GRECO: Fifth Round Evaluation Report on Malta
On 3 April 2019, GRECO published its fifth round evaluation report on Malta. The focus of this evaluation round is on preventing corruption and promoting integrity in central governments (top executive functions) and law enforcement agencies. The evaluation focuses particularly on issues, such as conflicts of interest, the declaration of assets, and accountability mechanisms (for more recent reports, see eucrim 1/2018, pp. 38–39; 2/2018, pp. 109–110 and 4/2018, p. 208).
GRECO notes that Malta has impressive anti-corruption mechanisms on paper, but these appear to be less effective in practice, especially when one looks at the controversies over the integrity of senior government officials in relation to the use of state resources and privatisation, tendering, land sales, or the award of contracts and public offices. So far, there has been no visible disciplinary or criminal response to any of these allegations.
The report highlights the lack of an overall strategy or a coherent risk-based approach when it comes to integrity standards and sanctions. GRECO calls for stricter rules and their enforcement in ancillary business and top officials’ activities, conflicts of interest, and declarations of assets.
The report also calls for reforms to improve the capacity of the criminal justice system to respond to allegations involving senior officials. Certain institutions still have not achieved concrete results after 30 years of operation.
GRECO welcomes the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer in 2017 to modernise human resources management in the Maltese police force. The report recommends advisable improvements, including updated ethical standards, a performance-based approach to career decisions and promotions, and a stronger training system. The Independent Police Complaints Board must be strengthened, including safeguards for informants.