Government gave blessing to medical visas scam – Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says future PN government would not allow party’s inner circles to ‘gorge’ themselves out of country’s coffers

A medical visas scam in which a government official allegedly ran a racket charging Libyans thousands of euros to get into Malta was given blessing by the government and Castille, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said today.

Speaking on Radio 101, the PN leader said Neville Gafa – the official at the Health Ministry who was allegedly involved in the medical visas racket – was part of the “inner circles” which were being appeased by the government and which consequently, had “gorged” themselves out of the state’s coffers.

“Gafa is reported to have made off with €150,000 a month from the issuance of medical visas. These visas were meant to be issued for humanitarian reasons, but instead they were used to exploit those suffering. Were health visas being issued on the basis of bribery? Were security checks made?” Busuttil said.

Lambasting Joseph Muscat for not having “the decency” to appoint a public inquiry into the alleged racket, Busuttil said such illegalities showed that there was the blessing of the government.

The Opposition leader explained that a year ago, in the National Security Committee, he had flagged his fears on the way health visas were granted, only for Muscat to allay the fears by insisting there was wrongdoing.

“Now what was resulting is the sort of thing usually seen on mafia films,” he said.

Hitting out at the way the Labour government worked, Busuttil argued that Labour’s core of supporters were gorging themselves out of the country’s coffers, whereas people were left struggling to make ends meet.

“The difference between the PN and the PL was that the former worked for everyone, while the Labour Party only seeks to appease its inner circles,” he said.

“The sort of dirt will not be acceptable with me as prime minister. I have integrity, and I will never allow the Nationalist Party to be in anyone’s pocket,” Busuttil insisted

Busuttil – who for the past two weeks has repeatedly blamed the government’s policies for the towers in Mriehel and Sliema – said “the environmental ruin” of the country would continue with the development at a Wied Incita quarry which is earmarked for an industrial park.

 “The way Labour works was shown by the manner how top government officials had been found to own companies in Panama,” Busuttil said, ostensibly referring to former energy minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

Busuttil said the government will attempt to address the public’s discontent by handing out “crumbs” in the forthcoming budget, such as reduced electricity rates and reduced fuel tariffs.

“The reduction in prices should have been made long ago … The government will now try to appease the people by giving something back, and in return it expects the people’s gratitude.”

“However, the simple truth is that the people only enjoy the crumbs left over. Those who own secret companies in Panama could never distribute wealth in a fair and just manner,” he continued.