[WATCH] Foreign minister doesn't outrightly deny that work on Zejtun home wasn't done on government time

Carmelo Abela said he gave no instructions for work on his home to be done during government workers' normal hours

Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela
Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela

Foreign Affairs minister Carmelo Abela has denied ever giving orders to government workers to install a verdana in his Zejtun home during their normal working hours, but he stopped short of saying such work definitely didn't happen at such times.

Asked whether he categorically denied that the work was done when the workers were supposed to be undertaking their government duties, Abela said that as far as he knew, the structure was installed on a Saturday "which is not a normal workday for this particular worker."

The Sunday Times reported last week that Abela had in 2015, when he was interior minister, had a private rooftop veranda built and installed by ministry workers.  In a statement yesterday, the Nationalist Party described the works as a clear abuse of power by the minister and called on him to resign.

"I gave no instructions for work to be done during normal working hours and didn't force anyone to do the work," Abela said. "They were paid for their work, including for the material used."

Some workers chose to do extra work outside of their normal hours, he maintained.

Opposition leader asks for ministerial statement

Opposition leader Adrian Delia asked Abela in Parliament, this evening, whether he was going to issue a ministerial statement regarding the reports, but Speaker Anglu Farrugia said he couldn't order the Minister to do so.

Delia later tweeted that public funds should be used to eradicate poverty, improve infrastructure and invest in young people, asking why Abela had nothing to add to the accusations against him.

The minister did not directly specify who had requested the work, but said that the only other people living in his home were his wife and children.

While he confirmed that he had receipts for his payment to the workers, he did not say whether he would publish them or not.

More in National