MEP Alfred Sant admits Malta facing governance and corruption problems

Former Maltese PM says island faces clear problem in governance and control of corruption but said MEPs' mission to Malta on rule of law was “risible”

Labour MEP Alfred Sant
Labour MEP Alfred Sant

Former prime minister Alfred Sant has acknowledged that the Labour administration in Malta is facing problems of governance and corruption.

The admission by the Labour MEP came in a missive against a delegation of MEPs, led by socialist MEP Ana Gomes, to conduct an investigation into the rule of law in Malta.

But Sant decried the use of the MEPs’ delegation to act as “investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury”.

“That there exist problems in the governance of the country and in the control of corruption is clear. That they are to be taken into account by following the procedures of the European Parliament as laid out during the December visit of its delegation to Malta is risible,” Sant said giving the MEPs’ delegation short shrift.

The European Parliament report on Malta released last week called on politicians perceived to be implicated in serious acts of corruption and money laundering linked to the Panama Papers and FIAU reports to be removed from public office and swiftly investigated.

READ MORE Key findings from the European Parliament's report on rule of law in Malta

Sant, who as Labour leader from 1992 to 2008 made corruption a signature theme of his political campaigns against the Nationalist administrations, said the EP mission to Malta was “from beginning to end not credible.”

Sant said the effort “fell foul of all the criteria that make similar exercises credible wherever the rule of law truly prevails – criteria that would determine what is usually called due process. For this reason, the work the delegation carried out is not credible.”

Nationalist MEP David Casa
Nationalist MEP David Casa

He singled out Nationalist MEP David Casa as a “protagonist in Malta-bashing”, accusing him of organising the delegation’s work through “occult methods”, and also raised doubts on the quality of campaigners from “civil society” invited to speak to MEPs.

“The delegation discussed issues important for the country, though they were raised before by other analysts and spokespersons from diverse sectors on the island, on both left and right. Their report as expected, and as they expected, created waves in the print and social media of the nation.”

One of the MEPs present for the mission, German Green Sven Giegold, said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s reaction to the EP rule of law report had been disrespectful.

Muscat accused the MEPs who drafted the damning report about Malta had already decided what they were going to say before they even landed on the island.

In a statement on Tuesday, Giegold said Muscat’s reaction was disrespectful. “The report has the support of all members of the parliament’s mission including the Social Democrats. Many of our findings go beyond the parliament's plenary resolution including on the role of the police, corruption and possible doubtful influence of elections. It deserves serious consequences and a debate in the European institutions as well as Malta.”

The European Parliament will now discuss the findings of the report in the LIBE committee on January 25. The report will also be sent officially to the European Central Bank to trigger further supervisory investigations.

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