The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation has become Malta's contact point for global anti-corruption coalition Transparency International, a first for the island.

Until now, Malta was the only EU country where there had never been a Transparency International presence. 

In a statement, Transparency International said the foundation will work closely with the global movement to advance integrity in Malta. 

“Malta faces the same corruption challenges that are common in many EU countries; and for some of those, such as golden visas, golden passports and corporate secrecy, the country has become emblematic," Nacho Espinosa, Transparency International’s Regional Coordinator for Western Europe, said.

"But Malta also has some specific characteristics, such as a very polarized bipartisan system that leads to patronage and clientelism in the form of 'korruzzjoni' (corruption) and 'klijenteliżmu' (clientelism) which deserve specific attention in advancing the fight against corruption locally," he said.

Recent reports by the European Commission and GRECO have identified a range of anti-corruption challenges in Malta, including irregularities in public procurement; risks of conflict of interest at various levels of government; shortcomings in the institutional anti-corruption framework; and insufficient accountability for the police and the Attorney General, the coalition noted in its statement. 

"Some challenges have been addressed in the institutional reform of July 2020, although, according to local activists, these measures fall short of achieving their purpose.

The assassination of Malta’s foremost investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017 brought international attention to the island State. The ongoing investigation and separate public inquiry have unveiled deep corruption patterns and criminality and raised a strong societal demand for stronger anti-corruption capacity and wider rule of law reform."

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation was established in April 2019 in the context of all this and is set up as a social purpose, non-profit organisation and registered as a legal entity.

The organisation's deed of foundation prevents it from having any financial beneficiaries or beneficial owners, and it exists only to fulfil its purpose. The members of the Foundation's administrative council are the founders: the journalist's husband, Peter, and their sons Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia.

Peter Caruana Galizia is the first chairman of the council while Matthew Caruana Galizia serves as the Foundation's director. 

“We are honoured to join this exceptional movement of anti-corruption practitioners and will benefit from their collective experience and expertise. We hope to bring to the Transparency International movement our commitment to investigative journalism, free media, and the use of data and data analysis, which are instrumental in unveiling the truth and uncovering corruption," Matthew Caruana Galizia said.

Unveiling its annual corruption index last year, Transparency International warned that corruption is "undermining the rule of law" and "weakening democracy" in Malta.

The report accused the Maltese government of "dragging its feet" in investigations into the murder of Caruana Galizia.

In 2020, Malta ranked in 50th place, one better than in the previous year, but down 25 places since the country was first included in the report. 

The index is a global ranking published by Transparency International every January.

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