Confirmed: Muscat received €60,000 more than permitted when leaving office

Standards Commissioner confirms findings of The Shift’s investigation.

 

An investigation by the Standards Commissioner confirmed The Shift’s revelations on how disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat manoeuvred to take an extra €60,000 payment from public coffers to which he was not entitled when leaving office.

This extra golden handshake topped additional benefits Muscat gave himself before his sudden departure,  which he still receives with the blessing of his successor, Prime Minister Robert Abela.

The Commissioner’s findings, following The Shift’s revelations and a call for an investigation by independent MEP candidate Arnold Cassala and NGO Repubblika, Commissioner Joseph Azzopardi confirmed that according to a cabinet memo issued in 2008, Muscat should have received €60,000. Yet he received double that amount – €120,000.

His successor, Prime Minister Robert Abela, has worked hard to restrict information on what benefits Muscat was given, refusing Freedom of Information requests until his hand was forced.

The information received sheds light on the benefits Muscat paid himself compared to other departing MPs and former prime ministers.

Lawrence Gonzi, for example, received €73,000 compared to Muscat’s €120,000 – and Gonzi was prime minister for four years more than Muscat, who had to leave office in disgrace, drowning in allegations of corruption associated with the murder of a journalist.

Benefits explained

According to a 2008 cabinet decision, former cabinet members not re-elected or removed from office would be entitled to two separate benefits: Terminal Benefits and Transitional Allowance.

Cabinet memo on Transitional Allowance.

All departing members of the cabinet were entitled to a Terminal Benefit “equivalent to one-twelfth of the annual salary and allowances received at the time of termination of their employment for every year of continuous service with the Government of Malta.”

A minimum of six months’ pay was established.

For former cabinet members who did not have a fixed job, a Transitional Allowance provided a percentage of their salary for the first three years after termination of their government office.

However, if the former cabinet member received a terminal benefit payment during the first year, no allowance was to be given, and any private income during the remaining two years was to be deducted from the allowance.

In his income tax declaration for 2020, Muscat declared he received €482,000 from work related to consultancies. This meant he was not eligible to receive a transitional allowance.

Yet he was given double his Terminal Benefit (€120,000) arguing that this was in compensation for renouncing his transitional allowance, to which he was not entitled.

Muscat lied while Abela defended the decision

In his reaction to The Shift’s 2021 revelations about his unexplained €120,000 golden handshake, the disgraced former prime minister said on social media that he had renounced his transitional allowance to justify the generous payment pocketed.

Muscat reacted by saying that he had renounced his transitional allowance to which he was not entitled.

The Standards Commissioner’s investigation now shows Muscat’s reaction was a lie.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Robert Abela spent months trying to hide the terminal benefits given to Muscat and has failed to explain how Muscat’s golden handshake was calculated.

In bits and pieces, Abela later revealed that, unlike any other former prime minister, Muscat was also given special state benefits such as an extra government-paid car for his wife Michelle Muscat and a government-owned office in a recently renovated building at Sa Maison, complete with sea view, where Muscat could host his private consultancy business. This is unprecedented.

These additional benefits are still being enjoyed by Joseph Muscat and his wife, Michelle.

                           

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Josie
Josie
1 month ago

Leave in disgrace or even if you leave in grace, but how the hell do you get a car and a rent free property????

What is wrong with this country??

Mick
Mick
1 month ago
Reply to  Josie

You know of course, it’s a thriving Mafia outpost and those who steal the most get the biggest illegal benefits.

Carmelo borg
1 month ago

INSAQSI lil Dan il GIDIEB.
LIL MIN GHAMEL SINJUR ZGHIR GHAX HEKK KIEN QAL LI LIL POPLU KIEN GHAMLU SINJUR ZGHIR
DAN GHANDU GILDA TAL KUKUDRILLI LANQAS MIN ALLA LI HALQU MA JISTHI.

Reality
Reality
1 month ago

Thanzer guz. Make hay while the sun shines. That’s what mix mix suggested. and you really adhered to her suggestion
Greedy pigs

Albert
Albert
1 month ago

Muscat and Abela are only in politics for the money. Thats all they know and the rest of the subordinates are no better. They haven’t a clue how to run a government!!!💯👎👎👍

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