Taxpayers footed the bill for three of Michelle Muscat's overseas trips

Taxpayers footed the bill for three of Michelle Muscat's overseas trips

Government says this also happened under previous legislations

Michelle Muscat does not hold any government role.

Michelle Muscat does not hold any government role.

The Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat, went on three trips overseas financed  by taxpayers last year, despite not holding any government role.

According to figures tabled in Parliament this week by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, in reply to a question by Nationalist MP Claudette Buttigieg, Ms Muscat travelled as part of government delegations on three occasions in 2017.

Ms Muscat accompanied her husband to the UK for the Commonwealth Week festivities, to New York for the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) as well as for a “meeting in Italy” followed by the Tallinn Digital Summit held in the Estonian capital.

The Prime Minister, his wife and three other government officials made up the delegation for the trip to the UK, with the visit costing taxpayers €3,657.

Delivered separate speeches related to her charity work at CHOGM and UNGA

For the second trip to New York, Dr Muscat and his wife travelled with three other officials, with the costs totalling €81,348.

The third trip, to Italy and Estonia, attended by the pair and four other aides, cost taxpayers €52,290.

Contacted about the overseas trips, a government spokesman told Times of Malta that on the three occasions, Ms Muscat was “invited as the Prime Minister’s wife” and attended the various spouses’ programmes together with the wives and husbands of other heads of state.

“Ms Muscat, as was the case with the spouses of previous Maltese prime ministers in similar occasions, had her flights and accommodation paid by the State,” the spokesman said.

“During CHOGM in the UK as well as UNGA in the US she also delivered separate speeches related to her charity work,” the spokesman added.

He did not, however, supply any details on how much the Prime Minister's wife's attendance on each trip cost the taxpayers.

Apart from the visits as the spouse of the Prime Minister, in December, taxpayers also footed the bill for Ms Muscat to fly to the Bahamas to collect an award for her philanthropic work.

The €2,500 air ticket to take Ms Muscat across the Atlantic was paid for by the government but no further costs were incurred on that trip, the spokesman said at the time.

Read: Taxpayers pick up tab to fly Michelle Muscat to Bahamas to collect award

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