PN calls for special anti-corruption magistrate after EU rule of law assessment

PN justice spokesperson Karol Aquilina lambasts government’s ‘failure’ in the justice sector following the European Commission’s assessment

PN MP Karol Aquilina
PN MP Karol Aquilina

Malta should have an anti-corruption inquiring magistrate and criminalise the obstruction of justice, the Nationalist Party said in the wake of the EU’s latest rule of law assessment.

PN justice spokesperson Karol Aquilina listed several proposals that would strengthen the justice system as he lambasted government’s inertia.

“The European Commission’s Rule of Law report is confirmation of government’s failure in the justice system,” he said, adding that the government does not have the will to improve matters.

“The Labour government considers the deficiencies in the system, including the lack of investment, as a guarantee of impunity for those who abused of their power, carried out corruption and other serious crimes,” Aquilina said.

He said the judiciary are not being given the necessary human and financial resources to carry out their duty in an effective and efficient manner.

Aquilina called for the introduction of unexplained wealth orders on politicians, the introduction of the new crime of abuse of public office and obstruction of justice.

He also proposed the setting up of a special inquiring magistrate with wide-ranging powers to investigate cases of corruption.

Aquilina also called for a reform of the Attorney General’s office, including the appointment of the chief prosecutor by a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Reacting to the European Commission’s assessment that the justice system was increasingly inefficient, Aquilina said a reform was required in the compilation of evidence stage so that cases do not end up being heard twice.
“The government has so far ignored these proposals and has failed to put forward proposals that drastically reduce the exaggerated waiting times in court, especially in criminal proceedings,” Aquilina said.

He noted that there are more than 15,000 pending criminal cases, more than 1,400 magisterial inquiries, almost 2,500 cases at compilation of evidence stage and almost 1,500 family cases, including those related to domestic violence.