The Commissioner for Standards in Public Life has issued a document proposing the adoption of revised codes of ethics for members of the House of Representatives and ministers.
The revised codes are intended to strengthen the ethical standards applying to MPs and ministers and reinforce the framework of accountability within which Malta’s governing institutions operate. The revised codes also address recommendations by the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO), a body within the Council of Europe.
The revised Code of Ethics for Members of the House of Representatives incorporates elements such as the following:
- New principles that would require MPs not to expose themselves to any risk of being placed under pressure and influence;
- A provision obliging members not to abuse the power and privileges enjoyed by them;
- A Register for Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality in which MPs should also duly record those bestowed by them to third parties if such gifts are related to their parliamentary or political activities;
- A Register of Interests for registration of financial and non-financial interests.
The revised Code of Ethics for Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries introduces important changes such as the following:
- Ministers are required to record their assets and financial and other interests in a Register of Interests;
- Ministers are obliged not to accept or bestow any gifts, benefits and hospitality for themselves or for members of their families;
- Ministers are required to avoid putting themselves in situations in their private lives that may expose them to any undue pressure or influence;
- Ministers are required to avoid conducting official business through unofficial email accounts;
- Ministers are required to channel public funding to the media on the basis of objective criteria.