The ADPD – The Green Party has demanded better transparency from the government, saying that hidden information “leads to bad governance and inevitably undermines accountability.
“Lack of transparency threatens democracy itself,” the party said at a press conference it convened in front of the National Audit Office in Floriana on Saturday.
ADPD cited The Shift’s revelations of Rosianne Cutajar’s consultancy contract with the Institute of Tourism Studies, which was only made public following a freedom of information request, as the latest example of government secrecy.
ADPD once again called on Auditor General Charles Deguara to investigate whether public funds had been abused of.
The party pointed out that since it was not public domain, it was only thanks to The Shift’s publication of the contract that the general public learned of its details, calling it “only one example of many that have been uncovered thanks to investigative journalism by Shift News.”
On 23 March, The Shift published a contract showing that former labour MP Rosianne Cutajar entered a consultancy role with ‘super-CEO’ Pierre Fenech at ITS, following the leak of WhatsApp chats between Cutajar and alleged Daphne Caruana Galizia murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech by Author Mark Camilleri.
The contract was dated several months before Cutajar ever mentioned considering the job to Fenech, leading to questions on whether the contract was backdated for financial gain.
The Auditor General was also requested to investigate “golden handshake” agreements with outgoing cabinet members, with the ADPD saying “There is no transparency on such payments, decisions appear to be made directly by Cabinet”, calling for “clear and established criteria” in this regard.
Cutajar has been afforded an extensive severance package following her resignation as parliamentary secretary following allegations of financial misconduct connected to a property deal she brokered for Fenech. As part of the package, she was offered €28,000 in termination benefits and given a €10,000 per annum position as Chair of the Parliament’s Health Committee.
The Shift has also carried out extensive investigations into the exorbitant severance package agreements which disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat enjoys to this day. The benefits include a personal assistant and the retention of a diplomatic passport, the use of state-owned offices at Sa Maison, along with a car and chauffeur for Muscat’s wife Michelle.
ADPD President Carmel Cacopardo concluded that they “will continue to demand full transparency in the administration of public funds” and that the country must “strive for transparency and accountability without fail”.
Unfortunately nothing will change government’s modus operandi as their philosophy is vote buying and personal gain.
The chances of success of the government delivering on its commitment to offer full transparency are about the same as winning the lottery at best.
The sound of continuing silence can only lead to the increasing logical conclusion that there is plenty to hide because otherwise remain silent?
Just calling for transparency from political parties wont change anything with this government. Political forces of good will should join forces and organise protests rallies.