All lawyers, with one exception, currently engaged by the Lands Authority are intricately connected to Labour, pocketing tens of thousands of euros in taxpayer funds from consultancies.
The Shift is also informed that former Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana, forced to resign earlier on this year and immediately put on the Authority’s payroll through direct order, has been given an exclusive contract to take over all the Authority’s court cases in Gozo.
This makes it easier for her to work in her own political constituency while pocketing an extra €48,000 a year over and above her parliamentary honoraria and other income.
The Shift is informed that currently, the government entity responsible for the administration of public lands and led by James Piscopo, the former CEO of the Labour Party, has ongoing consultancy contracts for legal services with several lawyers and legal firms.
Apart from the former Gozo Minister, the Lands Authority has signed contracts with Luke Dalli, son of former Minister and current European Commissioner Helena Dalli, as well as Deborah Schembri, the former Labour Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the same Authority until she lost her seat in the last general election.
Robert Musumeci, a former PN mayor turned Labour in 2013, and Matthew Bondin, a young lawyer who until a few months ago was working in the legal office of now-Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis, have also signed contracts with the Authority.
The Lands Authority also has a contract with a firm called RD legal – a partnership formed by Musumeci and Schembri who apparently joined forces to get a second contract from the government entity.
Stefano Filletti has two separate contracts, reaching almost €60,000 a year.
The contracts signed with each lawyer, seen by The Shift, shows that the legal services providers are not paid the same way.
Caruana, the former Gozo Minister, is paid €4,000 a month, which is substantially higher than the €3,000 a month for 25 hours a week being pocketed by Dalli, the son of Malta’s European Commissioner in Brussels who has not been heard of on any accomplishment or even duties performed since her move to Brussels.
Bondin, who served as Board secretary of the Malta Gaming Authority and now acts as a secretary of a government task force on human trafficking reform, is getting €3,500 a month from the Authority.
The latest contract given to Caruana puts her in a much better financial position than when she used to head the Gozo Ministry.
While a serving Minister is on a salary of less than €60,000 a year, so far Caruana is already earning some €90,000 a year from government handouts and her parliamentary honoraria as she received yet another direct contract to provide legal services at the Water Services Corporation (WSC), which is managed by Ivan Falzon, a Gozitan, made CEO on a person of trust basis.
While raking in close to €50,000 from the Lands Authority contract, another €30,000 as a part-time MP, including an extra €10,000 for chairing a parliamentary committee, her annual income was topped by another €10,000 from WSC
Caruana was forced to resign last January following revelations that her husband, former Police Deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta had close relations with Yorgen Fenech, accused of commissioning the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Last week, The Times of Malta reported that Caruana would resign her parliamentary seat. She strongly denied the report.