Libyan visa scandal witnesses 'scared' and have no trust in police, Alleanza Bidla leader claims

Alleanza Bidla leader Ivan Grech Mintoff claims Libyan ministers want to reveal details on medical visas scandal but are being denied access to Malta while 'whistleblower' has been denied protection by police

Ivan Grech Mintoff
Ivan Grech Mintoff

Witnesses who hold evidence and information about the alleged medical visas scandal involving a health ministry official are “scared” and have no trust in the Maltese authorities investigating the case, Alleanza Bidla leader Ivan Grech Mintoff said today.

Mintoff, speaking on behalf of a Libyan national who he describes as a “whistleblower”, said that at least five Libyan ministers were willing to reveal details of the alleged racket.

The press conference was held after an interview with the 'whistleblower' was not aired on TV (watch video above).

When asked whether there are any Maltese witnesses, Grech Mintoff answered in the affirmative, however he stopped short of saying whether these include government officials.

He claimed the Libyan nationals who have evidence on the case are scared of having their Maltese visas revoked while the unnamed Libyan ministers have not been granted access to Malta.

“I trust the individuals who are leading the investigations but I do not trust the authorities as a whole,” Grech Mintoff said.

Neville Gafa, the health ministry official at the centre of the allegations, has denied any wrongdoing. In a letter to the Ministry for Health last April, Ben Nasan alleged that Gafa had started a new medical visa application process through which Libyans would send over their passports in advance and Gafa would charge varying prices.

According to Grech Mintoff, ‘whistleblower’ and Libyan businessman Khaled Ben Nasan, had approached both the government and the opposition but the claims were, reportedly, ignored.

Grech Mintoff, who presents a weekly programme on a private TV station F Living, said he came into contact with Ben Nasan after the latter approached him.

Grech Mintoff added that Ben Nasan, who had direct contact with the Prime Minister, had at least received two threatening calls from an unknown person or persons.

Grech Mintoff said the Libyan national fears he might be abducted but despite his lawyer sought protection from the Police Commissioner, this has been denied.

Opposition calls on government to protect witnesses

In reaction to the scandal which “confirms the close links between the seat of power in Castille and criminality,” the Nationalist Party called on government to issue visas and offer protection to whoever has new evidence on the alleged medical visa scam.

“A serious Prime Minister does not defend who is allegedly corrupt but uses powers given by the law to assure that the truth emerges at the earliest and assure that the police carry a thorough investigation,” the opposition said.
However, the PN added, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has so far chosen to defend Gafa.

In reply, government said it has no indication of any correspondence with the Libyan government over the alleged scam and said “the opposition should verify Grech Mintoff’s allegations independently” instead of using the allegations to attack government.