The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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Diplomatic passport was part of Joseph Muscat’s Prime Minister severance package

Marc Galdes Tuesday, 14 March 2023, 17:59 Last update: about 2 years ago

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was allowed to retain his diplomatic passport under the terms of the severance package which he received when he resigned from the post of Prime Minister.

Abela said that the termination package involves a "diplomatic passport and other protocol facilities."

This information emerged when Prime Minister Robert Abela answered a parliamentary question filed by PN MP Graham Bencini. Bencini asked Abela for the details of the severance package.

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When responding to the question, Abela said that there have been instances where terminal benefits and other benefits are paid on a personal basis. He gave the example of Former Permanent Representative of Malta to the European Union Richard Cachia Caruana, who Abela said was paid a total of €255,933.87 as part of his terminal benefits, made up of a one-time payment, a three-month notice period payment and unpaid vacation leave. This, Abela said, was after Cachia Caruana lost the trust of Parliament.

Abela also said that the benefits for ex-prime ministers when ending their role were introduced through schemes dating back years, which were amended over time.

As part of his severance package, Muscat had received a one-time payment of €120,000 which was granted to him as part of the Terminal and Transitional Benefit scheme, which was introduced by a Nationalist government in 2004.

All Prime Ministers, Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and Opposition Leaders are entitled to this benefit upon termination of their employment.

Muscat had confirmed the payment when it was revealed by the media and said that he had renounced other transitional allowances he was entitled to. He also said he had paid €41,633 in tax, and that therefore the remaining balance was €78,495.40.

It was later also revealed that Muscat's office in Sa' Maison is also part of his termination package.

The exact terms of the termination have not been revealed, with media questions and Freedom of Information requests seeking the documents being refused.

Other benefits mentioned by Abela for Muscat, included a car and a chauffeur, two landlines and an internet system, a computer or laptop with a printer or scanner, a mobile phone with €2,330 worth of calls, a copy of the government gazette, an office and a second car.

Last week, through a parliamentary question, it was revealed that the second car was being used by Muscat's wife.

Muscat resigned in disgrace in December 2019, with the country seeing street protests after the arrest of Yorgen Fenech.


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