The Address | Benghazi – Libya
Valletta – Maltese Health Minister Chris Fearne has fired Neville Gafà from his role as projects director at the Foundation for Medical Services in the wake of revelations that he had met Libyan government ministers and a militia leader during a trip to the North African country, Lovin Malta.
The Foundations’ head Carmen Ciantar confirmed with The Times of Malta that the chief of staff of the Health Ministry had directed her Fearne’s orders to fire Gafà. Although Ciantar would not delve into the reasons behind his dismissal, sources told The Times that Fearne did not want Gafà under his responsibility in the wake of repeated allegations of wrongdoing.
The Libyan press recently published photos of Gafà meeting with senior government ministers, with the Libyan Interior Ministry in Tripoli describing him as “a special envoy” of Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
However, Muscat said Gafà is not his special envoy and Gafà claimed his trip to Libya was a personal visit.
It was later revealed that Gafà also held a meeting with militia leader Haitham Tajouri. Gafà at first denied meeting Tajouri, then conceded that he had bumped into him, “informally, on the street, like I can bump into anyone on the street”. Witnesses have however claimed that the meeting was more of a sit-down and some form of discussions were held.
The case took another twist in recent weeks when Alleanza Bidla leader Ivan Grech Mintoff claimed on his TV programme that Gafà visited Libya to bribe witnesses and thereby stop them from testifying against him in a Maltese court case over an alleged medical visa racket.
Fearne is widely considered as a frontrunner to succeed Joseph Muscat, who has pledged not to contest the next general election.