Former Labour MP Silvio Grixti has accused his party of being a “monster” that favours the opposing side, in a blistering attack implicating Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri.
“If a Nationalist doctor is caught selling fake social security certificates while having an offshore company, the police do not investigate and the media looks away,” Grixti wrote on Facebook.
“Nobody took his laptop, nobody took his mobile, nobody investigated or arrested him. If you’re a Labourite, brace yourself,” he wrote.
Grixti, a medical doctor by profession, is suspected of being at the helm of a massive benefit fraud racket that allowed hundreds of people to receive monthly benefit payments they were not entitled to.
Recipients have told investigators that Grixti and other fixers gave them falsified documents which they then used to qualify for benefits. Grixti was questioned by the police some weeks ago but has not yet been charged with a crime.
He resigned as an MP in late 2021 when police first started probing the racket, which was brought to public attention by Times of Malta.
Police have so far arraigned 184 people and charged them with benefit fraud, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri told parliament on Tuesday. He was answering a parliamentary question by PN MP Jerome Caruana Cilia.
Grixti's social media fury
Having remained silent for months, the Żejtun-based Grixti has posted a flurry of posts over the past week, all targeting Spiteri and accusing authorities of double standards.
“My Labourite brothers, we must acknowledge that we are second-class citizens, flogged by our own,” he wrote on Wednesday. “The Labour Party is simply a machine that breaks Labourites and exalts Nationalists. And those creating this monster will end up being eaten as well.”
Spiteri, who is also a medical doctor and who serves as the PN’s Health spokesperson, spent years facing a Medical Council investigation following reports that he was prescribing sickness certificates to patients without seeing them.
The Medical Council probe was dissolved before it could be concluded, when a court ruled earlier this year that its composition violated Spiteri’s rights.
Both the council and the government opted to not appeal that decision. Spiteri was never charged with a crime.
Grixti’s allusion to an offshore company appears to be a reference to public information published through the Paradise Papers data leak that showed the PN MP owned two separate firms – S.S.M. Limited, which was incorporated in 2009, and S.S.M., which was incorporated in 2015 – together with his son. Both companies have since been struck off.
However, both S.S.M and S.S.M Limited were registered locally with the Malta Business Registry, and were not offshore firms.
Grixti subsequently amended his post to include mention of companies "mentioned in offshore leaks".
In an interview aired over the weekend, Spiteri, who was first elected to parliament in 2008, said that he believed he had been targeted by unknown individuals who sought to ruin him.
“It’s clear. There are many practising doctors. Why [target] Stephen Spiteri? They know I have a busy practice, that I do not concern myself with these trifles [tentufiet],” he said.
Correction November 15, 2023: A previous version described Spiteri's two struck-off companies as offshore ones. They were Malta-registered but featured in the Paradise Papers leak.