Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech has insisted that a €120,000 severance package given to former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was unacceptable for any normal country.
Grech was reacting to a story published this morning in The Shift News about how the former Prime Minister received a one-time payment equivalent to two years of his salary upon leaving office.
Muscat was forced to resign in January 2020, after the arrest of the suspected mastermind in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia Yorgen Fenech.
Muscat was known to have enjoyed a close relationship with Fenech, and the subsequent fallout from the arrest revealed that efforts coordinated at the Office of the Prime Minister were underway to derail the investigation into the murder.
“For Robert Abela to give Joseph Muscat a €120,000 gift, and keep it secret after he was forced to resign – for the reasons that everyone is aware of – is not acceptable in a normal country.
“Robert Abela was Joseph Muscat’s and the Cabinet’s consultant and was aware of the biggest corruption stories which have taken place over the past eight years. Because his predecessor wanted continuity, he thanked him by giving him a present equivalent to six years’ wage for a normal worker,” Grech said in a Facebook post.
He accused the Labour Party of hypocrisy in pretending to be a government of the people while robbing them of millions as he claimed it had done with water and electricity bills.
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.
According to a document tabled in parliament in 2008, which includes the calculations for such benefits, Prime Ministers are entitled to a terminal benefit equivalent to a month’s salary for every year of service in the post.
The minimum possible benefit, according to the 2008 calculations, is six months’ salary, which in Muscat’s case would have been €56,880 and additional allowances.
An exercise by the Malta Independent in January 2020 had Muscat’s estimated package at around €135,000 over three years.
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