Updated at 6.25pm, adds PN statement
Neville Gafà, the controversial official employed by the Office of the Prime Minister, has again refused to explain his role and presence in a government diplomatic mission to Tripoli last week.
Mr Gafà, who was sacked from his job by Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, following similar unexplained visits to Libya, told Times of Malta that explaining his visit to Tripoli was “a waste of time”.
Contacted after he had failed to reply to questions sent by e-mail last week, as per his request, Mr Gafà insisted he had nothing to say.
“I have no time to waste in explaining anything,” Mr Gafà said when reminded about his promised replies.
The Prime Minister’s spokes-man is also avoiding explaining Mr Gafà’s latest trip.
Asked to explain Mr Gafà’s current role within the OPM, what he was doing on an official Maltese delegation in Libya and whether he was representing the Prime Minister, Dr Muscat’s spokesman failed to reply, des-pite various reminders.
Times of Malta is informed that the Maltese delegation discussed sensitive security and intelligence issues during the various meetings it had with high Libyan officials.
Apart from Malta’s Ambassador to Libya, Carmel Saliba, who led the discussions, the delegation included the Armed Forces of Malta’s Head of Operations, a director general from the Foreign Ministry and Mr Gafà.
A Labour Party activist, Mr Gafà has been hitting the headlines since Labour was returned to power. He was put on the government’s payroll as a person of trust soon after Labour was returned to power.
His name had cropped up in investigations connected to the issue of medical visas to Libyan refugees though he never faced criminal charges.
Last year, while on a €50,000 contract at the Foundation for Medical Services, given to him by Minister Konrad Mizzi, Mr Gafà made the headlines after Libyan news agencies reported that he was having talks with Libyan ministers on behalf of the government.
He had also claimed that a meeting with a militia leader in Libya was coincidental since he had “bumped into him on the street”.
At this point, the Deputy Prime Minister sacked Mr Gafà and ordered his Foundation for Medical Services contract to be rescinded.
However, a few days later, Mr Gafà was seen working at the OPM, reportedly as a person of trust of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
‘People have the right to know’
People have a right to know the reason why Mr Gafà, who had been fired from his role in the Foundation for Medical Services following his first trip to Libya, was accompanying Mr Saliba, the Nationalist party said.
It called for an immediate public declaration explaining Mr Gafà’s presence, adding that the government should always be transparent.
The PN said it was wrong not to explain Mr Gafà’s presence in light of the importance that the country has always given to diplomatic relations with Libya.
“Diplomatic relations with Libya should not be tainted because of this incorrect behaviour,” it said.