Malta’s ranking reached an all-time low in Transparency International’s (TI) annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) published today, with the country scoring 51 out of a total score of 100.
The country’s standing is continuously declining, dropping nine points since 2015. It is among 10 countries that have registered their lowest-ever score.
The report’s overall assessment reveals how 124 countries have stagnant corruption levels while the number of countries in decline is increasing.
The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to 13 expert assessments. On the scale, 100 is very clean, and 0 is highly corrupt.
Malta records its lowest score
The report notes how in Malta, the recommendations from the public inquiry into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have yet to be implemented.
This is coupled with continued concerns for media freedom, political interference in public media, and the fight against organised crime.
Additionally, the report reiterates that a “state of impunity persists with no convictions in cases of high-level corruption”, and more needs to be done to ensure greater independence and resourcing of the Maltese justice system to uphold the rule of law.
Commenting on Malta’s latest standing in the Index, a spokesperson for the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, which is Transparency International’s official contact point for Malta, told The Shift:
“Malta’s historic low score in Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perception Index is disappointing but not surprising, and a clear indication that the State is failing to address corruption and impunity.”
The Foundation underscored the fact that “18 months after the closure of the public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination, the problems it identified that enabled her murder have not been properly addressed, let alone eliminated”.
“The perception that Malta tolerates corruption will persist as long as the State fails to secure convictions for high-level corruption. For that to happen, at the very least, high-level corruption must be prosecuted,” the Foundation added.
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation is not involved in the Index’s compilation.
The situation in Western Europe and the EU
Although Western Europe and the European Union (EU) are once again the top-scoring regions in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), progress has stagnated in most countries.
The report underscores how “the region is at a crossroads. To overcome the current crises and deliver progress for the people, decision-makers need to go beyond piecemeal anti-corruption measures”.
Only six of the 31 countries in the region have improved their scores, while seven have declined. The top scorers in 2022 were Denmark (CPI score: 90), Finland (87) and Norway (84).
Conversely, the worst performers were again Romania (46), Bulgaria (43) and Hungary (42). Ten countries have recorded their lowest-ever scores, including Malta (51) and the United Kingdom (73).
The weak enforcement and slow implementation of anti-corruption measures and threats to the rule of law are some elements that have affected a country’s ranking.
Even those countries that registered improvements, such as the Czech Republic (56) and Ireland (77), these improvements were overshadowed by limits to the checks to power.
Those EU countries that have neglected or rolled back anti-corruption measures, weakened formal institutions and restricted media freedom continue to slide downwards in this year’s CPI. Poland and Hungary remain the two member states that have garnered the most scrutiny, but the report notes that across the bloc, the erosion of the rule of law remains a growing concern.
Corruption and increased security threats
The CPI report found that despite concerted efforts and many hard-won gains, the 2022 report shows that the global scale of corruption is enormous, with an overall unchanged average score of 43 out of 100 for the eleventh year running.
Denmark (90) tops the Index this year, with Finland and New Zealand coming next with 87.
Strong democratic institutions and regard for human rights make these countries some of the most peaceful in the world. At the same time, South Sudan (13), Syria (13) and Somalia (12), all of which are embroiled in prolonged conflict, remain at the bottom of the Index.
As the world continues to grapple with several uncertainties, fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and increasing security threats, countries that fail to address their corruption problems exacerbate these effects.
Transparency International’s analysis shows that countries with high CPI scores are more resilient to the threats posed by organised criminal groups. At the same time, in those where impunity is fuelled by corruption, state legitimacy has been undermined.
By negatively affecting the operation of law enforcement agencies, the courts and the prison system, corruption weakens the rule of law and the basic principle of equality before the law.
Moreover, criminals are often aided by the complicity of corrupt public officials, police officers, prosecutors and judges, which allows them to operate with impunity.
Addressing the link between corruption and security, Transparency International’s Chair Delia Ferreira Rubio said, “Corruption has made our world a more dangerous place.”
“As governments have collectively failed to make progress against it, they fuel the current rise in violence and conflict – and endanger people everywhere. The only way out is for states to do the hard work, rooting out corruption at all levels to ensure governments work for all people, not just an elite few,” she added.
Transparency International’s full report and regional analyses can be found here.
Hard evidence shows how the Muscat/Abela gang is screwing Malta in the backside.
But Labour hangers on are being told what Ursula von der Leyen has said about Malta’s progress . The EU is being fed false information about Malta. Roberta Metsola needs to make sure what is getting past her office.