Newspaper front-page stories review – 19th February 2020

Maltatoday’s midweek edition quotes HSBC Malta’s CEO Andrew Beane, who yesterday insisted that it was crucial that Malta to start providing evidence and clear outcomes in its efforts to address shortcomings in its financial sector. The HSBC CEO insisted that 2020 is a critical year for Malta to fix its damaged reputation and ensure its financial system operates according to the rules of the international economy.

The Malta Independent reveals that Valletta district police are under investigation over a separate alleged overtime abuse racket. TMI quotes sources who claimed that Valletta police have many opportunities to perform extra duties, including bank and embassy protection, security at cultural events, VIP escort and traffic control.

In a concerning development on this same matter, The Times of Malta reports that a police officer had to file a police report following threats he received after fellow police officers accused him of being the whistleblower.

L-Orizzont leads with a report by Finnovating which found that Malta is leading the way in terms of investment in the field of Fintech.  Malta attracted more than 9 million euro investment in this sector, exceeding most of its European counterparts. Minister Silvio Schembri highlighted this investment and remarked that it was a result of Government’s efforts in this sector and the seeds sown in the past years.

The fight against corruption takes prominence in today’s In-Nazzjon’s front page with two articles dedicated to this theme, one quoting PN Leader Adrian leader in a televised interview yesterday evening, the other reporting the last speech by PN MP Simon Busuttil in Parliament. The current PN leader stressed the urgent necessity for the country to have a Government which did not support corruption, and it was the PN’s mission to ensure that truth prevails. Simon Busuttil also rendered tribute to slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, claiming that she was killed to ensure corruption was covered-up.

The Malta Independent also pays tribute the Simon Busuttil’s last speech, taking cue from his statement that Malta’s democracy was now on life support.

In-Nazzjon also reports that the next hours will be crucial with regard to the next step in the police scandal. Yesterday, a number of police officers standing accused have been called again at the Depot.

The Times of Malta claims that Elizabeth Ellul’s days chairing the Planning Authority’s ODZ Planning Commission were numbered. The commission assesses Outside Development Zone and Urban Conservation Area planning applications. Ms Ellul, who is also a member of the PA’s planning board, faced calls for her resignation last year over accusations she failed to protect the environment.

Maltatoday reports that Government and Opposition were at loggerheads over police chief appointment method. Parliament started yesterday evening debating the government’s proposal for a new way to appoint the police chief.

L-Orizzont also reports that the General Workers Union has registered an industrial dispute with the Office of the Attorney-General and claims to reveal further details on the appointment of Francis Zammit Dimech on the PN Executive.