The Malta Independent 7 June 2023, Wednesday
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TMID Editorial: Good governance and transparency

Friday, 24 March 2023, 10:29 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Malta Employers’ Association has stressed the need for better good governance structures, and the government needs to listen.

This country cannot continue being dragged into one scandal after another because of poor decisions taken by people in government.

MEA President Joanne Bondin, speaking at the MEA’s annual general meeting, had recalled the MEA’s proposals for full disclosure on all contracts entered by Government with third parties, better transparency and accountability in the engagement of persons of trust, and that parameters that regulate direct orders are respected and enforced.

Among the proposals that were included in the MEA’s Memorandum, was that MPs should not hold positions of trust or any appointments on government entities, highlighting that this may conflict with their duties in Parliament.

This is a very important point. Realistically speaking, if an MP belonging to the governing party feels that the government is doing something wrong, but has appointments on boards or as a person of trust, would that MP really be inclined to put the national interest first? MPs should feel completely free to criticise the government, even if the government is run by their party.

In its document, the MEA had also made another good proposal regarding people employed in positions of trust. It had said that all persons occupying a position of trust, including consultants with public entities and who have not been employed through a recruitment process, should be subject to a periodic audit by an independent board to justify their position. “The board shall include representatives of the Opposition. As with any company in the private sector company, they will report on time spent, activities and results achieved.” This would result in ensuring that public funds are being used in the best possible way, and while having a member of the Opposition on the board would be something that would not be liked by any party in government, one could argue that it would ensure the best possible scrutiny.

Another proposal made by the MEA was that all contracts entered into by the Government with third parties should be made public within reasonable time, but certainly not exceeding three months from the date of signing. This proposal would better ensure transparency. It had also proposed that government would not enter into binding agreements (commercial or otherwise) with entities whose ultimate beneficial owners are unknown.

While on the issue of contracts, Moviment Graffitti recently presented an open letter signed by around 400 individuals coming from diverse backgrounds and social realities, and who all embrace and identify with Socialist, leftist or progressive values, calling for, among other things, an investigation into all privatisation deals in which Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, Chris Cardona, Joseph Muscat, and Projects Malta (now Malta Strategic Partnership Projects) had any role. The aim, would be to determine whether fraud or corruption played any part in the process.

Given the recent ruling on the hospitals’ concession, as well as the countless scandals on so many contracts under Joseph Muscat’s administration, investigations should take place.

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