The man who blew the whistle on the Algerian visas scam has been stripped of his Maltese citizenship for reasons which are not provided for by law, Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi told parliament on Tuesday.

He said that Alex Fezouine, a Maltese-Algerian, was stripped of his Maltese citizenship on the pretext of the annulment of his marriage to a Maltese woman owing to vitiated consent 17 years ago.

While the law rightly provided for citizenship to be revoked in the case of a marriage of convenience, this was not such a situation, Dr Azzopardi insisted. Citizenship could not be withdrawn for the reason that had been given.
What had happened was unprecedented, but it was not a coincidence.

What had happened was "disgusting, disgraceful and an act of vindictiveness", he said.

He explained that an unprecedented case, the government wrote to Mr Fezouine on March 8 informing him that his citizenship was revoked. The man will have to leave behind a business he started and an 11-year-old child, the PN MP added.

This, Dr Azzopardi said, was the first time ever that citizenship had been revoked because of vitiated consent for marriage and not because the marriage was out of convenience, as was normally the case. 

Mr Fezouine had blown the whistle about a corrupt scheme which had seen Malta issuing Schengen visas to Algerians with the blessing of the highest echelons of power.

The auditor had investigated the case and in large part confirmed the allegations.

But the government instead of investigating the case, had in an obscene manner revoked the citizenship granted to this man. This was the ultimate secular crime which a state could commit.

Corruption had been aided and abetted by the highest authorities, to the detriment of European member states, Dr Azzopardi added. 

Instead of police investigating, as would be the case in other countries, they took the citizenship of the person who blew the whistle on the scandal. 

This was further confirmation that what the government said about protecting whistleblowers was merely lip service. One only needed to see what had happened in the case of [whistleblower] Jonathan Ferris, Dr Azzopardi said.