Repubblika calls on interim government to see through FATF changes until next election
Civil society NGO Repubblika called for an interim government that would be responsible for leading the country towards transparent elections to be held next year and ensuring that the demands of the Financial Action Task Force are met.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Repubblika President Robert Aquilina said such a government would include “qualified individuals whose integrity and capabilities are widely recognized” and that such a government would have a limited mandate of 12 months to complete.
“Let’s tell the truth: our country is in crisis. We have to understand that we cannot accept to allow those who brought us into this precarious situation to get out of it, ”said Aquilina.
Aquilina was referring to the FATF’s decision to graylist Malta, a damning indictment of the country’s ability to tackle money laundering and counterterrorism financing.
He underlined that one of the main grievances of the FATF towards Malta was the lack of effective implementation of legislative frameworks against money laundering and the financing of the fight against terrorism, as well as the fact that no top prosecution level had not been committed at the government level.
During the press conference, Aquilina insisted that the government of Robert Abela continues to “give political and institutional shelter to political and non-political criminals”, thus continuing the cycle of impunity.
He was referring to several prominent members of the Labor government, past and present, who not only have not been prosecuted for their roles, but have largely faced no criminal consequences for corruption, noting in particularly how former Finance Minister Edward Scicluna now heads Malta’s central bank.
Repubblika pointed out that this was further exacerbated by the complete silence of the Central Bank of Malta and the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) after the gray list further indicates the lack of autonomy of these institutions.
One of the main points of the organization was to call for the resignation of all boards of directors of the Central Bank, the MFSA and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).
“Corrupt politicians who have tarnished Malta’s reputation still enjoy complete impunity,” Aquilina said.
“The one who was supposed to monitor the country’s finances but who was on the contrary complacent – even complicit – when his friends robbed us was entrusted with the role of governor of our Central Bank. This role was entrusted to him by none other than Robert Abela, ”added Aquilina.
The interim government in Repubblika’s proposal, called the “government of national solidarity”, would demand that sitting MPs on both sides of the chamber step down and be replaced by qualified people unrelated to either side. main parties.
A prime minister is also expected to be selected and tasked with leading the government for its 12 months leading up to an election in 2022.
The government of national solidarity would be primarily responsible for seeing through all the requirements imposed by the FATF in its decision to include Malta on the gray list, in particular in terms of accountability of members of the current administration.
In other words, a crucial role of the national solidarity government would be to strengthen the police force and push it to “bring to justice those who are either involved in politics or others who have been associated with it. politicians who enjoy impunity ”.
“This government should also rebuild and strengthen the checks and balances of our country while adopting a policy of accountability, while ensuring that the principles of the rule of law and democracy are truly respected,” said Aquilina.
Another role that the interim government proposed by Repubblika should fulfill is to ensure that the next elections take place “in a genuinely democratic spirit”.
“For example, for a fair election to take place, we will have to follow a process that ensures that state broadcast media are not supported by political parties but genuinely serve as public broadcasting,” said the president of Repubblika.
Aquilina called on the government for its “pathetic attempts to make people believe that they are only responsible for what happened from January 2020,” referring to the Prime Minister’s press conference just last week. after reports revealed Malta’s gray list.
“The time for empty slogans is over. We have a sad reality ahead of us, ”he said.
“Corruption and institutionalized crime are not just immoral; they also impoverish our reputation and our quality of life, ”he added.