The Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) welcomed and acknowledged Malta’s progress in corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors as adopted at its 87th Plenary Meeting held in Strasbourg in March 2021.
The Addendum to the Second Compliance Report reviewed the action taken by the relevant authorities to implement the recommendations issued in the Fourth Round Evaluation Report adopted in late 2014. The Fourth Round Compliance Report was adopted in March 2017 and the Second Compliance report was adopted in June 2019. This Addendum to the Second Compliance Report reviews the progress made and assesses the level of compliance with the recommendations.
The Addendum shows that four of the nine recommendations were implemented satisfactorily or dealt with in a satisfactory manner, whereas five have been partly implemented.
Here are 5 key points to remember from the GRECO report:
1. GRECO noted “with satisfaction” that measures were taken to strengthen the system of judicial independence and accountability by discontinuing the involvement of Parliament in the dismissal of judges, and by making the Commission for the Administration of Justice in charge of judicial discipline procedures.
2. GRECO welcomed the efforts by Maltese authorities to adjust and reinforce the disciplinary framework against judges by assigning it to an independent authority, and the improvements in the assessment of the array of disciplinary sanctions to improve their efficiency and proportionality.
3. Further to this, GRECO proposes that an induction training programme for newly appointed judges is implemented in order to enhance corruption measures. The training would cover judicial ethics and targeted guidance and counselling on corruption prevention, whilst an in-service training programmes for the various professionals of the courts should also be introduced.
4. The Group referred to the proposed draft Code of Ethics for Members of the House of Representatives as introduced by the Parliamentary Commissioner of Standards, which is still in its early stages. GRECO has however noted the progress made on reviewing the Code of Ethics for Parliamentarians which appears to address most of the issues flagged up by the Group itself and encourages further awareness-raising on the prevention of corruption.
5. The ongoing work to draft new legislation to dissociate the advisory and the regulatory roles of relevant bodies, has also been hailed as a further step in the right direction.
In view of the pending recommendations yet to be implemented fully, Malta is requested to provide additional information on Malta’s progress by 31 March 2022.
Since joining GRECO in 2001, Malta has been subject to evaluation in the framework of GRECO’s First (December 2002), Second (July 2005) and Third (October 2009) Evaluation Rounds.
The compliance report by GRECO arrives a few days after a report by MONEYVAL that shows significant progress has been Malta in Malta’s fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Since January 2020, the Maltese Government has implemented substantial changes to further strengthen the rule of law in Malta. The government also implemented significant reforms to strengthen democracy and the institutions that deliver it.