Malta
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Benefit fraud: A scandal that will not stop - Roberta Metsola

European Parliament president Roberta Metsola on Sunday called for zero-tolerance to corruption describing the benefit fraud scandal as one “that will not stop”.

In a post on Facebook, she said The Sunday Times of Malta exposed more of the scandal “that will not stop”. 

“And it is as rotten as we thought.”

Times of Malta revealed last Sunday that ex-Labour MP Silvio Grixti has been implicated in a years-long racket to help “hundreds” of people fraudulently receive monthly disability benefits they were not entitled to.

Evidence seen by Times of Malta indicates Grixti, a popular family doctor, provided false medical documents to help people, often hailing from Labour strongholds, to receive monthly social benefits for severe disabilities they did not suffer from.

The fraud saw the claimants receive monthly payments averaging €450 from the social security department.

The newspaper has now interviewed a man who received illicit disability money who said 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.

Metsola said the scandal is far more than simply benefit fraud. 

“The scandal that lurks beneath is vast and organised. It's corruption designed to defraud the most vulnerable.

“It's corruption that is organised systematically to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

“It's corruption at the highest levels of Government. It's corruption in exchange for votes.

“It's corruption that this Government has allowed to seep into every aspect of their operations.”

Once again, she noted, “we've seen zero political responsibility”. 

“We've seen more attempts to sweep it under the carpet. To cover up. To protect those at the top. It's the same playbook Malta and Gozo have endured for the last decade.”

This, Metsola said, is what happens when corruption is allowed to continue unabated, when the crooks are protected, when politics is seen as a get-out-of-jail-free card. 

“Enough. We need zero-tolerance for corruption. We need politicians who protect the public interest. Those who don't, must be held accountable. 

“We need to clean up the system. And we will,” she insisted.