Naxxar is the Maltese locality with the most fines from the Local Enforcement System Agency (LESA), new data tabled in parliament shows.
The data, tabled by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri, in charge of LESA, shows Naxxar, St Julian’s and St Paul’s Bay topping the list for both 2022 and 2023, each with more than 20,000 fines issued.
While the vast majority of fines issued by LESA officers are understood to be in relation to traffic contraventions, the agency has also been delegated enforcement of sanitation and environmental contraventions.
According to Camilleri, the tabled data also includes some COVID-related contraventions.
The data, tabled in response to a parliamentary question by opposition MP Robert Cutajar shows that in 2022, almost 300,000 fines were issued by officers, with the number dipping last year to around 260,000.
Across all 68 localities listed, an average of around 4,000 fines were issued by LESA officers each year.
In 2023, Naxxar, St’ Julians, and St Paul’s Bay saw 23,600, 21,700 and 18,900 fines issued respectively.
In reply to another parliamentary question last year, data tabled by Camilleri had shown that some 10,000 fines issued in 2023 were related to e-scooter contraventions alone.
Sliema and St Julians had seen between 2,000 and 3,000 fines each for the alternative transport method, the rental of which is set to be banned from March.
The localities which saw the fewest number of fines issued by the agency last year were San Lawrenz and Għasri in Gozo, and Senglea. Less than 60 fines were issued in each locality throughout 2023.
Analysis of the data by The Shift shows that despite Gozitans making up some 7% of the Maltese population, only around 3% of the fines were issued in Gozo.
While the discrepency may indicate a lack of enforcement on Malta’s sister island, it may also be due to less strained road infrastructure, such as more available parking spaces and reduced traffic congestion.
Last year, the National Audit Office found the enforcement agency has not published its financial statements for more than six years, calling the situation at LESA “unacceptable.” The same audit found that some €18.1 million in fines had remained uncollected by the agency.
Last year’s audit was far from the first time the enforcement agency had made headlines. An earlier investigation by the NAO had found that some of the officers employed by the agency were illiterate or “only fit to carry out the most basic tasks.”