Muscat’s severance package – which his Cabinet changed – a state secret

The severance package Joseph Muscat is benefiting from after resigning from Prime Minister is effectively a state secret, with his successor Robert Abela stating its details cannot be published.

Abela’s replies to a number of related parliamentary questions by PN MP David Thake also reveal that the Muscat Cabinet had itself changed the terms of the package which departing Prime Ministers receive before his resignation, announced last December but effective the following month.

Last week, Abela had said that the termination package afforded to Prime Ministers were based on a scheme which was originally introduced in 2004. This, however, was amended in 2018 and 2019, when Muscat was Prime Minister.

He also added that through another scheme, originally introduced in 1995 but amended in 2013, former Prime Ministers are entitled to a personal assistant and a driver. Abela does not clarify whether this was amended under Muscat or his predecessor Lawrence Gonzi.

This answer, perhaps predictably, led Thake to ask Abela to provide the details of the scheme he was referring to, and to highlight the changes that took place over the years.

But Abela said that Thake was effectively asking for a Cabinet document, and citing the Freedom of Information Act, said that this could not be published.