Muscat does u-turn on gift list

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will not publish the list of gifts of received during his time as a prime minister. In December, Muscat had said that he would publish the list of gifts received during his tenure, after it was revealed that he was a recipient of an expensive Bvlgari watch and three expensive bottles of wine from Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.

Days after stepping down as a prime minister, Muscat told the Sunday Times of Malta that he “had no intention” of publishing the list, despite having told the media that he would do so late last year.

Muscat told the paper that he had acted in line with the protocol and declined from commenting further.

On Christmas Eve, Lovin Malta had revealed that Caruana Galizia murder suspect, 17 Black owner and Electrogas director Yorgen Fenech gifted Muscat with the limited edition Bvlgari watch in December 2014. This had led to rule of law NGO Repubblika filing a police report denouncing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for alleged corruption, bribery and conflict of interest.

It was later revealed that Fenech was one of the guests at an exclusive birthday party for Muscat held at Girgenti, the Prime Minister’s summer residence, in February 2019. Fenech had gifted Muscat three bottles of Petrus wine. By this time, it was already known that Fenech was a person of interest in the murder investigation.

Muscat had said that he always acted in the right manner and when presented with expensive gifts he sent them back. He added that when it was not possible to do so he donated them to the state. During an interview on ONE radio while holidaying in Dubai, Muscat had claimed that previous prime ministers and governments had not left any gifts they had been given behind when they left office. “What I can say is that our predecessors left empty offices and residences.”

At the end of the year, Newsbook.com.mt had published the gift register dated 8th March 2013 in its entirety. The detailed information of the gifts received by Prime Ministers in the Partit Nazzjonalista led-administrations.

In a statement issued by the government then, it was declared that “it is not true that government found a register of gifts in 2013” while later on in the same statement the government refers to an inventory of gifts “from dignitaries who gave the gifts to the state”.