Finance Minister Edward Scicluna mistakenly ‘promoted’ Cyrus Engerer to ambassador in official correspondence with the European Parliament’s Panama Papers (PANA) committee.
Mr Engerer, anointed a “soldier of steel” by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, was given the specially created role of Special Envoy to the EU shortly after pulling out of the 2014 MEP elections. His withdrawal came after he was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence in connection with the distribution of pornography.
Prof. Scicluna informed the PANA committee in writing last week that, despite turning down a committee invitation to testify on January 26, he would be cooperating fully with the committee during its visit to Malta later this month.
“This information was also transmitted to you yesterday in separate e-mails sent to you by Ambassador Cyrus Engerer,” Prof. Scicluna said in his letter to PANA chairman Werner Langen.
Asked whether Mr Engerer had been given a new role, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said his designation was still Special Envoy to the EU.
Although he missed out on an ambassadorship, Mr Engerer still enjoys an ambassadorial salary grade, which entitles him to a package of about €85,000 a year.
According to the salary structure for government overseas employees, apart from receiving a basic salary of €35,000, Mr Engerer is also entitled to about €50,000 in annual allowances.
According to information supplied in Parliament by the Prime Minister, Mr Engerer’s responsibilities include coordinating with Malta’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Marlene Bonnici, and other Brussels staff about heads of government meetings attended by Joseph Muscat.
Mr Engerer is also tasked with coordinating with European institutions on “themes of interest to the Prime Minister” and assisting the Prime Minister during his meetings in the EU.
As special envoy, Mr Engerer, together with Ms Bonnici, prepares Dr Muscat’s agenda for his meetings with EU institutions and follows up the minutes of the meetings.
Dr Muscat said his special envoy also coordinated issues relating to legal proceedings against Malta at a political level.
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