The Malta Independent 28 June 2016, Tuesday

€125,000 ‘deal’ involving three former Cabinet members linked to second cars

Rachel Attard & Kevin Schembri Orland Friday, 22 January 2016, 10:48 Last update: about 6 months ago

The €125,000 deal involving three former PN members of Cabinet mentioned by Economy Minister Chris Cardona last weekend surrounds the use of second cars, a spokesman from the Office of the Prime Minister told this newsroom.

Minister Cardona had specifically said, during a PL meeting in Rabat, that details will soon be revealed which show that three members of the past PN administration were engaged in a €125,000 deal together.

The three former PN cabinet members in question are Tonio Fenech, Austin Gatt and Tonio Borg, the OPM spokesman said.

The spokesman  explained that the Prime Minister, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries benefit from a system where aside from their official car, they either have a second car paid for by government, or receive a €7,000 allowance instead.

Between March 2008 and March 2013, €120,000 was spent on second cars used by the three former members of Cabinet, he said. “€68,000 was used by government to buy new cars for them as second cars. €28,000 was used on repairs for these cars as well as car rentals while these cars were in repair, and €24,000 was spent on fuel”.

“In the last legislature, there were six Ministers and two Parliamentary Secretaries who chose to take the €7,000 allowance per year instead of a second car. They also gave themselves a €500 weekly increase”.

“In George Pullicino’s case, his second car was rented by government for him between 2008 and 2010, costing €16,000. In 2011, he decided to change and took the €7,000 per year instead of the second car, however the car he had was still being rented for €15 per day”.

The issue of cars and government officials has become quite a heated topic lately. Referring to the aforementioned information relating to TonioFenech’s car, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna had created quite a ruckus, arguing that Tonio Fenech, had acquired a 5-year-old government car for a fraction of its original price on the eve of the last general election. The minister later clarified that the car was purchased nine years previously and government procedure had been followed when he purchased it. 

Prior to this, both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition came under fire. Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil was subject to an inquiry into his car’s fuel consumption.

The Prime Minister’s ongoing controversy is about him renting his car to government, for his own use.

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