National Audit Office says Emeritus Judge’s pension was justified

DOI - Pierre Sammut

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The National Audit Office (NAO) concluded that the parliamentary pension paid to Emeritus Judge Philip Sciberras was regular and justified.

The Chairman of Alternattiva Demokratika  (AD) Carmel Cacopardo had asked the NAO to investigate the parliamentary pension which was paid to former Member of Parliament Dr Philip Scibberras. The request was made after allegations surfaced in the media that had said that the former Member of Parliament was receiving a parliamentary pension to which he was not entitled to and went against the advice given by the Treasury Deparment.

The NAO said that Sciberras had first been elected to Parliament in 1979 through a by-election and had served from 20th July 1979 until 9th November 1981. He was elected back to parliament in the subsequent election and served from 18th December 1981 until 13th Febuary 1987.

Parliamentary pension is regulated by the Act on the Pensions of the Members of Parliament which stipulates that the period in between legislatures is to be reckoned for pension purposes once a member of parliament is elected to Parliament in the following general election.

The NAO established that there was no condition at law that precludes the time served by a member of parliament elected through a by-election, for pension purposes.

After the documents were analysed which also included the advice from the Attorney General, the Verification Office agreed to what the Attorney General had declared, that is that the period during which the former MP had served should be considered as pensionable.

The Office verified the payments made to the former MP and confirmed that they were indeed regular. The pension due dated back to 2006, once the former MP turned 61.

With regards to the political interference allegations, the NAO said that no inconsistencies were found in the manner that this case was handled and no external pressure that may be construed as political interference was identified.