Il-Korruzzjoni m’għandhiex kulur

Id-dibattitu dwar il-korruzzjoni fil-gżejjer Maltin ma jispiċċa qatt. Il-korruzzjoni m’għandhiex kulur u tiddependi ħafna fuq kultura ta’ klijenteliżmu u fuq istituzzjonijiet dgħajfa jew imdgħajfa. Sfortunatament, ma teżisti l-ebda rieda politika biex dan ikun indirizzat.

Ma tidher l-ebda azzjoni ċara u konkreta li tikkorrispondi mad-diskors pubbliku u ma jaqta’ xejn dwar tolleranza żero għall-korruzzjoni.

Ir-resistenza tal-Ministri Edward Scicluna, Konrad Mizzi u Chris Cardona biex tinfetaħ inkjesta kriminali minn maġistrat dwar l-allegazzjonijiet tal-kompliċità kriminali tagħhom in konnessjoni mal-ftehim tal-Vitals Global Healthcare dwar l-isptarijiet ma tinftiehemx. Prim Ministru b’tolleranza żero għall-korruzzjoni kien jitlob l-inkjesta hu stess. Inkella kien ikun minn ta’ quddiem biex jappoġġja t-talba li saret.

Kieku l-Partit Laburista kellu tolleranza żero għall-korruzzjoni ilu li bagħat lil Konrad Mizzi u lil Keith Schembri jixxejru. Il-fatt li l-mexxej Laburista Joseph Muscat ma aġixxiex b’dan il-mod ifisser li hu dispost li jagħlaq għajnejh għall-irregolaritajiet li jagħmlu ta’ madwaru. F’dawn iċ-ċirkustanzi, Partit Laburista b’tolleranza żero għall-korruzzjoni kien jiġbed widnejn il-mexxej tiegħu u jwissieh li jiemu magħduda jekk ma jibdilx triqtu. Il-fatt li l-Partit Laburista ma għamel xejn minn dan ifisser ħaġa waħda: li korruzzjoni hi tollerata.

Ikun għaqli jekk niftakru illi fl-istadji inizzjali tal-iskandlu magħruf bħala Panama Papers diversi membri tal-Grupp Parlamentari tal-Partit Laburista irreaġixxew għal dan kollu bil-bibien magħluqa.

F’April u Mejju tal-2016 kienet ħarġet l-istorja li mhux il-Partit Laburista kollu hu illuppjata dwar allegazzjonijiet ta’ korruzzjoni. Id-dibattitu intern, kif irrappurtat fil-medja, kien imqanqal, imma ma wassal għall-ebda azzjoni konkreta.

Il-Partit Nazzjonalista, għalkemm fl-Opposizzjoni, ma jistax ikun alternattiva għal dan għax minkejja li l-kritika tiegħu hi korretta mhuwiex kredibbli.

Il-Partit Nazzjonalista eleġġa mexxej li ftit li xejn jispira fiduċja fost il-pubbliku. Primarjament dan hu minħabba l-informazzjoni li toħroġ minn rapporti investigattivi dwaru ppubblikati minn Daphne Caruana Galizia, informazzjoni li turi kif diversi drabi ma aġixxiex b’mod korrett. Il-politku ma’ għandux il-possibilità li jagħżel meta jixgħel is-switch tal-imġieba etika. L-imġieba tal-politiku meta ma jkunx taħt il-lenti tal-opinjoni pubblika hi l-iktar indikattiva dwar x’isarraf. Il-kaz ta’ klijenti tal-uffiċju legali ta’ Adrian Delia li bbenefikaw minn dħul minn briedel f’Londra huwa eżempju prattiku ta’ dan. Meta l-informazzjoni kienet ippubblikata Delia fetaħ libell imma wara mhux biss irtirah imma ma ħa l-ebda passi alternattivi biex jisganċa ruħu minn dak li ntqal bl-iswed fuq l-abjad dwaru.

