An anti-mafia law, state-financing for political parties and legislation against abuse of power are among 20 measures that civil society groups Repubblika and Occupy Justice have proposed for “a cleaner republic”. 

Repubblika president Robert Aquilina told a press conference on Thursday that he hoped that the good governance proposals would be taken up by the political parties.

“We are not describing a utopia or an illusory state of perfection, but a legitimate aim where the Maltese state works for the common good and fights abuse through its institutions,” Aquilina said. 

Many of these measures exist in other countries, he said.

A law against organised crime is among the proposals published by the two civil society groups. 

“Anyone who gets rich through association with a mafia organisation forms part of the mafia and deserves to go to prison,” the document reads.

The document proposes to introduce a law against whoever benefits from crime done by others in their name. 

The NGOs are also insisting that unexplained wealth should be confiscated following a civil trial. 

“Those who cannot prove the legitimate sources of their fortune should be presumed to be benefitting from illicit gains,” the document says. 

State funding of political parties

The anti-corruption NGOs also proposed that political parties should mostly receive their financing from the state “according to objective criteria”. 

Private financing should be controlled by independent surveillance, and limits to how much can be donated should also be introduced, they said. 

“Anyone hiding illicit donations should be imprisoned,” the document says.  

Laws against abuse of power and obstruction of justice should also be introduced, according to Repubblika and Occupy Justice. 

“Whoever uses power to become rich or to reward friends, whoever takes advantage or gives advantage to anyone who will return the favour by exploiting information acquired through their office should be found guilty of crime and pay for their actions,” proposal 18 says. 

Those who destroy evidence, lie to authorities, or create obstructions to authorities enforcing the law “should be charged with a criminal offence and pay for their misdeeds,” proposal 19 adds. 

Those who knowingly waste investigators’ time or limit their access to proof should also be charged. 

Asked about the two proposals, Repubblika executive officer Manuel Delia said that some aspects of the criminal code could be used to deal with abuse of power, but “obstruction of justice is a hole in our criminal justice system”. 

He said Maltese laws were defective when used against someone who, for example, knowingly shreds documents because they may be used as evidence. 

The proposals come days before the sixth anniversary of the assassination of  journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

"When that assassination happened, we immediately understood that Daphne was killed because the institutions did not work; instead, in many ways, they worked to facilitate criminality in our country," Aquilina said.

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