Michael Falzon receives from State coffers the equivalent of what he earned as parliamentary secretary before he resigned in connection with the Gaffarena scandal, figures show.

The Times of Malta reported last week that Dr Falzon was engaged as a legal consultant with the Grand Harbour Regeneration Project and was receiving a salary of €36,482. As an MP he is entitled to an honorarium amounting to €21,685. This means Dr Falzon has a total income of €58,167. As parliamentary secretary he earned €57,627.

Cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries do not get the MP honorarium when in office.

Meanwhile, Dr Falzon refuses to say whether the special arrangement he struck with Bank of Valletta for an early retirement is still in place. Following his appointment as a parliamentary secretary, he was given a €260,000 tax-free golden handshake by the bank where he worked in the legal office. He had been a bank employee for 30 years.

Dr Falzon has a total income of €58,167

Unlike what happened in the case of other employees, Dr Falzon had a special clause in his contract giving him the possibility to return as bank employee when the current legislature ended.

According to Bank of Valletta, should Dr Falzon have decided to return to the bank before the end of the legislature he would have to pay back a part of his ‘retirement package’. However, he would not have to pay anything back if he returns at the end of the legislature.

The bank had justified this special condition due to Dr Falzon’s appointment as parliamentary secretary. Asked last week whether the bank had revised this special arrangement once Dr Falzon was no longer a member of the Cabinet, Bank of Valletta did not reply.

Neither has Dr Falzon. Efforts to speak to him on the phone have proved futile and written questions remain unanswered.

Dr Falzon resigned in January after the National Audit Office concluded there was collusion between officials at the Government Property Department, Dr Falzon and Mark Gaffarena, who got €3.4 million in land and cash from the government for the expropriation of half a building in Valletta valued at about €900,000.

Dr Falzon has denied any wrongdoing and insists he never got involved in the deal.

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