One law firm has received a direct order from OPM

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A single law firm – Dalli Advocates – has benefited from a direct order from an entity falling under the responsibility of the Office of the Prime Minister since Robert Abela took office, according to information tabled in Parliament.

In a reply to a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, Abela confirmed that the firm had received a €2,970 direct order from the National Development and Social Fund, which was established to manage a proportion of funds received from the controversial sale of passports through the Individual Investor Programme.

The firm’s managing partner is Veronique Dalli, a sister to Labour MP Miriam Dalli, a former MEP who was co-opted to Parliament by Abela earlier in October.

The NSDF had issued far more lucrative direct orders under Abela’s disgraced predecessor Joseph Muscat. Camilleri Preziosi Advocates had received a €50,000 direct order in 2018 for legal services, and another one worth €26,769 for professional services.

Veronique Dalli and Labour MP Edward Zammit Lewis were also jointly granted a direct order worth €12,510 that year, though the latter renounced this consultancy when Muscat made him European Affairs Minister in 2019.

In his reply, Abela confirmed that another OPM entity – Servizz.gov – had granted direct orders to another law firm between 2017 and 2019.

SZA Law Firm – then headed by Labour MP Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi – was granted a direct order worth €289.10 in 2017, one worth €1,073.80 the following year and €3,510.50 in 2019.

Abela’s answer does leave out the prominent appointment of a legal consultant to Muscat: Abela himself. Abela provided legal services to Muscat and his Cabinet between June 2017 and January 2020, though he maintained that he received no payment for the role.