The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry published its report ‘A Strong Transparency, Accountability and Ethical Governance framework for Members of Parliament’. The paper reviews and presents recommendations on a key issue essential to Malta’s rule of law; transparency, accountability, and ethical behaviour, which are the fundamental prerequisites of our democratic system.
In her opening address Dr Marthese Portelli, CEO of The Malta Chamber, said “in publishing this report, compiled by the Governance Thematic Committee, The Malta Chamber is building on years of work in this area, most notably its Manifesto for Good Governance published in 2020.”
In her remarks, President Marisa Xuereb highlighted the fact that this is the first of four reports that The Malta Chamber commissioned, with the other three relating to the size of parliament, the role and conditions of MPs and party financing. President Xuereb emphasised that “it is essential that we recognise that these reforms are necessary if we are to build a framework that prevents corruption and conflicts of interest. The implementation of these recommendations could constitute the first step in renewing citizens’ trust in politics and the politicians they elect.”
Since 1987, different administrations have introduced a series of institutional mechanisms to strengthen parliamentarians’ transparent, accountable, and ethical behaviour. The latest evolution in this process is the Standards in Public Life Act, which resulted in a new parliamentary Committee and the Office of Commissioner for Standards in Public Life. As the report shows and concludes, the changes introduced to strengthen parliamentarians’ transparency, accountability, and ethical governance framework over the past decades have had both negative and positive impacts. The report concludes that this transparency, accountability, and ethical governance framework must be strengthened further as serious lacunae continue to exist.
In his presentation of the report, lead author and Chair of the Governance Thematic Committee, Mr David Spiteri Gingell said, “we have identified six areas where we must strengthen the ethical framework surrounding the role of MPs; the disclosure of assets, second jobs, lobbying, strengthening the Office of the Commissioner, instilling integrity and professionalism, and confidential counselling for MPs.”
Present during this press conference were, the NAO, the Commissioner for Standard, the Ombudsman a number of university academics.