The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

Robert Abela says his law firm should retain right to bid for government work

Wednesday, 8 January 2020, 11:22 Last update: about 8 months ago

Robert Abela says he sees nothing wrong for his legal firm to continue to compete for government work even if he is elected Prime Minister.

In comments to MaltaToday, Abela – one of two contestants for the Labour leadership – has defended his firm’s right to continue bidding for government tenders.

Abela, runs the firm with his wife Lydia Abela, a lawyer and secretary of the PL executive, said he will resign if elected Labour leader and Prime Minister. But nobody should be denied the opportunity to work, he said.

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“No matter if companies are led by people who lean towards the Labour Party, or people who lean towards the Nationalist Party, the right to work is there for everyone,” he said. 

Abela said that the bottom line should be that no conflict of interest should be present, no matter who is in power.

Abela said his wife had every right to work. “My wife is a lawyer and she has every right to work,” Abela said, adding that the majority of work carried out by the firm was in the private sector.

Abela has been criticised for having benefitted from direct orders for legal services to public entities, including a contract with the Planning Authority since before Labour’s election to power in 2013. The contract has since been renewed by the PA every year.

Asked about this, Abela reiterated that he would be withdrawing from his position within the company, and would not be involved in any aspect of the decision-making process. “That is what responsibility dictates, and I am sure that I would not be doing anything which clashes with my political position,” Abela said.

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