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Benefit fraud accused Silvio Grixti in dig at Prime Minister: ‘Who approves cushy jobs?’

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Former Labour MP Silvio Grixti, who stands accused of masterminding a social benefit fraud racket, has taken a swipe at Robert Abela over his ‘cushy jobs’ comment.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Grixti posed a question, which was a clear reference to a comment the Prime Minister made during a One TV interview.

“Who approves and gives consent to cushy jobs?” Grixti asked, followed by “tik tok tik tok”, as if there is a ticking timer.

The doctor was referring to Abela’s statement on Tuesday in which he cautioned government employees against expecting “cushy jobs”. Abela went on to urge those not serving the public’s legitimate needs to decide their next move before decisions are made for them.

Abela was reacting to the dismal European election result that saw the Labour Party lose thousands of votes and drop below 50% for the first time since 2009.

Abela’s comment had earlier raised the ire of the Nationalist Party and the Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin, who condemned the Prime Minister for blaming public service employees for the PL’s losses.

Grixti did not elaborate but in response to one of his followers who asked him to refrain from making unnecessary comments, the former MP said has remained silent for too long.

“I have kept my mouth shut for a long time and [been] threatened and God forbid I spit out [what I have to say] my friend… leave me to reflect alone because the party has abandoned me,” Grixti replied.

In a separate post he claimed discrimination against him because of his Labour background, insisting Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri was never investigated by the police. The case involved allegations that Spiteri had been signing off on sickness certificates without even seeing patients.

“This is why Labourites are frustrated,” he said, claiming that people like him were being treated differently than those with Nationalist backgrounds.

The former Labour MP stands charged along with four other co-conspirators of masterminding a fraudulent scheme by which undeserving individuals could receive a severe disability benefit for ailments they did not suffer from. The court has heard how beneficiaries would obtain false medical certificates from Grixti, which they would present to a medical board that approves applications for the severe disability benefit.

The racket enabled claimants to receive monthly payments, averaging around €450, from the Department of Social Security. The amount that was defrauded over a three-year period ran into millions of euros.

Grixti had resigned in December 2021 when the scheme first came to light and was charged in March this year along with Roger Agius, Emmanuel Spagnol, Dustin Caruana, and Luke Saliba.

The men were charged with organising and forming part of a criminal organisation, defrauding the Department of Social Security of an amount in excess of €5,000, forging official documents that entitle holders to payment and knowingly making use of such documents.

They were also charged with forging public documents and knowingly making use of them, making a false declaration to the public authorities and possession of items intended to be used for fraudulent purposes, as well as a separate charge of money laundering.

The case against them is ongoing.

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