Opposition Nationalist Party MPs have retaliated to a flurry of parliamentary questions from ousted Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar demanding information on their public sector jobs by filing similar questions on MPs sitting on the government benches.
Through Nationalist Party MP Toni Bezzina, the opposition asked each minister, including the prime minister, to list any government MPs currently drawing a full-time salary in a public sector position, as well as their role, salary, attendance and timesheet.
This move was apparently in retaliation to a flurry of questions asked by ‘independent’ MP Rosianne Cutajar asking the same of PN MPs.
Rosianne Cutajar’s downfall
Last year, Cutajar was found to have a second government job, a consultancy at the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS), deemed by the National Audit Office as phantom and fraudulent.
No criminal action has been taken by the police against Cutajar and the ITS CEO Pierre Fenech over the matter, and Cutajar has not apologised or returned the thousands of euro she received from the State.
Instead, she filed tens of questions to opposition MPs and none on Labour MPs.
Cutajar was sacked from the Labour’s parliamentary group following a series of scandals, including highly compromising chats with Yorgen Fenech, allegedly involved in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and is currently being rehabilitated by Prime Minister Robert Abela ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections, which will test his popularity.
After declaring last year that Cutajar would not be allowed to contest the elections on the Labour ticket again, he has now made a spectacular U-turn, stating that he is considering her comeback.
Maltese MPs from both sides of the house have always been part-timers. While some are engaged in professional and private-sector employment, others hold other full-time government jobs.
It is a known secret that every administration, both Nationalist and Labour, has allowed them to be absent from their full-time jobs when they have political obligations.
While some MPs do not attend their job only when they have political duties, on both sides, others have been caught abusing the situation, with some not turning up at their workplace at all while still receiving a salary.
The recent case of abuse by Rosianne Cutajar is different from the situation of other MPs as she was appointed, without a call, as the commissioner for the simplification of bureaucracy and was then given the ITS consultancy as a second government job, in addition to her parliamentary honoraria.
While it was reported that Cutajar rarely turned up at her commissioner job, the NAO found her ITS consultancy was a “phantom” job.
Cutajar herself admitted in the publicly published chats that she would take the consultant position to “pig out” like her other Labour colleagues.