Taxpayers have sustained 83-year-old former Labour Minister Joe Debono Grech since he left politics in 2017, being paid €40,000 a year for unspecified duties as a ‘Special Delegate to the Prime Minister’ on top of his ministerial pension, according to his contract seen by The Shift.
The role given to Debono Grech is non-existent. The contract, obtained following a Freedom of Information request, shows that while he is employed on a full time basis, he has no office space and no duties at Castille.
The contract was first signed in June 2017 when he was appointed ‘special delegate’ to disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat and renewed every 12 months since.
The €40,000 a year he receives for no one knows what tops his ministerial pension of some €32,000 a year. As a former MP and Cabinet member, Debono Grech receives an additional pension on top of the two-thirds national insurance pension.
Robert Abela has renewed Debono Grech’s contract following the last general elections. His €37,590 salary comes with a fully-expensed car and a mobile allowance of €815 a year.
Apart from the generous contract afforded to him by the government, the former Labour minister also sits on the board of directors of state entity Gozo Channel where he also draws another government salary.
In this year’s general elections, the ever-controversial Debono Grech hit the headlines on comments he made during a political rally for former Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri.
In an attempt to justify corruption, he addressed Labour Party supporters saying: “Christ said that there were two thieves. The good one, and the bad one. We’re with the good one,” he said to applause during the political activity on 12 March.
“People say that all (politicians) are corrupt,” Debono Grech added. “And they’re right. But we got nothing out of their (PN) corruption. At least we (PL) gained something out of ours.”
He certainly did.
Prime Minister Robert Abela had condemned Debono Grech’s comments. Yet on the same day he was again sworn in as prime minister, Abela reappointed Debono Grech as his ‘special delegate’.