In November 2015, the Public Accounts Committee requested the Auditor General to investigate the issuance of visas by the Maltese Consulate in Algiers between March 2014 and September 2015. During this period, 14,640 applications were received, of which 6,779 were issued a visa while 7,589 were refused. The National Audit Office (NAO) established that 99.5% of applications were decided within the 15-days stipulated in the Visa Code. Notwithstanding this, there was no visibility over the process beyond the point when the Consul decides to issue or refuse a visa, at which stage third parties are involved. This heightened the risk of wrongdoing, precluding the NAO from establishing whether the issuance of visas was intentionally prolonged to elicit payments for hastening thereof.