Reputational damage may reach ‘point of no return’ – MEA

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Malta Employers’ Association expressed its concerns about revelations that murder suspect Yorgen Fenech made millions off Enemalta’s purchase of a Montenegrin windfarm, describing it as the latest blow to Malta’s international reputation which could have long-term economic repercussions.

The association said that “as more scandals connected to Malta are hitting the international media,” it feared that “the situation could hit a point of no return and it will take decades to restore Malta’s standing as a reliable investment destination.”

The MEA also emphasised that Malta could not afford to lose its standing or to be grey or blacklisted as a financial jurisdiction by Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body.

It insisted that governance reforms were critical to “reverse this descent towards chaos,” reiterating its repeated calls for a reform of Parliament, for a transparent system governing the engagement of persons of trust and the introduction of partial state funding for political parties.

“Although there can never be a system that offers complete safeguards against corruption, the current situation whereby MPs are also involved in the executive, the dependency of political party financing on corporate donors, the gratuitous manner in which persons of trust are appointed and the proximity of politicians to criminal elements of society are a hotbed for corrupt practices,” the MEA maintained.

It insisted on zero tolerance of corruption, irrespective of who may be involved, and for the government to engage with social partners to launch institutional reforms. It also said that the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, which it forms part of, should take a more active role to pressure government to act before it was too late.