Figures given by the government and concessionaire Henley & Partners on the number of applications for Maltese citizenship are confusing and, in some instances, do not tally.
When contacted about this, both parties refused to reply to questions and would not elaborate.
In a statement last week, Henley & Partners described the initial response to the cash-for-citizenship programme as an “incredible success”. It said that in less than 12 weeks since its launch, “Henley & Partners have seen over 100 individuals make financial commitments to the programme” to the tune of €100 million in “foreign direct investment”.
It added that “over 50 applicants have already received their residence permits, placing them firmly in route to achieving full citizenship of Malta”.
However, this information does not tally with more recent information given in Parliament last Monday on the same scheme.
Replying to a series of questions by Opposition leader Simon Busuttil in Parliament, Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia said on Monday that no investments in Malta had been made so far because “none of the applications have yet reached the stage where they are asked to commit any investment”
Furthermore, Dr Mallia said that only six applications were being processed in line with the legal notice governing the programme.
There were 144 applications for a residence permit in preparation for citizenship, including 12 complete applications.
Questions were sent to Henley & Partners to find out how many applications were received and to explain the €100 million of committed investments but no information was forthcoming even though a spokesman said that she would reply.
She only said: “Most of your questions are quite sensitive and I am not sure we will be inclined to comment.”
Times of Malta also asked for an indication of the applicants’ nationalities and whether these included people of Libyan origin.
Efforts to contact Jonathan Cardona, CEO of Identity Malta, the government agency responsible for the programme, for an explanation of the numbers proved futile by the time of writing.
According to the legal notice published in February, applicants have to wait a maximum of 90 days until their application is cleared by due diligence and will have to wait another month to be given a preliminary letter of approval on whether their application is accepted or declined. Only at that stage are applicants obliged to commit their investment.
According to Henley & Partners, the first “full citizenship application was submitted in the week commencing June 2, 2014”.
Dr Mallia told Parliament that, so far, the government had not nominated the board of governors responsible for administering the proceeds from the scheme. “The board will be set up at the opportune time,” he said
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