European Commission Urged To Investigate Malta Visa Racket
Socialist MEP Ana Gomes on Friday wrote to European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans urging the Commission to ensure that the procedures to grant visas to third country nationals were followed and to "punish exemplarily those found involved in engineering any kind of criminal activity and breaches of the Schengen visa system".
The decision from the Maltese Police not to initiate a criminal inquiry, she said, was also "extremely worrying".
Transcripts of a number of Libyans claiming they bought visas from Neville Gafa, an official in the Office of the Prime Minister, were submitted in court earlier this week.
The transcripts, along with a document detailing how the alleged racket was conducted, were submitted by Ivan Grech Mintoff as evidence to back claims of high-level corruption that he has long been investigating.
He was testifying in a libel case instituted by Gafa against The Malta Independent on Sunday.
The full letter written by Ana Gomes is below:
Thank you for your reply of 4.5.2018 to my letter about a medical visa racket in Malta, allegedly carried out by an official of the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Neville Gafa, who is accused of requesting bribes from more than 88.000 Libyan citizens seeking medical treatment in Malta and a Schengen visa.
I hereby send you the complete dossier gathered by Mr. Ivan Grech Mintoff, who exposed the case in 2016, and submitted to the courts in Malta this week. I welcome that the Commission is generally assessing Malta's efforts to combat corruption.
However, your decision not to conduct an investigation or even ask questions to the Maltese government and competent authorities on this specific case is extremely disappointing, given the gravity of the allegations.
The European Commission has a clear duty to defend the integrity of the Schengen system. This racket case may harm the security of all European citizens, and greatly damage the reputation of our institutions.
There are many Libyan citizens willing to testify, and show receipts of the amounts paid to obtain visas. Many others are afraid to speak out due to fear of reprisals, and having their permits revoked.
The decision from the Maltese Police not to initiate a criminal inquiry is extremely worrying. Given these elements, I urge you, again, to:
a) carry out an investigation, analysing the numbers referred in the documents, the statistics and numbers sent to the Commission and evidence which has been brought to public knowledge;
b) enquire Maltese authorities on steps taken to establish the truth about these allegations, ensure that the procedures to grant visas to third country nationals are duly followed and to punish exemplarily those found involved in engineering any kind of criminal activity and breaches of the Schengen visa system.