Abela firm pocketed another €123,000 in PA direct orders on top of €17,000 retainer, Jason Azzopardi claims

Azzopardi suggests that Abela’s law firm earned more from other government entities, including ARMS and Air Malta

Robert Abela’s law firm received €123,000 in direct orders from the Planning Authority over and above the €17,000-per-month contract earned from the regulatory body, Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi claimed on Monday.

During his adjournment speech in parliament, Azzopardi claimed that Abela Advocates, the Prime Minister’s law firm, earned an average of €30,750 a year in direct orders issued by the PA, apart from the retainer contract.

The total breakdown, over and above the retainer, indicates that Abela earned €23,000 in 2015, €15,000 in 2016, €6,000 for translation services in 2016, €39,000 in 2018, and €40,000 in 2019.

Azzopardi suggested that Abela’s law firm earned more from other government entities, including ARMS, Air Malta, and the Environment Ministry.

“It’s no wonder that Robert Abela stands by former planning chief Johann Buttigieg,” he remarked.

The Times of Malta reported on Monday that Robert Abela’s law firm received almost €17,000 per month before Abela was made Prime Minister in 2020.

The contract was first awarded to Abela’s father, George Abela, in 2001 under the Nationalist Party when he was a partner with planning law expert Ian Stafrace.

When the contract expired in 2011, the PA opted to extend the contract by handing direct orders to Abela Advocates.

The contract was fixed at €7,376 a month between 2013 and 2015, and eventually increased to €12,292 when Abela Advocates began to represent the PA in Environment and Planning Review Tribunal appeals.

Between 2018 and 2019, the contract rose to €17,110.

Azzopardi added that Robert Abela was the only MP who failed to openly list his income throughout 2019 in his annual asset filings.

“Now we know why he was against our Bill last week, especially the unexplained wealth order,” Azzopardi quipped. 

He also mentioned that Robert Abela worked as a lawyer for former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, for Muscat’s cabinet, and for the Malta Developers Association, apart from working with other contractors.