Finance Minister Edward Scicluna would not be drawn on whether disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi would refund his earnings under the controversial €80,000-a-year consultancy contract secretly awarded to him last month when pressed about the matter in parliament this afternoon.
Yesterday evening, The Times revealed that Dr Mizzi was appointed as a consultant to the Malta Tourism Authority last month, just two weeks after he stepped down as Tourism Minister. Prof. Scicluna had been asked a parliamentary question by Chris Said concerning a roadworks tender, when opposition MP Ryan Callus seized on the opportunity to ask about the contract.
Mr Callus said that according to his calculations, Dr Mizzi had already earned some €10,700 as a result of the “obscene” contract, before asking whether the former minister would be asked to refund these proceeds.
Speaker Anġlu Farrugia stressed that the supplementary question had nothing to do with Dr Said’s original question, before adding that the minister could nevertheless choose to reply if he saw fit.
But Prof. Scicluna simply said that he agreed with the position of the Prime Minister as expressed in a press release issued earlier today. Through the press release, the government had pledged to seek legal advice on the validity of the contract awarded to Dr Mizzi.
At the end of question time, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia asked whether there would be a ministerial statement on the matter, stating that he wanted to know whether the incumbent Tourism Minister – Julia Farrugia-Portelli – had known about the contract and if so when she was informed about it. He also said that the public deserved to know the minister responsible for authorising the appointment of Dr Mizzi.
However, government whip Glenn Bedingfield said that no statement would be delivered, referring, as Prof. Scicluna had done, to the public statements made.