A former PL canvasser who has requested whistleblower status to tell all about the “criminal organisation” linked to the social benefit fraud racket is doing so to avoid criminal procedures, Robert Abela said on Thursday. 

“What can be said about this criminal investigation is that Roger Agius has criminal procedures against him,” the prime minister said. 

“I understand that one way or another and, through his lawyer, he is seeing how he can obtain immunity from criminal procedures,” Abela said.

Robert Abela says Agius wants immunity from criminal procedures. Video: Daniel Ellul

He said one of the people who were identified in investigations is trying to get immunity through the Whistleblowers Act.

“We should ensure that the police investigation is not neutralised by giving immunity to someone, who in my mind, evidently wants to avoid criminal procedures,” Abela said. 

Abela warned against “strategies” that allow people to evade justice. 

He said a large number of people have already been charged in court, including several “big fish”. He added that more are to be charged. 

“What the police had to investigate, they investigated and they proceeded to take action."

Roger Agius, a former driver and canvasser of junior minister Andy Ellul is set to face numerous charges, including money laundering, for his alleged role in the benefits racket scandal that Times of Malta revealed in September. 

Doctor and ex-Labour MP Silvio Grixti, who signed off on fraudulent medical certificates, is next week expected to be charged with forming part of a criminal organisation, fraud and money laundering.

Evidence indicates Grixti provided false medical documents to help people, often hailing from Labour strongholds, to receive social benefits averaging €450 monthly for severe disabilities they did not suffer from.

In a judicial protest filed in court on Thursday, Agius claimed that he had been ignored by the Whistleblower Officer within the Prime Minister’s Office when he twice wrote offering to spill the beans on the racket. 

The protest was filed against the Prime Minister, the Whistleblower Officer at OPM, the State Advocate, the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner.

Agius, a former canvasser for PL junior minister Andy Ellul explained how he had written to the Office of the Prime Minister in November and again in December demanding whistleblower protection because he wanted to “expose corrupt and criminal acts within the public administration”. 

However, he was ignored and his detailed emails were not even acknowledged, Agius says.

On Thursday evening, Abela said that the Whistleblower Office, that is part of the Prime Minister’s Office, has certain autonomy from the prime minister. 

Abela also said that it was his office that initially flagged the benefits racket case to police.

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