[WATCH] Opposition to once again push anti-corruption Bills once Parliament reopens

Government had turned down the package of 11 legislative Bills to fight corruption and mafia-style crimes, in line with recommendations made by the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry earlier this year

File photo
File photo

The Opposition will once again push its package of anti-corruption Bills in Parliament, once it reopens in October.

In a press conference on Tuesday, PN leader Bernard Grech, and MPs Karol Aquilina and Robert Cutajar slammed the government for failing to implement the inquiry recommendations.

The PN had unveiled a package of 11 legislative Bills to fight corruption and mafia-style crimes, in line with recommendations made by the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry.

The Bills included proposals limiting government’s duties and actions during an election campaign, a special inquiring magistrate to focus only on corruption investigations, the creation of a crime of procuring political influence, obstruction of justice, and omission of duty by public officers, unexplained wealth orders, creation of a crime for mafia association and organised crime as well as a Bill to include a declaration in favour of journalism, to be enshrined in the Maltese Constitution.

Bernard Grech said that a year ago, three judges had presented a report to the prime minister, in which they put forward a number of recommendations to address the “climate of impunity that had taken over the country”.

He recalled how the government MPs had all voted against the package bill in parliament, “ultimately voting against the conclusions of the judges.”

“Six months after this vote and almost a year of the publication of the public inquiry, Robert Abela and his friends have done absolutely nothing to address this. They do not want to implement any of the judges’ recommendations,” Grech said. “This means that Robert Abela wants the Maltese to forget that the judges found him, Joseph Muscat and government guilty of creating a climate of impunity, that lead to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

“We have a duty to oversee the implementation of the recommendations. If we forget, we would one day relive the same reality again,” the PN leader said.

Grech said that later on during the day, the Opposition would be presenting the bills, and will be asking government to concede the first Thursday after parliament’s reopening, for the Bills to be discussed.

“I invite Robert Abela and his friends, so that for once they vote in favour of the Maltese and the country,” he said.

No formal meeting with PM on public inquiry conclusions – Grech  

Questioned by the press, Grech said that he had no formal meeting with the Prime Minister on the conclusions of the public inquiry.

He however disclosed that he had participated in a Security Committee meeting, where issues of national security were discussed. Grech however stated that the outcomes of the meeting could not be shared, since they were issues of national security.

MP Karol Aquilina spoke about the contents of the bills, emphasising that the Opposition had done its part to oversee the “much needed changes to the country’s laws and Constitution”.

He recalled how it was former MP Jason Azzopardi that had worked on the package of bills.

Azzopardi no longer forms part of the PN parliamentary group, after failing to get elected in the 2022 election and has since then critiqued harshly the actions and strategies of the party and the Opposition leader.

PN MP Robert Cutajar said that the Opposition had the credibility, as it was consistent in its message, unlike the Prime Minister, who consistently failed to “move from words to actions.”

Cutajar said that PN had insisted in the House Business Committee, that the Opposition is allowed to bring forward motions to parliament every four weeks and not every six months.

“Up till today, we have received no official reply, even after sending a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister. We expect that on parliament’s first Thursday, the bills are put on the agenda,” he said.

Cutajar said that a copy of the Bills will be presented to the Speaker of the House.