L-istess għandu jingħad dwar ix-xhieda ġuramentata tad-Deputat Nazzjonalista Claudio Grech dwar l-iskandlu taż-żejt liema xhieda ngħatat quddiem il-Kumitat Parlamentari għall-Kontijiet Pubbliċi. Dakinnhar Grech qal li ma kienx jiftakar jekk qatt iltaqa’ ma’ George Farrugia, il-moħħ wara l-iskandlu u li wara ngħata l-maħfra biex jikxef kollox. Il-Kap tal-PN ta’ dakinnhar, Simon Busuttil, bl-ebda mod ma rreaġixxa għal din l-imġieba. Ma ttieħdu l-ebda passi kontra Claudio Grech mill-PN f’dan il-kaz li bosta jqisuh bħala li pprova jevita li jikxef informazzjoni ta’ relevanza għal għarfien aħjar ta’ fatti tal-iskandlu.

Fid-dawl ta’ nuqqas ta’ kredibilità, meta l-Opposizzjoni Parlamentari (kif kostitwita illum) titkellem, l-impatt ta’ dak li tgħid bi kritika tal-Gvern ftit hu effetttiv.

Dan nistgħu narawh ukoll fid-dawl ta’ każi ta’ governanza ħażina li jikkomunikaw messaġġ wieħed: il-PL u l-PN huma pezza waħda. Eżempju ċar ta’ dan hu l-kaz tal-involviment ta’ Mario Demarco fin-negozjati kuntrattwali tad-dB fil-kwalità tiegħu ta’ konsulent legali tal-Grupp dB, meta fl-istess ħin kien Viċi Kap tal-Opposizzjoni u kelliemi għall-Finanzi. Għalkemm Mario Demarco għamel apoloġija pubblika dwar dan meta l-qiegħa kienet saħnet, il-ħsara li seħħet kienet sostanzjali. Il-messaġġ ċar li ġie kkomunikat dakinnhar kien li l-aħjar elementi tal-Opposizzjoni Parlamentari ma kinux kapaċi jiddistingwu bejn l-obbligi pubbliċi u l-interessi privati tagħhom.

Ikun opportun ukoll li niftakru fid-diversi rapporti tal-Awditur Ġenerali dwar abbuż minn propjetà pubblika meta din kienet responsabbiltà politika tad-deputat Jason Azzopardi. Il-PN fl-ebda ħin ma esiġa li Azzopardi jerfa’ r-responsabbiltà politika għall-frejjeġ li ħalla warajh.

Il-governanza ħażina u l-korruzzjoni huma kuġini. Waħda twassal għall-oħra. Xi minn daqqiet hemm min jitfixkel waħda mal-oħra.

Alternattiva Demokratika dejjem kienet ċara. Dejjem kellna tolleranza żero kemm għall-korruzzjoni kif ukoll għall-governanza ħażina. Sfortunatament, la l-PN u l-anqas il-PL ma jistgħu jgħidu l-istess.

ippubblikat fuq Illum : Il-Ħadd 17 ta’ Novembru 2019

 

 

 

Corruption is colour-blind

The debate on local corruption is never-ending. Corruption is colour-blind and is heavily dependent upon a clientelist culture, as well as on the existence of weak or weakened institutions. In addition, unfortunately, there is currently no political will to address either.

The never-ending public utterances on zero-tolerance to corruption are not matched with clear-cut action.

The resistance by Cabinet Ministers Edward Scicluna, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona to the initiation of a magisterial criminal inquiry into the allegation concerning their criminal complicity in the Vitals Global Healthcare Hospitals deal is mind-boggling. A Prime Minister with a zero-tolerance to corruption would have requested the inquiry himself. Alternatively, he should have been the first to support the NGO-requested investigation.

A Labour Party which has a zero-tolerance to corruption would have sent Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri packing ages ago. The fact that Labour leader Joseph Muscat did not so act signifies that he is willing to turn a Nelson eye to his colleagues’ misdemeanours. In these circumstances a corruption zero-tolerant Labour Party would have given notice to its leader that his days are numbered if he does not change his ways. The fact that the Labour Party did not so act gives one clear message: it is corruption-tolerant.

