Parliamentary committee will scrutinise political appointments, regulator chiefs, ambassadors

The reform means minister must consult this new committee before appointing a new head of regulatory body or non-career diplomat as ambassador or high-ranking representative

25 September 2017, 7:06pm
Justice minister Owen Bonnici
Justice minister Owen Bonnici
Heads of regulatory bodies and politically appointed representatives in overseas post are to be scrutinised by a new consultative parliamentary committee, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici announced.

The draft law will come into effect this week.

The committee will be made up of three government members, one of whom will chair the committee, and two Opposition members.

The reform means minister must consult this new committee before appointing a new head of regulatory body or non-career diplomat as ambassador or high-ranking representative.

The committee's recommendation will not be binding, but the scrutiny will be public.

The committee will have the option to keep proceedings secret, if it so chooses.

Bonnici sad this was a “first step” towards making the process of filling more in line with EU practices.

Ambassadors, High Commissioners, or principle representative of Malta to countries where they are appointed as resident Ambassadors, will be subject to this protocol, as well as:

The heads of the Central Bank, Malta Financial Services Authority, Regulator of Energy and Water Services, Transport Authority, Communications Authority, Gaming Authority, Planning Authority, Environment and Resources Authority, Voluntary Organisations Commissioner, Lands Authority Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority, Medicines Authority, Tourism Authority, National Commission for Higher and Further Education Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit.

While the PN said the parliamentary committee scrutinising public appointments was a step in the right direction, it was one that comes too late for the PN.

The Opposition noted that the move had been proposed by the PN for the past three years.

“During the past five years, the Labour administration has appointed scandalous individual who were not assigned the job out of merit but because of their loyalty to the party,” the PN said in a statement.

The Opposition will still take part in the committee to ensure that public appointments are “awarded out of merit, not according to political loyalty.”

“We will not allow the party to participate in a committee that serves only to justify decisions that have been made behind the scenes.”