Prime Minister Robert Abela has poured water on former OPM employee Neville Gafa’s claims that he helped orchestrate a government-backed Malta-Libya irregular migrant operation from 2018 to 2020, insisting in Parliament that there has never existed any sort of agreement.
During the public inquiry looking into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Gafa confirmed that he had visited the country in November 2018 with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s then-security guard Kenneth Camillieri, both of whom used a diplomatic visa.
He insisted that he was on government business over the migrant crisis and that his work in Libya helped prevent a national crisis in Malta.
“The number of irregular migrants who would have entered Malta between July 2018 and January 2020, the period during which I was coordinating these operations, would have been phenomenal.”
“With regards to the national interest, had those regular visits to Libya not taken place, the coordination between the competent authorities wouldn’t have remained strong and therefore wouldn’t have left the results it did, a failure that would have led to a national crisis. I say this with responsibility,” Gafa then said in a Facebook post.
However, in a series of parliamentary questions from MP Claudette Buttigieg on the claims, Abela directed her to a previous answer he gave a few weeks prior.
“There exists no such agreement,” Abela said.
Exclusive recordings and photos heard by Lovin Malta through interlocuter Ivan Grech Mintoff seem to suggest that Gafa had actually rushed to the war-torn country in November 2018 to try shut up critical witnesses in the medical visa scandal.
Gafa has confirmed with Lovin Malta that a meeting with the witnesses took place but categorically denied any attempts to bribe the witnesses.
Gafa was a controversial figure in former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s administration but resigned from his role as soon as Robert Abela was appointed, despite having attended his inauguration.
Meanwhile, he has also faced serious questions over his extremely close relationship with the Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, who remains under investigation for the murder.