Watch: Malta will pass Moneyval evaluation, Abela claims

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Malta will pass the Moneyval evaluation, Prime Minister Robert Abela claimed while addressing Partit Laburista’s extraordinary general conference which was held at Rialtò Theatre in Bormla.

Abela told party activists that Malta will manage to pass the evaluation due in October. He cited Malta’s success in controlling the outbreak of the coronavirus locally and recent “success” with the Venice Commission after the government’s proposals for constitutional reform to address the deficiencies identified by the international institution, were accepted.

Malta risks grey listing if it fails the looming Moneyval evaluation.

Last September, Moneyval concluded that Malta remains highly exposed to illicit finance but lacks the resources and infrastructure required to prosecute and seize assets from those who commit financial crime. Moneyval had noted that Malta should increase its efforts to combat financial crime.

Malta has until October after the deadline was extended as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to implement the 58 recommendations put forward by Moneyval in order to combat financial crime and avoid the inclusion on the FATF’s “grey list” of high jurisdictions.

Allegations on Cabinet members

Partit Laburista leader Robert Abela addressed the allegations which have been floating around over the past few days. Without elaborating, Abela said there were “individuals interested in who had slept with who”.

The Prime Minister was referring to tweets made by Paul Caruana Galizia, the journalist and son of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, as well as by Corinne Vella, the sister of the slain journalist.

On Twitter, Vella and Caruana Galizia said that a junior minister had an affair with murder suspect Yorgen Fenech. Fenech who stands accused of conspiracy in Caruana Galizia’s murder, was arrested in November 2019. The murder suspect was exposed as the owner of an offshore company based in Dubai, 17 Black, in November 2018 following a joint investigation by the Times of Malta and Reuters.

In a tweet on Sunday, Caruana Galizia wrote: “a minister has a history with one of the hitmen and, after Fenech’s role in the murder was known, a junior minister had an affair with him, and another minister was in constant contact with him.”

During the extraordinary general conference, Abela said that Partit Laburista chose to attack arguments over individuals. He added that he will stand by his Cabinet members who are senselessly attacked. He said that whenever one had to take difficult decisions, he had done so.

Abela was recently asked whether he would be demoting his Cabinet members over their alleged relationships with Fenech.

We need more women and youths in party leadership

The Labour leader said that the party has failed to have more female representation within its leadership. He stressed that Partit Laburista should work towards having more female representation within its ranks and in its leadership.

“It is only by including women and youths in the party’s leadership that we can be a truly avant-garde,” Abela told the delegates present.

He noted that to date, the party had failed when it came to women’s participation saying that the situation needs to be rectified as soon as possible.

PL should scrutinize the government

Abela said that the party should be a place where new ideas are discussed and then proposed to the government. He said that it was the party’s role to scrutinize the government and criticize without holding back.