Point 5: Mrs Muscat’s passport number and place of birth

Published: April 22, 2017 at 3:18pm

The Prime Minister gave a press conference this morning, saying that the document transcripts I published last night are “fake” because they give Mrs Muscat’s place of birth as Rabat when she was born in Attard, and also because they don’t carry her passport number or ID card number.

He shot himself in the foot, however, by adding that Mrs Muscat’s ID card gives her place of birth as Rabat, not Attard: “so obviously this must mean that whoever faked the document took her details from her ID card”.

Well, of course they did. In any legal document produced, the facts about the individual – date of birth, place of birth, gender – are taken from official identity documents and not from what the individual says.

If your official identity documents give your place of birth as Rabat, then it is useless telling the notary/corporate services provider/bank that no, actually you were born in Attard. It’s Rabat that goes on the legal document, contract, agreement or declaration of trust.

Nobody at the press conference could answer him, because the journalists there were taken by surprise. But I am sure they will have worked this out by the time they get back to their desks.

I had already asked these questions myself (hey ho, Sherlock) when I got hold of the documents because I vaguely remembered some kind of interview or something in which Mrs Muscat said she had been born in Attard, and I have a weird memory that registers facts like that. So it was the first thing I noticed on the documents.

I was told that actually, her Maltese identity card gives her place of birth as Rabat. I am very grateful to the Prime Minister for confirming this, as I do not have access to the identity cards registry database.

I had also asked about the absence of an identifying number, like a passport number or ID number, because here in Malta we are accustomed to a system in which we do not exist without our ID number and we are identified solely by it.

The accurate response was that a Maltese ID card number is not used in a transnational context (unless it is the Schengen zone, for travel purposes) because it is meant for domestic/national use.

And that passport numbers are useless in documents intended to be of a permanent nature, because when a passport expires, the number expires with it, which means that it changes every five or 10 years or whenever the passport is lost or renewed for whatever purpose.

While a national identity card number pertains to the individual, a passport number pertains to the actual document and not to the person, and expires with the document. Your passport number today will not be the same passport number in three, five or 15 years.

I should also bring up the obvious in the Prime Minister’s straw-clutching: he accuses somebody of having “faked” the documents because the information about Mrs Muscat’s place of birth comes from her ID card (this when a birth certificate is not required for a declaration of trust, as he seems to suggest), but then also says that the documents are fake because they don’t carry her ID number.

But if they had access to her ID for her place of birth, then they would also have had access to her ID card number. So suggesting that they left it out because they didn’t know it is…well, let’s be kind.