Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has insisted that his severance package after stepping down from office was no different from that received by others before him.
Muscat was responding to a report published in The Shift News this morning which revealed that the former prime minister had received a package amounting to roughly €120,000. The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the website.
The payment is understood to fall under a “Terminal and Transition Benefit” scheme introduced by a Nationalist government in 2004. It was approved by the Cabinet at the time, though the details of the scheme were never made public.
The scheme covers the payment of benefits to former Prime Ministers and Cabinet members, as well as leaders of the Opposition.
In a Facebook post this afternoon, Muscat said he had requested a copy of the information given to The Shift given that it related to him, and accused the website of failing to publish all the information it had been given.
Muscat said that he had received a lump sum of just over €120,000, on which he paid €41,633 in tax. He said that he had renounced all transitional allowances for his time as leader of the Opposition and then Prime Minister between 2008 and 2020.
Muscat referred to an exercise carried out The Malta Independent shortly after Muscat had resigned, which had estimated his severance package to be somewhere in the region of €135,000 over three years.
Muscat pointed to the fact that former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had received €72,901.65 and €8,737.30 in transitional allowances after stepping down, while former Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil received €23,371 for his four years as Opposition leader.
Muscat also pointed out that former permanent representative to the EU Richard Cachia Caruana had received a total of €255,933.87 after stepping down.
“It was also said that I continued to receive my honoraria as a member of parliament after I resigned. I confirm that this was the case and that I was treated in the same way Lawrence Gonzi was treated after he stepped down and remained an MP, and as Simon Busuttil was,” Muscat said.
“There is nothing secret about any of this, so much so that I submitted my declaration of assets to parliament despite the fact that I am no longer a member.”
Earlier this year the Times of Malta reported that Muscat’s declared bank account balance had shot up to €191,000 after his resignation.
He had told the Times that the increase was down to income from inheritance and the severance package he received after stepping down.
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