‘I’m not bothered with the opposition to me’ – Standards Commissioner nominee

Former Chief justice Joe Azzopardi insists: ‘It’s a lie that I’m not efficient’

 

Former Chief Justice Joe Azzopardi, the person Prime Minister Robert Abela is insisting on as the new Commissioner for Standards in Public Life despite the Opposition’s steadfast objections, has told The Shift he is not concerned that almost half of Parliament opposes his nomination.

Speaking to The Shift on Monday, the former Chief Justice said, “In the past, there were Presidents of Malta who were elected with a simple majority. I don’t see any issue if this also happens in my regard. All that matters is that once I take my oath of office, I follow to the letter what is expected of me.”

Asked whether he would accept the nomination without consensus in the House, Azzopardi insisted that “if elected according to the law, then I will accept to carry out the job”.

Azzopardi, however, stressed the only thing bothering him about the ongoing controversy over his nomination was his being described as “inefficient”.

“It is a complete lie that I am not efficient. In my 17 years as a Judge, I decided 3,713 cases. That is quite a record,” he stressed.

“It is also a lie that the number of appeals increased when I was Chief Justice. This is not true, as during my tenure, the Court of Appeal was the most efficient court in many years. So, whoever is saying that I’m not efficient is wrong and is lying.

“In this whole debate, I really cannot understand why the Opposition is ready to accept me as an Ombudsman but not as Standards Commissioner,” Azzopardi remarked in a dig at the Nationalist Party, whose MPs will also be subject to his scrutiny should his nomination go through.

According to the current Standards Commissioner law, the person nominated to the position is to be appointed by a two-thirds vote in Parliament.

However, in a twist being deemed as anti-democratic, Prime Minister Abela is now proposing to change the law to allow for a simple majority vote, which is always won by the government, if two-thirds of MPs are unable to agree on the nomination on the first two attempts.

This would effectively pave the way for Azzopardi – a former Labour Party election candidate – to be installed as Standards Commissioner.

Asked whether he had reached some deal with the Prime Minister over the appointment, Azzopardi said, “The only deal I ever made in my life is with my wife.”

Azzopardi, who spent less than two years as Chief Justice, is known for his ‘don’t rock the boat’ approach.

The government increased Judges’ retirement age from 65 to 68 after Azzopardi’s retirement, and he was later handpicked by the government to handle a number of potentially embarrassing inquiries.

Azzopardi’s role will be to investigate complaints against Abela’s Cabinet members, and the job comes with a financial package of over €100,000, plus perks.  This will top the pension he already enjoys as a former Chief Justice, which, unlike other pensions, is uncapped and pegged at two-thirds of the sitting Chief Justice’s salary.

The PN, which has opposed Azzopardi’s nomination from day one, has proposed three nominees for the post, including a former Labour speaker, as alternatives. They have all, however, been rejected by the Prime Minister.

                           
                           
                               
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Greed
Greed
18 days ago

I’m not bothered who is against as long as I can get aboard the gravy train eh?

Michael Satariano
Michael Satariano
18 days ago

“All that matters is that once I take my oath of office, I follow to the letter what is expected of me.” – Thanks is the problem Innit?

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
16 days ago

Which letter I ask? The one sent by the Prime Minister prompting the decision!

makjavel
makjavel
18 days ago

It is not one’s own prerogative to decide one’s competence .
This is Self Accreditation of the worst type.
He has just confirmed his ” Not Fit for the Post” state.
Certainly no Wisdom and even less Humility.
Does he consider himself also Infallible , by chance.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
18 days ago
Reply to  makjavel

I think there’s quite a difference between self-confidence and self-praise.

Not to mention the age-old maxim ‘Nemo judex in causa propria’.

Manuel Mangani
Manuel Mangani
17 days ago
Reply to  makjavel

Do you expect people to sit back passively and not react when a blatant lie is uttered about them?

Shame on the PN for resorting to calumnies to score political brownie points.

carlos
carlos
18 days ago

 himself a former Labour Party election candidate –
that’s enough to make you UNFIT FOR PURPOSE.

Francis Said
Francis Said
18 days ago
Reply to  carlos

Carlos you are perfectly right in your statement. How can he former Chief Justice be impartial in his investigations and conclusions.
Whether he was deemed up to standard during his time as Justice and Chief Justice is not for us to comment on.
If he is elected by simple majority he should decline. His position should be based on the consensus of both parties. That should be his honourable decision.

Raymond Gerada
Raymond Gerada
18 days ago

Well said former Chief Judge.

Joseph
Joseph
18 days ago

Of course he’s not bothered, you have to have morals to bother about anything!

viv
viv
18 days ago

Starting off on the wrong foot already.

Paul Henry Berman
Paul Henry Berman
18 days ago

Got to be the least caring justice system in Western Europe, the worse the crime the longer it takes and these people are actually responsible for some of the murders that took place due to the time delays and not caring about bail requirements. Would be really good if they could be held accountable but that will never happen, they are suppose to serve the population, not rob them.

Carmelo Borg
Carmelo Borg
17 days ago

Li kieku Dan mhux imgenen biex ikompli jaql lira (rejba) kieku minnu biex inzomm I’d dekor ma naccettax la ma GHANDHUX il maggoranza tal parlament. Sewwa jghadu li il flus jaghmu lil kullhadd

Michael Borg
17 days ago

”In this whole debate, I really cannot understand why the Opposition is ready to accept me as an Ombudsman but not as Standards Commissioner,”
If Azzopardi cannot understand the difference between the two positions, and their potential impact on The Rule of Law, THEN HE IS REALLY NOT COMPETENT FOR THE POSITION THAT HE IS BEING TRUST INTO BY ABELA.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
17 days ago

You must have Standards to bother.

Martin Christopher
Martin Christopher
16 days ago

Your reputation is hugely tainted, Azzopardi. If the duplicitous Abela forges some dubious hatch to let you in, you’re doomed to fail anyway. Fact is – you have already failed because the Standards Commissioner is meant to serve the citizenry not a bigoted, blundering buffoon.

Last edited 16 days ago by Martin Christopher

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