Malta News Briefing / Sunday 10 September 2023

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NewsUpdate Benefits for Kickbacks

A man who received illicit disability money says a Labour Party canvasser and a former minister’s aide lured him into the benefits fraud racket, in return for his vote and a kickback amounting to a year’s worth of benefits. Speaking to Times of Malta on condition of anonymity, the man – a long-time Labour supporter – said he became disgruntled around a year before the 2022 election because the party would not help him with something he believed he had a right for. OPM’s Reaction – The authorities were taking all the necessary steps to tackle the benefits fraud scandal, the Office of the Prime Minister said on Sunday, as it asked for the latest claims to be substantiated. Its statement followed an interview in Times of Malta with three of the illicit benefit recipients, including a man who said a Labour Party canvasser and a former minister’s aide had lured him into the racket in return for his vote and a kickback. The OPM reiterated on Sunday that it had immediately reported the benefits abuse to the police as soon as it became aware something could be amiss back in 2021. This was proof it did not tolerate illegality, the OPM said. It added that political decisions were taken as soon as it became known how the investigation was developing.

Parliament to discuss board’s investigation into disability benefits scheme upon conclusion

The board’s investigation and conclusion into the alleged abuse in the severe disability benefits scheme will be immediately tabled and discussed in parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne confirmed on Sunday. “The government has already appointed a board to evaluate the award of the severe disability benefit. This board’s report will be immediately tabled and scheduled for a debate in Parliament,” Fearne said. (MaltaToday)

Morning Briefing

PM would go to great lengths to secure win – Bernard Grech

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech has accused PM Robert Abela of being willing to go to great lengths, including vote-buying, to maintain his hold on power. Grech made these allegations during a telephone interview on NET FM on Saturday morning, where he asserted, “Abela operates outside the bounds of fair play.” He was refering to recent revelations that former Labour MP Silvio Grixti is under investigation for his involvement in a benefits scheme that illicitly provided hundreds of individuals with monthly severe disability benefits through fraudulent documentation. (Times of Malta)

10 Maltese reportedly in Morocco, unscathed by earthquake

Ten individuals who were present in different Moroccan regions affected by the earthquake emerged unscathed. According to the Ministry for Foreign and EU Affairs, these Maltese citizens were either in Marrakesh or nearby during the seismic event, and thankfully, none of them sustained injuries. Furthermore, the Ministry noted that some of these individuals are scheduled to return to Malta on Sunday, while others are in the process of arranging their return for Monday. The Maltese also citizens are receiving assistance from the Honorary Consul of Malta in Morocco. (TVM)

39-year-old arrested after Pieta robbery

The police have successfully identified and apprehended the individual allegedly connected to a robbery at a Pieta Convenience Shop. During the incident, which occurred earlier this week, an unspecified sum of money was taken from the outlet located on St. Luke’s Road at 10:15 am. Following their investigations, law enforcement officers located and arrested the suspect at an apartment in Valletta. The 39-year-old suspect is currently in custody for questioning and is expected to face charges in court in the upcoming days. (Newsbook)

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