One of the men accused of involvement in the social benefits racket said a social policy ministry official had told him that as long as Michael Falzon remains minister, they wouldn't have "trouble".

Roger Agius, one of five who stand accused in court of alleged involvement in the large-scale racket also claimed the official handed him a burner phone they used to run the racket.

"An official at the Social Security Ministry had given me a burner phone in 2019 through which we communicated about fraudulent applications," Roger Agius wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

"The public official had told me: 'As long as the minister [Michael Falzon] remains there, we will never have trouble'."

Agius said he decided to resort to Facebook after having formally written to the police and the AG to take him before a magistrate to disclose all the details under oath in a magisterial inquiry. But he has still not heard back from them.

Agius was the driver and close confidant of doctor and former Labour MP Silvio Grixti, who is alleged to have played a central role in the racket by providing applicants with false medical certificates which secured them the severe disability allowance after they appeared before a medical board.

Agius and three other co-accused allegedly acted as agents or go-betweens, raking in payments from the successful beneficiaries.

He was also later employed as parliamentary secretary Andy Ellul's driver, despite having been receiving the benefits for claiming to have epilepsy and for claiming that he had no driving licence.

'A person of trust of Michael Falzon'

In the Facebook post on Tuesday, Agius said he was still exchanging documents with the official as part of the racket till as recently as March last year.

He added that the same official would also make sure the medical board was composed in such a way that would guarantee the person fraudulently posing as a patient would be approved for the benefits.

Agius described the official as "a person of trust of Michael Falzon" but did not name him.

It is believed the person could be Mark Calleja. Lawyer Jason Azzopardi told a court last week that Calleja would order reconsideration of failed applications for severe disability benefits even though normal procedure did not allow a right of appeal.

Azzopardi said Calleja would get a screenshot photo of people who failed the medical board the day before and would order a reconsideration.

On Tuesday, Agius also published correspondence dating back to November last year, when he informed the police and the office of the AG that he knew where the racket originated and was willing to disclose details of "a conspiracy in which cabinet members and political officials have been complicit since 2019".

"But I never received a reply," he wrote, adding that in November he had also asked the investigating inspector to take him "in a [specific] public building in Valletta to show him traces of the crime in this racket and to show him how the public official operated".

"The inspector had told me these were theatrics," Agius wrote.

The published documents also detail how Agius was willing to testify that on one occasion, the ministry official had said, "If they [the claimants] spend more than three minutes before the board you can spit at me", indicating his certainty the operation would run smoothly.

No comment from Michael Falzon

Social Policy Minister Michael Falzon refused to comment when asked on the matter.

"I don't have comments," he told Times of Malta as he walked into parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

"Write whatever you want, as you usually do," he added.

No comment from Michael Falzon outside parliament. Video: Chris Sant Fournier

He was asked whether Mark Calleja was still working in his ministry and whether he still had faith in him as a person of trust.

Times of Malta wanted to ask Falzon whether he stood by comments he made in September when he had insisted the scandal had originated from outside the ministry.

But Falzon walked into the parliament building before the question could be asked.

The magnitude of the racket continued to unfold last week, when police told court they found handwritten ledgers at the home of one of the suspected agents in the racket which indicated that beneficiaries paid sums which were split between Grixti and the middlemen.

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