would disclose. If the administration had wanted to retain secrecy it would not have appointed the Opposition leader on the the Monitoring Committee. Also, if these applicants were to enjoy voting rights, their details would have had to be surely published in the electoral register. Ergo.....