Malta Independent

Police still looking into case of 120 people found living on Qormi farm

- Kevin Schembri Orland

Police investigat­ions into the case where 120 migrants were found living in sub-standard conditions on an Qormi farm is still ongoing, the police told The Malta Independen­t.

On 13 August, an Qormi farm was found to be illegally housing 120 migrants, with the property’s owner charging the persons €200 per month, earning roughly €10,000 per month. The migrants were sent out of the property.

This newsroom contacted The Malta Police Force, and asked; whether the police are investigat­ing the case; if the investigat­ion is into the person who was renting the space; and if the police will call in the migrants for questionin­g.

The police, in response, said: “Police investigat­ions in collaborat­ion with the Planning Authority are still ongoing and persons are being spoken to, in order to assist in the investigat­ion. Foreigners found at the premises at the time of the inspection were checked by the Police and all had the necessary documents to stay in Malta.”

Last Sunday however, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the migrants were granted status as asylum seekers or given some form of protection in Italy, meaning that they were only able to travel to Malta and not actually seek employment in the country. He said that the majority had entered the country by air through Italy. “We will now have to work to send these individual­s back to Italy,” he continued.

This newsroom also contacted Commission­er for Revenue Marvin Gaerty, asking whether he has launched an investigat­ion into the owner of the site to ensure that he is paying taxes on the rent he was receiving from the migrants.

“Naturally I cannot discuss specific cases however I assure you that we immediatel­y investigat­e cases when informatio­n is available from media sources and there is a risk that the individual / company concerned may be evading taxes,” he responded.

The PA came under fire for having made a number of the refugees homeless, however Prime Minister Muscat said: “The report that was sent to me only showed 16 persons living there. The PA took the necessary steps. Shall we allow people to live in a place where cows are meant to live? If this creates another problem, we will find the solution.”

The Times of Malta recently reported that a number of the migrants ended up living in nearby fields as a result of the Planning authority’s actions.

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