Joseph and Michelle Muscat still using diplomatic passport despite corruption, abuse of public funds inquiries

Disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat and his wife, Michelle, are still using a diplomatic passport to travel, over four years after he was forced to resign amid nationwide protests and despite the fact they are both currently under investigation for various wrongdoings.

Muscat was awarded the diplomatic passport when he resigned in 2019 as a part of his severance package. A follow-up “diplomatic passport policy” issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in July 2021 and seen by The Shift reinforces his eligibility and that of former presidents, foreign ministers and their spouses.

The act of issuing diplomatic passports to former leaders and high officials is not uncommon and takes place in Italy, the US, Australia, and several Asian countries. However, issuing one to a prime minister who resigned and is subject to an investigation does not appear to be the norm.

Muscat resigned due to public outcry over corruption and links between him, his ministers, and the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. He is now subject to a magisterial inquiry on possible sleaze and corruption related to the “fraudulent” hospitals deal. Michelle is subject to an investigation by the Standards Commissioner over the abuse of public funds.

While holding a diplomatic passport does not mean the holder has diplomatic immunity in Malta, it can slow down arrests on foreign soil. If an arrest outside of Malta is needed, the foreign government can ask the Maltese foreign office to lift the immunity in cases of the need for interrogation or if there is grave suspicion of wrongdoing.

Concerns over the privileges offered by retaining the diplomatic passport were raised in spring 2023 when the fact came to light through Abela’s replies to a parliamentary question. Then-Chair of ADPD, Carmel Cacopardo, had said the passport gives a number of rights which “bearing in mind the serious circumstances which led to Joseph Muscat resigning as prime minister, create further suspicions on his actions which still await in-depth criminal investigation.”

Prime Minister Robert Abela had told parliament that Muscat and his wife were given the right to use a diplomatic passport as part of his lucrative severance package, which also included an unprecedented €120,000 cash payment, two cars, one for him and another for his wife and the use of a seafront government paid office to conduct his private consultancy business, among other benefits.

                           

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Andy
Andy
1 month ago

In and of itself, the diplomatic passport doesn’t mean too much, many of us who were on Government service held one at one time or another. Contrary to common belief, it doesn’t automatically confer absolute immunity. What would be more interesting to know is whether Mr and Mrs Kink hold letters of accreditation from the Maltese Government indicating that they are formal representatives.

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

An utter shame that a former PM, honoured by “being the most corrupt politician of the year” should be given such privileges. His wife too.
This only proves that Robert Abela is not his own man, but either spineless or possibly has skeletons in his cupboard.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago
Reply to  Francis Said

HE IS BOTH.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago

The question on the Assets freeze should not be attributing the wealth generated to specific illicit activities, which is practically impossible to do, BUT freezing the total wealth held in excess of validated source of income.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago

Does a diplomatic passport exempt Joseph Muscat, Michelle Muscat and their daughters from laundering illicit wealth like jewels, precious stones, diamonds, gold ingots, expensive watches, hard cash and works of art?

Mick
Mick
1 month ago

They’re working on the premise that they won’t be arrested abroad for their crimes, especially in Dubai.

viv
viv
1 month ago
Reply to  Mick

UAE is one of the most artificial societies in the world. They should enjoy great success there.

Carmelo borg
1 month ago

Robert KOMPLI HAWWAD IL BORMA halli il floating voters JATUK ID DAQQATAL MEWT.

Anne R. key
Anne R. key
1 month ago

Oink oink – tis the lands of untouchable Gods.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
1 month ago
Reply to  Anne R. key

Taghna lkoll = kollox taghna u kollox bla hlas!

Paul Henry Berman
Paul Henry Berman
1 month ago

A lifetime of benefits for years of crime all at our expense

carlos
1 month ago

the best way how to export his ill gotten gains.
the most corrupt x pm Malta ever had.

El Ninho
El Ninho
1 month ago

Makes it easy to take out I’ll gotten gains, if you have a free passage to your aircraft with no checks by customs

makjavel
makjavel
1 month ago

Unless I am wrong , a Diplomatic Passport gives the bearer the right to avoid customs and baggage checking.
This means that the bearer can take anything in the luggage , as Diplomatic Luggage.
This can include Money , Drugs , Fire arms , Secret Documents ,……….
Am I wrong?

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