Former tourism minister Edward Zammit Lewis, who lost his Cabinet post after failing to make it to Parliament at the last general election, is getting paid €100 an hour by Identity Malta – a government agency – for consultancy services.
According to a contract given to him by direct order in April, the former minister has been engaged to give the agency, which falls under the political wing of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, “legal consultancy for Identity Malta reform”.
Dr Zammit Lewis, a lawyer by profession, is being paid “€100 per hour excluding VAT for a maximum of 10 hours a week” according to the six-month contract, which can be extended. The Labour MP may also agree to be paid more than the rate set for “specifically defined projects”.
“In such a case, the fee and payment schedule will be set forth to you or in a separate agreement or addendum to this letter,” Dr Zammit Lewis was told in his engagement letter.
Was already paid another €26,000
All costs, including expenses related to travel and lodging expenses which the MP may make due of his assignment, are also to be forked out of taxpayer money upon the presentation of bills to the agency by the MP.
It is not known what type of reform Dr Zammit Lewis is working on and under whose direction. A reform was announced just a few days after Dr Zammit Lewis's appointment even though the agency was only set up in 2013, when its responsibilities included the controversial sale of passports.
The agency has since been split into three entities. While Identity Malta has kept its responsibilities for the issue of passports, identity cards and other issues related to citizenship, the processing of applications for the sale of passports to millionaires was transferred to a new IIP agency headed by Jonathan Cardona as CEO.
A third entity, called Malta Residence and Visa Agency was also set up.
It is not known if Dr Zammit Lewis’s consultancy is related to these changes.
Although the €100 an hour contract came into effect in April 2018, the Labour MP was already paid another €26,000 from Identity Malta for “professional legal consultancy fees”.
According to The Government Gazette, the procurement of Dr Zammit Lewis’s professional services in 2017, soon after the June elections was also made through a direct order.