The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Malta dropped 11 positions on Corruption Perceptions Index since 2012

Kevin Schembri Orland Sunday, 5 February 2023, 09:30 Last update: about 2 years ago

Malta’s rank on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has yo-yoed since 2012, reaching a high in the 2015 index, and a low in this year’s edition.

Malta dropped 11 ranks when comparing the 2012 index and this year’s edition and has six points lower in score.


What is the CPI


The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, scoring on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Back in the 2012 edition, the rankings were for 176 countries and territories. Transparency International highlights that only CPI scores from 2012 onwards are comparable.

The higher the score, the better the rank; the lower the score, the worse the rank. The country with the highest score in the 2022 edition, and thus with the number 1 rank, was Denmark.

“The process for calculating the CPI is regularly reviewed to make sure it is as robust and coherent as possible, most recently by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in 2017. All the CPI scores since 2012 are comparable from one year to the next,” Transparency International says on its website.

Transparency International states that the index scores the 180 countries and territories using data from 13 external sources, including the World Bank, World Economic Forum, private risk and consulting companies, think tanks and others.  The sources of information used for the CPI are based on data published in the previous two years. “The scores reflect the views of experts and business people.” Each country’s score is a combination of at least three data sources drawn from the 13 different corruption surveys and assessments, its website explains.

“A change in one or two points in the score often happens from year to year and can be due to a change in a single data source (the CPI uses 13 different data sources). It’s large changes that last for two consecutive years or more that reliably indicate an improving situation. In a context that is known to be corrupt, a score that remains the same or shifts only minimally, indicates that not enough is being done to eliminate corruption,” a spokesperson for The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Transparency International's National Contact Point for Malta, said. The Foundation is not involved in the compilation of the CPI.

The 13 data sources Transparency International used in the latest report are listed as: “African Development Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2020, Bertelsmann Stiftung Sustainable Governance Indicators 2022, Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index 2022, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Service 2022, Freedom House Nations in Transit 2022, Global Insight Country Risk Ratings 2021, IMD World Competitiveness Centre World Competitiveness Yearbook Executive Opinion Survey 2022, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Asian Intelligence 2022, The PRS Group International Country Risk Guide 2022, World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2021, World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey 2021, World Justice Project Rule of Law Index Expert Survey 2021 and Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem v. 12) 2022.


Malta’s scores

Malta’s score and rank have not been stagnant.

In the 2012 index, Malta was ranked 43rd out of 176 countries. Malta’s CPI score was 57 that year.

Some small shifts were seen in the following two years and then, in the 2015 index, Malta advanced up the ladder and ranked 34th, after the country received a score of 60. “Some scores have improved significantly in recent years – most notably Malta and Greece, but also Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and the UK – but again the picture is complex and it remains to be seen how much this is due to genuine reform,” a report on the CPI by Transparency International at the time read.

However, in the 2016 index, Malta saw a significant drop in rank to 47th place, after it received a score of 55. While the Transparency International website does not seem to have any information now regarding the reasons for Malta’s drop that year, it is pertinent to note that, among other things, the Panama Papers had been published in 2016, with the revelations rocking Malta given that former Minister Konrad Mizzi and the then Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri had been found to have had companies in Panama.

In the 2018 index, Malta’s rank slid to 51st, with a score of 54 points. On this occasion, Malta was one of the countries singled out by Transparency International. “This significant drop comes as no surprise more than one year after the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed while reporting on corruption and who posthumously received the 2018 Anti-Corruption Award,” an article Transparency International penned at the time read. It added that Malta was also embroiled in scandals involving the Panama Papers and the collapse of Pilatus bank, as well as its “golden visa” scheme, which sells Maltese citizenship to wealthy overseas investors. “In December 2018, a Council of Europe report concluded there was a serious rule of law problem in Malta’s judiciary,” Transparency International had said in a report about that year’s Index.

Then, in the 2019 index, Malta was listed as a “country to watch”. “With a score of 54, Malta is a significant decliner on the CPI, dropping six points since 2015,” it said. “Given the ‘pair of political machines [that] have [for decades] operated with impunity on the island’ it’s no wonder that two years after the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed while reporting on corruption, the country is still mired in corruption.” It had said back then that the government “dragged its feet in the judicial procedures” regarding the assassination of journalist Caruana Galizia. “Several scandals involving the Panama Papers, the collapse of a Maltese bank and the ‘golden visa’ scheme that sells Maltese citizenship to wealthy overseas investors may also contribute to Malta’s decline on the CPI,” Transparency International said at the time.

Malta didn’t fare much better in the 2020 index, getting a score of 53, being ranked 52nd. A Transparency International report about the Index had quoted an EU report about the rule of law in Malta which said that “deep corruption patterns have been unveiled and have raised a strong public demand for a significantly strengthened capacity to tackle corruption and wider rule of law reforms”. Among other things, it also read that: “In 2019, a public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia highlighted high-level corruption.”

Then, in the 2022 Index, published last month, Malta hit its lowest score in the comparable listings – 51. “Malta continues its downward CPI trend. Recommendations from the public inquiry into the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia are yet to be implemented in legislation, with continued concerns for media freedom and political interference in public media and for the fight against organised crime. A state of impunity persists with no convictions in cases of high-level corruption. Greater independence and resourcing of the Maltese justice system is needed to uphold the rule of law,” Transparency International said.

This translated into Malta’s lowest rank, 54th.



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