Labour MP’s law firm gets €130,000 in environment ministry direct order

Labour MP Robert Abela awarded a €130,000 direct order from José Herrera’s ministry

Labour MP Roberta Abela
Labour MP Roberta Abela

Abela Advocates, the law firm owned by Labour MP Robert Abela, has received €130,000 in a direct order issued by the environment ministry in 2019.

The data was revealed in a PQ tabled by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi.

Abela Advocates was paid €130,000 in a direct order for the provision of legal services for the Dairy Restructural Aid Animal Housing Scheme.

The law firm is run by MP Robert Abela, who also acts as a legal consultant to the Prime Minister, and his wife and Labour official, Lydia Abela.

This is not the first time that Abela’s firm benefits from Labour’s largesse when it comes to legal consultancies.

In 2017, Abela Advocates received €110,000 for legal services tendered to the Planning Authority (PA). The law firm received €168,000 in 2016, €110,000 in 2015 and €88,000 in 2014 in retainers from the PA, awarded by direct order.

In 2013, Abela Advocates had a three-year contract with the PA to provide legal services renewed. The firm was originally contracted to the PA in 2001, to take over the bulk of legal work when the PA’s own head of legal services Anthony De Gaetano, accused the authority of mishandling a domestic planning matter concerning his property, due to alleged political influence.

The PA paid the firm, then known as Abela, Stafrace & Associates – it included the PA’s future chief executive officer Ian Stafrace – a total of €1.23 million up until 2011 for handling its caseload. The firm was selected through an expression of interest.

The contract was extended into 2013, and then renewed again for the fee of €107,263 annually and €54.99 for each hour of “additional work”.

Abela also earned a total of €32,774 from the Tourism Ministry in exchange for consultancy services.

In 2014, Abela also earned €8,371.67, in 2015 he earned €10,057.16 and in 2016 he earned €14,345.39, all in exchange for ‘consultancy services’ to the Tourism Ministry.

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