Joseph Muscat’s consultancy to the head of the construction lobby is "his own prerogative," Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Wednesday.
Fielding questions, Abela said that once Muscat is no longer in public life, he would not get involved in his private life.
“What Michael Stivala and Joseph Muscat do in their private life is their own prerogative,” Abela said.
He was reacting to a Times of Malta report that Michael Stivala, whose group owns a multi-million-euro hotel and property group, put Muscat on his payroll the same year the former prime minister stepped down.
The payments were transferred to Muscat as part of a “consultancy” agreement with Stivala’s group.
Stivala is the president of the Malta Developers Association and his companies benefited from numerous controversial decisions by Muscat’s government.
Stivala has confirmed that Muscat has given services as a consultant, “from an economic point of view”.
On his part, Muscat declined to comment on his “private practice”, but nonetheless sarcastically “thanked” Times of Malta for “continuously advertising” it.
Muscat’s home was searched by police in January over suspicions that another consultancy agreement he entered soon after leaving office could be a cover for corruption.
Times of Malta last year revealed how Muscat received €60,000 from Swiss company Accutor, which is linked to the Vitals/Steward, who were controversially awarded a public hospitals management agreement by the Muscat government.
The money was transferred to Muscat under the cover of what investigators believe could have been a fictitious consultancy agreement to justify the payments.
Muscat denies any wrongdoing and has yet to face any prosecution.
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