Robert Abela’s latest tax returns are not yet available for inspection, making it impossible to verify his income for last year.

The prime minister in April failed to transparently declare his income in annual asset filings made by all cabinet members. Instead, Abela simply wrote his income was “as per 2020 tax returns”.

No figure was mentioned and the tax returns were not attached to Abela’s asset declaration.

An extension of the deadline for filing income tax returns means MPs’ tax statements will now not be available to Times of Malta and other media until the end of the month.

Media editors are allowed to request MPs’ tax returns from parliament, in what is usually a lengthy process that can take weeks or months.

He owns an apartment, garage in Marsascala, a property in Xewkija and another in Żejtun

A request to the Office of the Prime Minister to state Abela’s 2020 earnings was ignored last month.

PM's asset filings

According to Abela’s asset filings, the prime minister owns an apartment and garage in Marsascala, a property in Xewkija and another property in Żejtun. He also holds shares in HSBC, bonds with Hili Properties and government stocks.

The prime minister has deposits totalling €331,000 held in five local accounts. Abela did not indicate if these deposits were his own or included those of his wife.

Standards Commissioner George Hyzler last year proposed tightening up the code of ethics governing the asset filings by ministers and parliamentary secretaries.

The proposals included recording assets and other interests in a register of interests annually and within 28 days from a change of circumstances.

Hyzler has proposed that ministers record all relevant communications with lobbyists in a transparency register.

His proposals also include a ban on the acceptance of gifts, benefits and hospitality for themselves or family members, except in certain circumstances permitted by guidelines issued by the standards commissioner.

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