Updated | PN leader demands details of citizenship scheme beneficiaries, OPM says Busuttil has ‘no right’

Government says in terms of law, no one – including politicians – have a right to know the personal details of the persons granted Maltese passport under citizenship-by-investment scheme • Busuttil blames Joe Mizzi and Muscat for traffic nightmare

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has this morning said he expects the prime minister to keep his promise about lifting secrecy on the citizenship scheme by handing him a list of the persons given a Maltese passport and their home country.

Speaking on Radio 101, the Opposition leader said he hoped that the “dirt” in the granting of residence permits did not extend to the citizenship scheme. Rebutting Busuttil’s claims, the Office of the Prime Minister insisted that the citizenship-by-investment programme was overseen by a regulator.

In a reaction to the Busuttil’s comments, the OPM underlined that the names of those people granted citizenship under the scheme was published within the whole list of persons granted citizenship, and that no one – not even politicians – have a right for the personal details of the beneficiaries.

“The Opposition leader now wants the personal details of these persons because he thinks that he is above the law, and that he is a right for information which in terms of law, cannot be disclosed to anyone,” it said.

“The government is committed to abide by the law, including its provisions on transparency, but it would also rely on the regulatory body, whose report is made public,” it said.

The Office of the Prime Minister also said that it hoped that Busuttil act with responsibility during next week’s monitoring committee meeting, after on Friday, the PN leader was accused of referring to sensitive information for political gain.

Speaking on the discussion in the Security Services Committee about the racket on the granting of residence permits and visas, the PN leader said Identity Malta chairman Joe Vella Bonnici “should resign or be kicked out” as he had no idea of what was happening under his nose.

“If [home affairs minister] Carmelo Abela keeps on defending Vella Bonnici, then he should shoulder political responsibility,” he said. Similarly, the Opposition leader said it was useless for the government to insist that the racket at Identity Malta had been ongoing since 2011, as it only emerged only after three Libyan nationals spoke of how auditor Joe Sammut had falsified documents to help them obtain their residence permits.

“The government is lying when it is saying that the investigation was started by the agency itself, and is useless to blame previous administrations as Identity Malta was created by this government. I will not be an accomplice in the lies of Joseph Muscat and Carmelo Abela,” Busuttil said while reiterating his call for an independent inquiry.

Turning his attention on the traffic problem, the Opposition leader said Joseph Muscat and transport minister Joe Mizzi are to blame – and not previous PN administrations.

“On Friday, motorists spent more than two hours stuck in traffic. It is unacceptable for a storm to bring the country down on its knees and at a standstill, people missed their flights, students arrived late at school, and operations were missed… The government cannot blame the previous administration for this as under Joe Mizzi’s watch, traffic is worse than ever.”

“Joe Mizzi is an incompetent minister, the government has no idea how to deal with traffic … the problem is not the weather, but it is Joe Mizzi and Joseph Muscat,” he said during an interview on Radio 101.

The Opposition leader said two and half years had passed since the election, and the government has shown that it has idea how to alleviate traffic. Moreover, he said, the government was “arrogant” when it ridiculed the Opposition’s proposal for subsidises school transport for pupils in Church and independent schools.