Appreciating Tonio Fenech, and the Ministers’ Code of Ethics

Arlogg tal lira 2

We have been told by the Hon Tonio Fenech that a certain Mrs Farrugia, wife of Raymond and sister-in-law to George Farrugia of Trafigura fame so admired him (Tonio Fenech) that she wanted to give him a token of appreciation. The token, consisting of an artisanal clock (arloġġ tal-lira).

The value of this artisanal clock is disputed but it seems that the Trafigura agent is putting it at €5,000.

Now this is very interesting as Ministers are bound by a Code of Ethics which in paragraph 58 thereof states :
“58. No Minister should accept gifts or services such as might be deemed to create an obligation, real or imaginary. The same rule applies to the spouse of a Minister and to his minor children. The same rules that apply to gifts from representatives of other Governments are applicable in these cases as well.”

When the Hon Minister Tonio Fenech had accepted a free flight to watch an Arsenal game he realised sometime after that he had made a mistake and apologised (instead of resigning).

What now?

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (27) Education (general)

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The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 11 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Education is an endeavour which should be intimately tied with the all-round development of persons including the academic, physical, social, ethical, emotional and vocational aspects. Education should also develop a sense of respect towards the environment of which we are a part. It should also help the development of a creative attitude and a critical conscience within the framework of communities. This is deemed important given the current situation of precariousness in employment and an underlying neo-liberal hegemony which gradually unravel collective responsibility and solidarity.

Education should be the means that develops democratic citizenship. Rather than perpetuating social inequalities, education should be the vehicle for their removal. In a changing world, education should be a continuous, dynamic, critical and transformative endeavour which is life-long. AD had officially endorsed the reform in education launched four years ago on the premise that the reform was sorely needed. At the same time, AD feels that it should stimulate discussion and critical debate so that the process and the ultimate aims of the reform, in particular the issue of social justice are upheld.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 11 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

L-edukazzjoni għandha tkun marbuta mal-iżvilupp sħiħ tal-bniedem li jinkludi l-aspetti akkademiċi, fiżiċi, soċjali, spiritwali, etiċi, emozzjonali, u vokazzjonali. Għandha trawwem ukoll rispett lejn id-dinja u l-ambjent li sawwarna u li ngħixu fih. L-edukazzjoni għandha tgħin lill-individwi jiżviluppaw attitudni kreattiva u kuxjenza kritika f’kuntest komunitarju. Dan partikolarment fi sfond soċjali kurrenti ta’ prekarjetà u xejriet neo-liberali li jnaqqru mis-sens ta’ responsabbiltà kollettiva u solidarjetà.

L-edukazzjoni għandha tkun il-mezz li bih il-persuni jiżviluppaw bħala ċittadini f’soċjetà demokratika. L-edukazzjoni m’għandhiex tipperpetwa l-inugwaljanzi soċjali iżda għandha tgħin biex dawn jixxejnu. F’dinja li l-ħin kollu qed tinbidel, l-edukazzjoni trid tkun proċess kontinwu u dinamiku kif ukoll kritiku u trasformattiv li jissokta tul il-ħajja. L-AD kienet uffiċjalment ħaddnet u approvat ir-riforma fl-edukazzjoni varata erba’ snin ilu għax emmnet fil-bżonn tagħha. Fl-istess waqt, tħoss li għandha tistimola diskussjoni u ħsieb kritiku biex il-proċess u l-għan aħħari tar-riforma partikolarment dak ta’ ġustizzja soċjali jintlaħaq.

Public appointments and Parliament’s responsibilities

Il-Parlament Malti

Two press conferences yesterday evening placed more information relative to the oil commissions scandal in the public domain, just a few hours after two other businessmen were arraigned in Court.

With four men in court on charges of corruption, bribery and money laundering the two press conferences resulted in various other declarations which would result in a queue of resignations in any civilised country.

There seems to be anticipated delight in the pot calling the kettle black.

In this scenario, a number of omissions by those elected to Parliament over the years assume additional significance.

One undoubtedly queries the lack of a Whistleblowers Act which if enacted in accordance with electoral commitments would have established long ago clear parameters to be followed by those divulging information on economic crime (corruption, bribery and money laundering). In its absence we are still dependent of the elected politicians’ use of the instrument of “state evidence” on the basis of ad hoc criteria.

Alternattiva Demokratika yesterday focused on another important point: the manner in which appointments to public office are made. To date the powers of Parliament  have been usurped and transferred to Cabinet such that it is the Prime Minister or his Minsters who appoint  members of Boards or Authorities.

Parliament should reclaim its responsibilities as it should be Parliament that should decide on the appointment of Boards and Authorities of a national importance. Nominated members  of Boards of Public Authorities as well as the senior officials of such Authorities should be scrutinised by Parliament either directly or through its committees in order to ascertain that those nominated can truely serve the country and not the political interests of the political party in government.

Parliament should moreover be in a position to monitor the functions of Boards and Authorities on a continuous basis and should seek explanations from the Boards of Public Authorities and their Senior Executives on their method of operation. Parliament should ensure that whenever the operations of any public authority are scutinised by the Ombudsman his recommendations and their implementation should be discussed by Parliament.

Parliament should reclaim back from government its role of overseeer of the governance of public institutions. Unfortunately over the years a two-party Parliament has siphoned off Parliament’s responsibilities and assigned them to a government made out of just one political party.

AD in Parliament will ensure that Parliament reclaims back its functions and holds government to account continuously.

Originally published in on 22nd February 2013