Watch: Cash-for-passports scheme to be retained – Abela

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Robert Abela stood by the cash-for-passport scheme saying that it was a mistake for Opposition Leader Adrian Delia not to consult with him over the appointment of the new IIP regulator.

Both the Opposition and the business lobby have called on the government to either suspend or scrap the controversial scheme.

“I think that to abdicate from his responsibility as an Opposition Leader is a mistake on his behalf,” Abela told the press when asked for a reaction. He added that he wished to have Delia’s input, not only on the appointment of the new regulator but also on other matters including changes to the Constitution and judicial appointments. He claimed that by collaborating one can achieve better results.

When asked whether the government would introduce changes to the scheme, Abela said that he was determined to retain the cash-for-passports scheme. “If I have to make any due diligence changes I will but the scheme has brought a lot of good to the country,” the Prime Minister told the press. Abela said that the scheme as it is has a high level of due diligence and this was reflected in the high amount of applications which have been turned down.

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said that it was time to scrap the cash-for-passports scheme in a tweet. Delia said that the scheme “has left our country’s reputation in tatters”. He added that he refused to be consulted on the appointment of the scheme’s regulator.

In a statement, Partit Nazzjonalist said that the Opposition saw no need to be consulted over the appointment of the regulator, reiterating that the scheme has damaged the country’s reputation.

Watch: Miguela Xuereb