He arrived in Malta on a small trawler on Friday, but his presence was kept secret, the ministry said.
Shatwan also served as industry minister and was chairman of a Libya-Malta bilateral commission before leaving the Libyan government in 2007.
Malta has been sending limited humanitarian aid to Misrata, Libya’s third city, on trawlers, but this was the first confirmation that any Libyan had used the boats to escape.
Before the start of a popular uprising against its leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya accounted for around 2 percent of world oil output. Reuters