Police seem much less willing to tackle corruption – Giegold

Greens MEP Sven Giegold said that following his visit to Malta, he was not impressed with the level of investigation on financial corruption. He warned also that the highly bi-partisan approach to politics in Malta does not indicate that there is a real wish by either major party to shake up the structures which lead to impunity. Turning to the role of civil society and the details coming out of the investigation, Giegold expressed concern that the police regularly briefed the PM and his Chief of Staff Keith Schembri about the developments in the murder investigation. Giegold said that this is highly dubious from a rule of law and from a legal perspective. He said that Schembri and the government as a whole were all under suspicion and this should raise much more criticism.

Speaking at a phone press conference, Giegold said that the progress seen on the investigation of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia has not been replicated in the areas of investigation of corruption. Giegold said that there seems to be an unwillingness to tackle these issues “and this is a threat to the rule of law in Malta…and the strongest symbol for all this is the Golden Visa and the sale of passports”.

Giegold said that Malta has broken the agreement that the sale of passports in that such sales need to be made with persons who truly have a link to the country.

During a meeting with journalists, as part of the MEP delegation, Giegold had expressed the hope that the new Commission President would express a strong position on measures regarding the rule of law. He said that this did not happen and it was very disappointing. Giegold had also called for the initiation of procedures for the invocation of suspension for Malta from the EU. He said that when he mentioned this to President George Vella, the latter had had some very strong reactions to make.

When meeting with Prime Minister Muscat, Giegold said that Muscat said that he does not have to power to tamper with evidence “It was clearly not a friendly meeting and there was no reassurance” said Giegold about the meeting with Muscat. He said that the situation is deeply worrying.

Giegold said that the EU needs a framework directive on the protection of the media with protection against libel cases which is a particular problem in Malta. “If the freedom of media is under threat, we have altogether a problem,” said Giegold. He added that the investigation into the murder cases is working very well but not so the investigation into the corruption cases. He said that the Commissioner of Police seems to be much less proactive  “I do not believe this is going on well” said Giegold.