The spin doctor of disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat has had his contract extended for another three years as Prime Minister Robert Abela has agreed that Kurt Farrugia should remain at the helm of Malta Enterprise at a salary of €11,000 a month.
His new contract, seen by The Shift following a Freedom of Information request, was signed by Malta Enterprise Chairman William Wait. Farrugia will now continue to head the agency until 2025, at a cost of €130,000 a year, with the possibility of having the contract renewed further by an additional three years.
Farrugia is the highest-paid public employee. While he is being given a basic salary of €105,000 a year, he also has a performance bonus of €21,000 a year and a ‘disturbance allowance’ of another €5,000 because of his “frequent overseas travel”.
His package also includes a fully expensed car, a driver, an international health policy for all his family and other perks, meaning he is paid twice as much as the prime minister and a far cry from his salary of under €50,000 when he was Muscat’s spokesperson.
Farrugia’s contract also includes unique clauses, dubbed by industrial relations experts as “unacceptable” and “highly unconventional”.
Among these is an agreement by Malta Enterprise that even if Farrugia resigns to move to new employment, including to a private entity attracted to the country by Malta Enterprise, taxpayers will still have to pay him a full year’s salary as compensation.
The Shift is informed that Farrugia had to accept “a tweak” to his contract, eliminating a somewhat unique clause that entitled him to an increment of another €5,000 a year over and above his €11,000-a-month salary.
Malta Enterprise distributes tens of millions of euros in state funds as incentives to attract foreign investors to the country. During Farrugia’s first three-year stint at Malta Enterprise, there was no significant new investment brought to Malta.
While the agreements are kept secret, most of those who invest in the island are given very generous incentives.
Since joining Malta Enterprise, Farrugia has made sure he is surrounded by friends.
While giving his former colleague at Labour’s One TV, Anthony David Gatt a promotion by appointing him chief officer, he also put Nigel Vella on the agency’s payroll. Vella was a former Labour Party spokesman and Farrugia’s own deputy when they worked for Muscat.
According to the latest available data, in 2021 Farrugia also approved some €1 million in direct orders, including to companies that regularly support the Labour Party.