Scicluna hits out at predecessor’s €112,000 entertainment spend in 2009

Finance ministry spent €112,766 on meals and parties in 2009 • Edward Scicluna lashes out at PN administration’s ‘lax attitude’ towards public funds • Former PN minister Tonio Fenech hits out at Scicluna for insinuating that his former ministry had abused public funds

The finance ministry spent a whopping €112,766 on meals and parties in 2009 alone, information tabled by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna in parliament shows.

Under Tonio Fenech, the finance ministry also spent €92,248 on similar expenses in 2008, €45,834 in 2010, €19,430 in 2011, and €22,345 in 2012, €19,430 in 2011.

However, the information tabled by Scicluna at the request of Labour MP Anthony Agius Decelis indicates that the ministry’s expenditure on parties and meals has declined significantly following the change in government. Indeed, it only spent €2,928 last year, €7,702 in 2014 and €14,310 in 2013.

“The previous administration had operated under the assumption that money was no problem, while the current one is far more careful on the way it spends public funds,” Scicluna said, at which Opposition MPs invoked the Café Premier and Gaffarena expropriation scandals.

Opposition MP Censu Galea challenged Scicluna to claim outright that the finance ministry under the previous Nationalist administration abused public funds on meals and parties.

However, the minister was coy in his response, arguing “that it would depend on the MP’s definition of abuse”.

During question time at the evening parliamentary debate, Tonio Fenech accused Scicluna for insinuating that his former ministry had in any way abused public funds.

The finance minister retorted that he never made such claims and reiterated that “it all depends on one’s definition of abuse”.

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