Maltese authorities forked out over €1 million of taxpayer money to a private security firm to oversee the government’s recent makeshift floating migrant detention centre.
After weeks of being silent on the issue, Malta’s government has finally revealed the large sum, which was spent on 12 security officials who were employed to oversee the operation 24/7. They clocked in some 33,000 hours of work for the operation.
The fee was paid through direct order. While the government made no specific mention, sources have told Lovin Malta that Kerber Security Ltd., owned by Ronald Axisa, was the recipient.
Malta had closed its ports to non-commercial travel during the pandemic, leaving asylum seekers stranded before intervening to put them on four harbour cruise vessels belonging to Captain Morgan and Supreme Cruises just outside Maltese territorial waters.
A total of €1.7 million was spent on the entire operation, the government has revealed.
Around €363,440 was spent on renting the harbour cruise ships themselves while a further €212, 646.12 was spent across 33 companies on various services like food, drinks, clothes, and hygiene. The boats the government rented to provide the supplies cost €87,741.
The asylum seekers and irregular migrants on board were brought to Malta on 7th June amid reports of growing unrest on the harbour cruise boats following poor weather. Some people had called the harbour cruise boats home for around 40 days. Disembarkation cos the government €10,908.12.
Malta relocated over 240 of those asylum seekers earlier today.
Migration emerged as a significant issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the harbour cruise flotilla, Malta’s Armed Forces could potentially face charges in Italy for refusing to rescue 101 asylum seekers in Maltese waters and reportedly turning them away at gunpoint with enough fuel and the coordinates to reach Italy.
Abela has recently struck an agreement between Malta and Libya to tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean. The deal will see the creation of two new co-ordination centres in both countries.
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