Richard Cachia Caruana was paid the highest public sector salary of €38,000 as ambassador to the EU.
Labour's communications office has raised questions over the status of Richard Cachia Caruana, the outgoing permanent representative who is expected to receive a terminal benefit normally reserved for former ministers.
A less than satisfactory reply to Labour MP Leo Brincat's extensive parliamentary question on Cachia Caruana's remuneration on Wednesday, confirmed that the ambassador will receive a terminal benefit as well as a transitional facility for the next months, which is an allowance applicable to all ministers and the Opposition leader.
Cachia Caruana, who had to resign his post following a motion of censure passed by the Opposition and won by the support of a government MP, is paid the highest public sector salary of €38,000 plus 10 per cent, but receives no performance bonus.
"Can the Prime Minister explain which civil servant takes a terminal benefit and transitional facility," a Labour party spokesperson told MaltaToday. "This is proof that Cachia Caruana was not just any civil servant but is the equivalent of a minister. Labour is right when saying Cachia Caruana is accountable to the scrutiny of parliament, because he is not a civil servant like the others."
One of the main criticisms advanced by government against the motion that ousted Cachia Caruana was that parliament should not censure civil servants but demand political accountability only from ministers.
Cachia Caruana was however invited to sit in on Cabinet meetings by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, apart from being one of the PN's chief party strategists.
Civil servants on scales higher than the public service's grade 5 are precluded from being involved in political life. According to the Public Administration Act any activity in the political arena "is not considered compatible with certain roles in the public service."
Labour MP Leo Brincat has demanded that foreign minister Tonio Borg reveals what global emoluments and allowances are paid to Cachia Caruana, what these amounts where for 2011 as well as to table the foreign ministry's 'Forms 1' from 2007 onwards which detail the expenses of each ambassador.
Borg did not provide Brincat with a copy of the contract of service for Cachia Caruana, and any amendments to the contract, whether his salary was adjusted in the past six years, any arrears he received, and whether he is paid other remunerations for his role as head of the EU secretariat.
Borg referred Brincat to previous PQs which tag Cachia Caruana's salary to the highest civil service scale.