04 Apr 2019
The government of Malta has no coherent plan to fight corruption and has failed to penalize officials for apparent criminality, a Strasbourg-based watchdog group said in a report Thursday.
While the country has an adequate institutional framework “on paper” to mitigate governmental wrongdoing, a string of high-profile corruption scandals involving senior Maltese officials in recent years indicates that more needs to be done, according to the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).
“There has been no visible disciplinary or criminal justice response to a number of these allegations, even when some of them have been confirmed by subsequent audits, for instance, of the National Audit Office,” the organization said. What’s more, “the country lacks an overall strategy, a coherent risk-based approach, when it comes to integrity standards for government officials and a system of sanctions.”
The report outlines 23 recommendations for Maltese officials, including law enforcement reforms and stronger enforcement of stricter rules on asset disclosures and conflicts of interest.
“This report is a call for action,” said GRECO President Marin Mrčela, in a statement. “I look forward to the swift implementation of GRECO recommendations by the Maltese authorities.”
The publication comes a week after the publication of a resolution by the European Parliament citing concerns about corruption in Malta and Slovakia. EU lawmakers cited the death of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a 2017 car bombing and asked the bloc’s institutions and member-states to investigate her allegations of financial crime by high-ranking current and former public officials in Malta.
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