Minister takes heart on GRECO shortcomings, ‘Labour still better than PN’s track record’

Malta has so far accomplished just two of 23 anti-corruption recommendations from the Council of Europe’s GRECO

Justice Minister Jonathan Attard
Justice Minister Jonathan Attard

Justice minister Jonathan Attard has claimed Malta's poor record on anti-corruption recommendations by GRECO, had still surpassed the record of previous Nationalist administrations.

“The fact that the report has confirmed government has started to carry out the recommendations, is in itself positive,” he told the House on Tuesday evening.

The Council of Europe's ant-corruption watchdog said Malta had so far only accomplished two of 23 recommendations. One of the unfulfilled proposals is for the island to have an anti-corruption strategy.

“The last time a report was received under the PN legislature, the conclusions read that not one of the recommendations was carried out,” Attard said during parliamentary question time.

He said “one has to understand” that for certain recommendations to be carried out, government needed to carry out legislative changes. “There are parliamentary procedures, which need to be carried out.”

He hit out at the Nationalist Opposition for trying to lecture government on not carrying out the recommendations.

“We would only hear about the GRECO when former MP Franco Debono had criticised his own government on the financing of political parties, and now we know why, because they have a party that is broke,” he said.

PN MP Mark Anthony Sammut hit back by saying that under a PN administration, the GRECO had only criticised the government on party financing, “while today’s report criticises government on rule of law, corruption, low standards and organised crime.”

Sammut also said that one of the recommendations spoke about lobbying, asking the minister when lobbying regulation in public administration will be introduced.

Attard took issue with the PQ, calling it an intervention not a question. “If you are trying to give the impression that corruption started under a Labour government, you are wrong. The fact is that at the time there were nine recommendations which not a single one was carried out.”

He did not answer Sammut’s question on the regulation of lobbying by Maltese politicians.