In an evaluation report published today, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) assesses the effectiveness of the framework in place in Malta to prevent corruption amongst persons with top executive functions (ministers and other senior government officials) and the Maltese Police Force.
GRECO notes that Malta has on paper an impressive arsenal of public institutions involved in checks and balances but their effectiveness is being questioned in recent years due to a wave of controversies concerning the integrity of senior government officials in relation to the use of state resources and privatisations, tenders, energy supply, the sale of land, the award of contracts and public positions.
GRECO highlights that, to date, 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 most sophisticated mechanisms and the many specialist and collegial supervisory bodies are of little use if they are themselves unaccountable and/or ineffective.
Furthermore GRECO underlines that 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. GRECO calls for stricter rules and their enforcement on ancillary business and other activities of top officials, conflicts of interest and declarations of assets.