The office of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat doubled its spending on public relations (PR) consultancies in the two years following the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Figures tabled by Prime Minister Robert Abela following a parliamentary question by MP Jason Azzopardi, have revealed that spending on public relations and communications consultants jumped up from €124,917 in 2017, the year of Caruana Galizia’s murder and a general election, to €234,636 in 2019, the year Muscat was forced to resign after the arrests of Yorgen Fenech.
The amount spent in 2019, which saw Muscat’s government collapse amid the political crisis, was the most spent under his tenure.
That figure has already dropped back to pre-2017 levels in Muscat’s absence with the Office of Prime Minister Abela spending €126,936 on these services in 2020.
In total, the government spent roughly €450,000 between 2017 and 2019, which amounts to almost half the spending over a nine-year period between 2013 and 2021.
It should be noted that the numbers are not a breakdown of which PR and communication consultants OPM used and the work they did.
However, it has been revealed in a public inquiry linked to the assassination that OPM hired UK-based PR firm Chelgate to handle the fallout of the assassination.
Former OPM communications chief Kurt Farrugia has confirmed that the government used Chelgate to handle queries from foreign media.
You can see the figures spent on PR consultancies between 2013 and 2021 below:
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