The delegation of MEPs probing the state of the rule of law fear the Maltese authorities are reluctant to act when faced with allegations of wrongdoing.
Addressing a press conference at the end of the two-day visit on Thursday, chair of delegation Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veld said the authorities seemed passive and would spend more time trying to figure out which body should investigate instead of probing the wrongdoing.
“There seems to be a problem that every time there is alleged criminal activity it is unclear who will take the lead rather than jumping on it immediately. The authorities seem to wait and point at each other and nobody takes responsibility. Why is that? It is important that when there are issues they are investigated. Such, for instance, was the case with things in the Daphne Project,” Ms in’t Veld said.
The delegation also noted that while, during their visit to Slovakia, which took place immediately before Malta's, there seemed to be indications that the investigations into the murder of a journalist were progressing, the same could not be said for those into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In Slovakia, the MEP explained, information on the investigations was adequately communicated, but this was not the case in Malta.
The MEPs also expressed concern that during meetings with the FIAU and Malta Financial Services Authority representatives, they were met with defensive attitudes.
“Rather than the FIAU and MFSA saying 'we have a problem and we will learn from it', they say that this was an exceptional case. The denial is worrying,” MEP Sven Giegold said.
The Greens MEP went on to note that he did not believe that the promised changes within the MFSA had taken place, again questioning how it was possible that in an EU country, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi had not been dismissed despite featuring in the Panama Papers.
Echoing similar concerns, PN MEP Roberta Metsola said that by refusing to meet the delegation, Dr Mizzi had again failed to answer pressing questions that had yet to be addressed.
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