Malta
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OPM urges illicit benefit recipients to assist Police in benefits fraud investigation

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has called upon illicit benefit recipients to assist the police, encouraging them to provide any necessary evidence, including the identities of those who enticed them into participating in the benefits fraud scheme.

"Authorities have taken and will continue to take all necessary measures regarding the benefit fraud scandal," asserted the OPM.

During an interview with the Times of Malta on Sunday, three individuals identified as "benefit recipients" disclosed their experiences, implicating a Labour Party canvasser and a former minister's aide in the alleged misconduct.

One of the individuals claimed that both individuals "lured him into the benefits fraud operation" in exchange for his vote and a kickback equivalent to a year's worth of benefits.

The OPM clarified that these individuals have already been approached and investigated by the authorities, but urged them to sustain their claims by assisting the police, give authorities all the evidence they have, and name anyone who could be possibly involved.

It recalled that in 2021, it promptly reported instances of benefit fraud to the police as soon as it became aware of them, emphasising its commitment to upholding the law.

"It is unfounded to suggest that anyone at Castille's customer care directed individuals to engage in any illegal activities," added the OPM.

The OPM also called for the withdrawal of "several accusations," deeming them "baseless."

Addressing the opposition's claim that this scheme was linked to vote-buying, the OPM clarified that actions had been taken prior to the last election to address the matter.

On Saturday, the Government has set up a three-person independent Board to assess the alleged abuse in the severe disability benefits scheme and provide recommendations to the government on how to strengthen the evaluation process.

It said that independently of any police investigation, an independent board formed by three members will be enacted in order to evaluate the process of how the severe disability benefits are approved.

READ MORE: PN calls for urgent parliamentary session on Monday