Silvio Grixti has implied that the police are being selective when investigating benefit fraud, in a cryptic message that included a question for Health Minister Chris Fearne.
In his first public comments since being embroiled in a benefit fraud scandal, Grixti posted a photo of a government-issued medical certificate and highlighted a section noting that such certificates are a “request for sickness benefits”.
“These certificates are intended to entitle recipients to social benefits,” the Żejtun medical doctor and former Labour MP wrote.
Grixti continued: “Why did the police never investigate when, in the recent past, there were media reports about the abuse of such certificates? It’s as though all was forgiven. What do you think, Chris Fearne?”
Grixti’s post included no context, leaving it up to readers to deduce what his post refers to. Times of Malta has attempted to contact him.
A possible link
The only media reports concerning falsified medical certificates in recent years relate to Stephen Spiteri, the Opposition’s health spokesperson who is also a medical doctor.
Spiteri was investigated by the Medical Council following reports that he was issuing medical certificates to patients without seeing them. But those proceedings were nullified by a court of law, which ruled that the council’s proceedings breached his right to a fair hearing.
The council chose not to appeal the ruling, and Spiteri continues to serve as an Opposition MP and doctor to this day.
Grixti's role in scandal
Grixti, who resigned as an MP when police started investigating him in late 2021, is suspected of having served as the kingpin of a massive benefit fraud scandal.
The fraud saw hundreds of people falsely certified as epileptic, entitling them to monthly benefit payments.
Benefit fraudsters have told the police that Grixti and others gave them documents with forged signatures that they then presented to a medical board that cleared them for payments.
Grixti has not been charged with any crime, though he was questioned about the fraud by police investigators last week.
The scandal remained hidden from public view until Times of Malta exposed it earlier this year.
Prime Minister Robert Abela said at the time that it was his office that flagged claims about Grixti to the police. But Abela has not explained why Grixti continued to be paid as an OPM consultant until 2022.