Council of Europe calls on government to ‘fully address’ recommendations from Caruana Galizia public inquiry

"Deeply rooted political and social polarisation in Malta... which endangers the functioning of its democratic institutions"

 

A report from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called upon Maltese authorities to “to continue their work and efforts and fully address the concerns and recommendations” expressed in the public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The report, PACE’s most recent exercise monitoring Malta’s honouring of its membership obligations with the Council of Europe (COE),presented the groundwork for a formal resolution which was “unanimously adopted” and approved on Thursday. It noted how in recent years, Maltese society has been “rocked by a number of crises – most notably the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia”.

The Assembly’s report on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination, as well as the opinion of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) “laid bare a systemic malfunctioning of democratic and rule of law institutions, and were a watershed moment for the country,” the resolution says.

The Committee acknowledged that Maltese authorities have initiated reforms. However, “while these reforms constitute marked progress, they only partially address the concerns and shortcomings that were noted”. A comprehensive and holistic reform of Malta’s democratic institutions and a system of checks and balances is still “urgently needed,” it said.

“This is all the more important in the context of the deeply rooted political and social polarisation in Malta, which permeates nearly all aspects of the Maltese society and endangers the functioning of its democratic institutions,” the report says.

 

A different tone

In a visibly different tone to that adopted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) earlier in June, the COE said that a key concern for the Assembly is the “continuing vulnerability of Malta’s public sector to corruption”.

Although there is a “high perception of corruption”, there has been “little visible response, and a coherent overall strategy to prevent corruption in public institutions is lacking. This has created a culture of impunity,” the COE said.

“Overcoming this culture of impunity and institutional omerta is one of the key challenges facing the Maltese society and its democratic institutions and should be addressed as a matter of utmost priority”.

One of the ways to overcome it, PACE suggested, is to tackle the “structural lack” of implementation and enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act “that renders this law ineffective,” and which “needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency”.

Among other points, the Assembly said that it is concerned about the perceived vulnerability to corruption and money laundering of Malta’s “citizenship by investment programme,” and called on Malta to abolish the programme.

The observations noted by the COE’s report contrast strongly with those noted by the FATF, who, at a press conference announcing Malta’s official removal from their grey list earlier in June said they had a “successful on-site visit (to Malta) in April” and that the country “is now better placed to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing” after Malta “completed its action plan”. This was not mentioned in the report by COE.

With regards to weak financial intelligence and how that affects law enforcement efforts, the FATF’s president had said Malta “enhanced the use of financial intelligence to combat money laundering linked to tax crimes”.

Need for a full-time parliament reiterated

The parliamentarians said they welcomed the efforts by the Maltese authorities, however, further reforms are still necessary “in particular with regard to its institutional checks and balances, and fight against corruption”.

The required changes include a far-reaching reform of parliament, with a view to establishing a full-time parliament, the report says. This is not the first time that it has been recommended for Malta to change its parliament from part-time to full-time. The Venice Commission had also recommended making MPs full time parliamentary employees.

According to the advice given by the COE on Thursday, having a part-time parliament undermines the capacity to provide proper parliamentary oversight over the executive, and the need for members of parliament to have secondary employment “increases the vulnerability of the parliament to corruption and conflicts of interest”.

The report also looks at the vulnerability of Malta’s political and democratic institutions to conflicts of interests and corruption and makes a number of recommendations in this respect.

It concludes that the Assembly should continue to follow developments in the country.

                           
                               
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viv
viv
1 month ago

Clearly the government put its efforts into gratifying the financial above the democratic.

Albert Beliard
Albert Beliard
1 month ago

The observations noted by the COE’s report contrast strongly with those noted by the FATF, who, at a press conference announcing Malta’s official removal from their grey list earlier in June said they had a “successful on-site visit (to Malta) in April” and that the country “is now better placed to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing” after Malta “completed its action plan”. This was not mentioned in the report by COE.

With regards to weak financial intelligence and how that affects law enforcement efforts, the FATF’s president had said Malta “enhanced the use of financial intelligence to combat money laundering linked to tax crimes”.

Unfortunately, the comments from the FATF are nonsense putting more fuel to the fire.

Although many readers are still confused what is actually occurring with these different scandals; basically, there is a grand conspiracy occurring in trying to bury the tragedy with Pilatus Bank that involves very serious sanctions evasion violations against the Iranian regime which is the reason for the two different reports and observations between the FATF and COE.

Lycas
Lycas
1 month ago

from this we understand that even the courts in Malta are corrupt and the law does not exist, after 4 years still no sentence,they take time to make people forget, I hope this doesn’t happen.
Consequently to save these corrupt politicians they are bringing Malta to total disaster, making everyone flee this island.

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