It would be pertinent to point out that, in the initial stages of the Panama Papers debate, various members of the Labour Party Parliamentary group reacted behind closed doors. Way back in April and May of 2016, leaks in the media had indicated that not all of the Labour Party is anesthetised in its reactions to allegations of corruption. The internal debate, as then reported, was fierce, but it did not lead to concrete action.

The Nationalist Party, although in opposition, is no alternative to all this, as its criticism, though correct, is not credible.

The Nationalist Party has elected a leader who does not inspire much confidence in the public, primarily as a result of the investigative reports published by Daphne Caruana Galizia which unearthed information that illustrated the various instances in which he acted unethically. Holders of political office have no choice as to when to switch on to an ethical behaviour mode. Their behaviour when they were not under the glaring spotlight of public opinion is most indicative of their ethical worth. A case in point is Adrian Delia’s legal representation of clients benefitting from earnings from London-based brothels in respect of which published information he instituted legal action that he later withdrew. Subsequently he took no action which disproves anything that was published about this brothel business.

Likewise, no action was taken in respect of the sworn testimony of senior PN Member of Parliament Claudio Grech when giving witness in front of the Public Accounts Committee in its inquiry on the oil scandal. Grech had then stated that he did not recollect if he had ever met George Farrugia, the prime mover in the oil scandal, who was eventually pardoned to reveal all. The then PN leader, Simon Busuttil, had not reacted to this behaviour and no action whatsoever was initiated against Claudio Grech by the PN in what most consider a case of avoiding spilling information of relevance.

In view of its lack of credibility, whenever the Parliamentary Opposition – as presently constituted- speaks up, the impact of what has been revealed about Government’s dubious practices is severely diluted.

This could be viewed also with reference to serious issues of bad governance which communicate one clear message: they are cut from the same cloth. A case in point is Mario Demarco’s involvement in the dB contract negotiations as legal advisor to the dB Group, at a time when he was Deputy Leader of the Opposition and its spokesperson on Finance. Though Mario Demarco issued a public apology when the matter made headlines, the damage done was substantial. The clear message conveyed was that the better elements of the Parliamentary Opposition are incapable of drawing a line between their public duties and their private interests.

We may also deem it fit to remember the various reports issued by the Auditor-General on the mis-management of government property. At the time, this was the political responsibility of the Hon Jason Azzopardi but at no time was he asked by his party to shoulder political responsibility for the mess that he left behind.

Bad governance and corruption are cousins; one leads to the other and at times one is easily mistaken for the other.

At Alternattiva Demokratika we have always been clear: we are zero-tolerant in respect of both corruption and bad governance. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the PN and the PL.

published on The Malta Independent on Sunday: 17 November 2019

For sale : access to the decision-taking process

 

 

The Lowenbrau saga has raised another issue as to the extent that revolving door recruitment should be regulated. By revolving door recruitment I am referring to the movement from government service to private sector lobbying and vice-versa of holders of political office as well as of senior civil servants. As a result of such recruitment, an investment is being made in the access to the decision-taking process which is purchased or offered for sale.

Last Sunday, The Malta Independent on Sunday understandably raised the issue with reference to former Minister John Dalli in the article Revolving doors: John Dalli denies conflict of interest in Lowenbrau deal  (TMIS 22 January). However, the issue is much wider. It is a matter which is of concern in respect of the manner of operation of lobbying which in this country is largely unregulated. It has already happened not just in Mr Dalli’s recruitment with the Marsovin Group but also when the Corinthia Group recruited both Mr Dalli as well as current EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

It concerns both holders of political office as well as senior civil servants, including senior officers of authorities exercising executive authority.

There is much to learn from foreign jurisdictions as to the manner in which such recruitment should be regulated. A recent example which made the international headlines was the recruitment by Goldman Sachs of Josè Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission.  An ethics panel had described Mr Barroso’s behaviour as morally reprehensible even though it concluded that he was not in breach of the EU Integrity code.

