Robert Musumeci, an architect, lawyer, and recipient of multiple Labour Party government consultancy contracts related to the Planning Authority and Lands Authority, is now also advising on pensions despite having no known experience or qualifications in the field.
Information tabled in parliament revealed that the former Nationalist Party mayor was given a part-time consultancy contract, advising Social Solidarity Minister Michael Falzon. A copy of the contract, seen by The Shift, shows he provides advice on pensions and social solidarity.
Better known for his specialisation in local planning laws, particularly ODZ developments, it is surprising the minister now gets advice on social solidarity, including poverty and pensions, from Musumeci.
“Our ministry already has very senior officials who are very well versed with pensions and have been advising different administrations for decades,” a ministry official told The Shift. “No one here was aware that Musumeci was also well-versed in this area.”
According to his contract signed by Permanent Secretary Mark Musu, Musumeci’s duties are “to highlight/ formulate new policies and enhance on existing policies envisaged necessary in this sector and to formulate a strategy for the ministry from a political/administrative point of view vis a vis sectors under this ministry’s responsibility such as social solidarity and pensions initiatives.”
Senior ministry officials described these tasks as “very ambiguous and broad”, and they added the permanent secretary should be concerned, considering the National Audit Office has recently been looking into phantom consultancies and contracts.
For his 13-hour-a-week part-time job, Musumeci is paid an additional €11,500 to top of his other government positions and roles.
Besides his bustling private architectural practice in Siġġiewi, where he employs a raft of architects and drafters, Musumeci also provides private clients with legal advice as a lawyer and lectures law students at the University of Malta.
Musumeci has served as a consultant to the Planning Authority for years, writing new policies on which he later defended clients in his private practice. He is also a consultant to the Lands Authority.
Through a lucrative contract with the former parliamentary secretary responsible for the Lands Authority, Deborah Schembri, Musumeci also represents the same Authority in court, billing the government tens of thousands of euro.
Recently, he also served as a consultant to the justice minister, and until 2017, he was also a consultant to disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat.