The latest reshuffle of Robert Abela’s cabinet has come at a cost of hundreds of thousands of euros to taxpayers in so-called secret ‘terminal benefits’, The Shift has found through a freedom of information request.
The Shift can report that Abela’s 2022 decision to inject new blood into the cabinet has meant that nine ousted former ministers and junior ministers have shared €318,000 between them from the benefits scheme, or an average of €35,000 each.
The disbursements were made shortly after the former cabinet members’ positions were terminated and in line with a controversial secret scheme designed by politicians for themselves.
The scheme, which has been changed twice, and secretly once again by disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for his personal benefit, pays former cabinet members – who were either not re-elected, resigned, sacked or otherwise not re-nominated – a terminal benefit equivalent to either a month’s salary for each year they served in cabinet or a minimum of a six-month salary.
The scheme was introduced by a Nationalist administration in 2012 and has been kept secret ever since by all administrations.
Prime Minister Robert Abela has steadfastly refused to publish the scheme as amended by his predecessor, Muscat, with the excuse that it is a protected cabinet document.
The scheme’s latest round of disbursements to politicians obtained by The Shift through a freedom of information request shows that former ministers Evarist Bartolo and Jose’ Herrera, who lost their parliamentary seats, and former minister Michael Farrugia, who Abela has left on the backbench, benefitted the most. They received a lump sum of over €44,000 each.
Other former cabinet ministers receiving pay-outs included Edward Zammit Lewis (€29,373). This was the second time Zammit Lewis received the terminal benefit – he received another €27,330 in 2017 for not being elected.
Also on the list are Carmelo Abela (€35,493) and former parliamentary secretaries Alex Muscat (€28,171), Chris Agius (€36,387) and Deo Debattista (€28,171).
Since the secret scheme does not consider why a politician was not reappointed to cabinet, those who resigned in disgrace also receive the benefit, like former Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar who got a €28,000 payment from public coffers.
No other state employee has an automatic right to any terminal benefit payment upon retirement.
Members of parliament are also entitled to a special pension, over and above their National Insurance pension, upon reaching retirement age. The same was introduced for members of the judiciary a few years ago.
These special schemes are kept out of public discourse as much as possible and are rarely mentioned by politicians from either side of the House.
Seems that if there is a change of government in 2027, the total amount of terminal benefits for the 27 strong “socialist” bloated cabinet will cost us more than a million euros. The real joke is that even the retiring minister for “equality” will take a slice.
Money no problem. Where was Clyde Caruana when he was saying that government departments should be cutting down on expenses. When it comes to the MLP, the taxpayer is quite happy to fulfil their egoistic requirements.
Kollha kemm huma hniezer.
Thief and ROBBER ABELA.
For the sake of clarity, The Shift should compare the Nationalist version of 2012 to the twice amended version during Muscat’s nine year stint as the most corrupt politician in the world.
These compensation packages are not unique to Malta, but surely other countries do not compensate fired MPs because of alleged criminal activity or sheer incompetence.
This all stems out of Malta’s system of part-time politicians and corrupt governments who pay part-time MPs full-time salaries twice or three times over.
In the meantime, more and more citizens resort to soup kitchens or food banks for meagre handouts without which they face malnutrition or even starvation.
now we’ll get a cheque for Eur100 and we’ll all clap and vote lejber…..like all the Gahan’s in the world!
😠 You are too right. So sad. No one deserve this Govern-Gang!
And both sides claim that they are Socialists and elected for the people to serve the people. Halluna!!!
Facts speak louder than words..
The PN never claimed it was socialist!
A sort of musical-chairs where it is convenient to lose your seat….:LOL