The Malta Independent 1 February 2023, Wednesday
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Updated: Prime Minister declares three properties, over €370,000 in savings in asset filings

Albert Galea Tuesday, 25 October 2022, 12:10 Last update: about 4 months ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela has declared in his asset filings that he owns three properties and has over 370,000 in savings in various bank accounts.

The declaration was made public after the Cabinet’s asset declarations for 2021 were tabled in Parliament on Monday prior to Clyde Caruana’s Budget speech.

Abela declared that he owned an apartment in Marsascala, a property in Zejtun – ostensibly the villa which has made headlines in recent months, and a property in Xewkija.

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The Zejtun property, a villa, was purchased by Abela and his wife Lydia in July 2017, just days after the Planning Authority sanctioned multiple illegalities on the site, at a price of €600,000.

The case was brought to the fore prior to March’s general election, as the illegalities were approved at time that Abela was the chief lawyer to the Planning Authority – but the Prime Minister denied exercising any influence over the authorities and said that the PA’s legal office was not involved in the matter.

He and his wife have since filed a planning application to demolish the current villa and replace it with another villa serviced by a garage and having a swimming pool and extensive landscaping.

In his asset filings, Abela said that he had a total of €376,404.43 in savings split across five bank accounts in three different banks.

His declared income is from his salary as Prime Minister – which amounts to €65,520.97 – and an unspecified income from property rental.

The richest person in Cabinet in monetary terms is Minister for Social Policy and Children’s Rights Michael Falzon, who declared having €618,401 in savings to his name.

Energy and Environment Minister Miriam Dalli declared having €423,851 in savings to her name, while Justice Minister Jonathan Attard – who was elected for the first time in March 2022 – declared having €363,872 to his name.

New Minister for Active Ageing Jo Etienne Abela – who also made it to Parliament for the first time last March – declared having just over €300,000 to his name, but didn’t declare owning any property.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana declared €185,483.35 to his name in a joint account with APS Bank, and his declared income was his ministerial salary and an additional €3,943 which he receives as a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Anton Refalo said that he had €11,224 deposited in the bank, but this is offset by his declaration of a raft of properties in his name.  All of them, save for two flats in Msida, are in Gozo, while some of them are listed as being inherited from his mother who passed away in 2017.

He declared an income of €159,745 in the previous year, indicating that he had received around €100,000 over above his ministerial salary in income. 

PL Whip Andy Ellul meanwhile declared owning half a residence in Madliena, an office block in Paola and – a novelty for these asset declarations – half ownership of a cabin cruiser.  He also declared holding 178,040 in savings.

Being that the declaration of assets covers 2021, it included filings by those who were not re-elected in the 2022 general election but then it also includes those who were newly elected last March as well.

This newsroom is informed that newly elected MPs don't need to declare their income from the previous year, since they weren't in office. This means that Jonathan Attard, Andy Ellul, Jo Etienne Abela, Alison Zerafa Civelli, Alicia Bugeja Said, Rebecca Buttigieg, Chris Bonett, and Keith Azzopardi Tanti did not declare what their income in 2021 was.

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