Government authorises publication of damning GRECO report

The report by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body is believed to have raised a number of concerns about Malta’s institutions and its justice system

The government said it has authorised the publication of a draft report of a GRECO evaluation of Malta
The government said it has authorised the publication of a draft report of a GRECO evaluation of Malta

The government has authorised the publication of a report on Malta drawn up by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Justice Ministry said on Monday.

It said the report deals with the prevention of corruption and the promotion of integrity in the execution of the highest executive functions of the central governments and law enforcement agencies. “GRECO evaluations are made on a regular basis on all countries that are members of the Council of Europe and of GRECO. These evaluations are made on every country, approximately every four years.”

The Sunday Times of Malta reported yesterday that the leaked report states that Malta’s criminal justice system is at risk of paralysis unless a redistribution of police, the Attorney General and inquiring magistrates’ responsibilities.

In addition to Malta’s criminal justice system, the report also raises concerns about the centralization of power, institutional weakness and the police among other areas.

Last week, the government faced criticism for not having agreed to the publication of the report.

“It is a GRECO rule that for a report to be published, the country concerned has to authorise its publication. In practice, this authorisation is never given immediately by any country during the plenary meeting which approves the report, since the delegation participating in the meeting generally has no authority to do so,” the government statement said.

It added that “on the same day that Malta’s evaluation was concluded, the evaluations of North Macedonia and Sweden were also concluded, and both countries have not published their respective report”.

“As is always done, the GRECO report makes several recommendations to the country concerned in order for that country to improve its legal and administrative systems in the fight against corruption in the sector which is the subject of evaluation. In fact, if one goes through the reports made to various countries in the course of the fifth evaluation, one finds that various other countries have received similar recommendations to those made to Malta.”

Furthermore, it noted that the recommendations dealt mainly with “systems and laws” that Malta has “for generations”, including some that had been implemented before Independence in 1964. 

“There are, in fact, no recommendations that in a way criticize any laws implemented by this government,” the ministry said. “It should also be noted that most of the recommendations by GRECO are on the same lines of the Venice Commission’s opinion, given last December and which are already being addressed by the government.”

Finally, it said the report also acknowledged that “some changes have already been affected since GRECO delegation’s visit to Malta, and which are not included in the report”.