Former Finance Minister Edward Scicluna gave an €11,000 annual salary increase to his predecessor at the Central Bank just before the former Finance Minister was forced to leave politics and started pitching for the same position.
The former Central Bank Governor, Mario Vella, was informed in 2016 that his financial package for this post was €89,000 for the five-year term, according to his letter of appointment in 2016 that was seen by The Shift.
Scicluna, who was Finance Minister at the time, informed Vella in the letter that his remuneration was set at €89,000 and “will remain unchanged throughout your term of office”. Vella’s appointment should have come to an end next July.
Yet shortly after Robert Abela’s appointment as prime minister, the 74-year-old former Finance Minister suddenly informed the Central Bank Governor that, contrary to what was stated in his original appointment letter, Scicluna had approved a significant increase in the Governor’s remuneration to €100,000 a year.
Scicluna was forced to leave for Prime Minister Robert Abela to appoint his unelected chief of staff Clyde Caruana in his place, seemingly due to Moneyval concerns.
Scicluna’s package kept under wraps
Both the Central Bank of Malta and the government, which sets the remuneration given to a new Governor, have refused to reveal the financial package given to Scicluna upon his retirement from his ministerial post.
Asked repeatedly by The Shift to state what financial terms have been given to the new Central Bank Governor, the bank’s spokesman failed to reply despite promising answers.
Although the Central Bank now occupies more of a ceremonial role and is overstaffed in relation to its functions, Scicluna insisted on getting his own aides and increasing the bank’s overheads.
The Shift is informed that the Central Bank’s driver – a person who has been driving around all Governors for the past 30 years – has been given ‘other duties’ so that Scicluna could be chauffeured by his canvasser who served as his driver when he was Minister.
Scicluna also insisted that his own personal secretary joins his private office at the Central Bank. This has come at the expense of veteran employees at the bank who were given minor roles to make way for Scicluna’s staff.
Scicluna, who is way beyond the statutory retirement age, lobbied hard for this new position and did not want to resign his Ministerial post without ‘compensation’.
The former Finance Minister hit the headlines when he told the public inquiry into journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination that he justified voting to retain former Minister Konrad Mizzi because, if he had voted differently he would have had to resign, and he thought this ‘unjust’ since he had left a comfortable Brussels job which earned him over €100,000.
Scicluna already receives three pensions funded by taxpayers – one as an MEP and two local pensions, one of which is for his time as Minister for an amount the government is refusing to disclose.
The pension of Maltese politicians is uncapped, meaning that in his case Scicluna is paid the full two-thirds of a Ministerial salary, over €30,000 a year. Maltese politicians also keep receiving the statutory normal pension apart from their special pension as politicians.
You can look through the Finance Minister’s declarations over the years here.