Corporate Europe Observatory had then commented that the Barroso recruitment had “catapulted the EU’s revolving door problem onto the political agenda, causing widespread jaw-dropping and reactions of disbelief, making it a symbol of excessive corporate influence at the highest levels of the EU.”  Corporate Europe Observatory had also referred to the recruitment of other former European Commissioners by various corporations and emphasised that it is hard to avoid the conclusion that as a result of this behaviour European politicians are seen to be acting for private interests over the public interest.

This is the real significance of revolving door recruitment:  it needs to be ascertained that the potential abuse by holders of political office of milking public office for private gain is regulated. It is not just another layer of regulation or unnecessary bureaucracy.

The issue is however more complex than the recruitment of holders of political office at the end of their political appointment. It is also of relevance even when such holders of political office are appointed to such office from the private sector as can be ascertained through the current hearings by the US Senate of the Trump administration nominees. It is also applicable to senior civil servants from the wider public sector.

Parliament is currently debating a Standards in Public Life Bill, which at this point in time is pending examination at Committee stage. Unfortunately, revolving door recruitment as well as lobbying have not been considered by the legislator!   Revolving door recruitment is an exercise in selling and purchasing access to the decision-taking process. It is high time that it is placed under a continuous spotlight.

published in The Malta Independent: Wednesday 25 January 2017

Revolving doors: John Dalli and beyond

 

 

The Lowenbrau saga is developing further, much beyond its original obvious intent. The new twist is whether, and to what extent, the use of revolving doors by politicians as soon as their political office draws to an end is permissible.

The use of revolving doors is a reference to the practice of some politicians to join the Board of Directors or team of advisors of business/industry in an area which they would have been responsible for regulating when in office.

The practice in the EU and some other countries is to postpone the possible entry of former Commissioners (holders of political office) in the areas they previously regulated by three years. This signifies that former Commissioners (or Ministers) are forbidden (unless they obtain prior clearance) from joining Boards of Directors and/or organisations  of lobbyists for a number of years.  A case in point was the recent Barroso appointment to the Goldman Sachs Board which whilst being considered as being morally reprehensible was not deemed to be a breach of the EU integrity code.  

As far as I am aware, the Standards in Public Life Bill currently pending before Malta’s Parliament does not address the issue. The issues to be addressed are various. Primarily, however, it is urgent to establish a cooling-off length of time during which time persons active in public life should not take up posts in the private sector in order to ensure the observance of an ethical benchmark.

John Dallis taking up the post of Chairman of Marsovin is only one example. There are various others amongst which the posts which John Dalli himself as well as Karmenu Vella (present Commissioner and former Minister for Tourism) had taken up with the Corinthia Group in the past.

In fairness the applicability of such an ethical standard should also be considered for top civil servants, who should approach the use of revolving doors with extreme caution.  

Kulħadd irid jiekol !

Mario @ Parliament

 

L-aħbar li Mario de Marco, bħala avukat, qed jassisti waħda mill-kumpaniji tal-iGaming li l-ġimgħa l-oħra kellhom il-liċenzja tagħhom sospiża terġa’ tipponta lejn waħda mill-problemi fil-politika Maltija. Il-Membri Parlamentari Maltin  huma part-timers u jridu jibqgħu jipprattikaw il-professjoni tagħhom sakemm għadhom Membri tal-Parlament. Dan jiftaħ beraħ id-diskussjoni dwar il-konflitt ta’ interess potenzjali li għandu l-Membru Parlamentari Malti f’din is-sitwazzjoni.

Ovvjament, kulħadd irid jgħix, kulħadd irid jiekol!

Il-GRECO [il-grupp ta’ stati kontra l-korruzzjoni fil-Kunsill tal-Ewropa] jgħid hekk dwar il-Membri Parlamentari part-time ta’ Malta fl-aħħar rapport tiegħu li ġie ppubblikat f’Ġunju li għadda:

“Parliamentarians, in Malta are generally part-time legislators who also maintain their private practices. The potential for a conflict of interest due to the personal and professional networks and business links built across Malta, make maintaining decisionmaking independence, and being able to publically demonstrate this independence, a live issue.” (Fourth Evaluation report – 2014)

Sadanittant f’Malta, għoxrin xahar ilu kien konkluż rapport imħejji minn kumitat kompost mill-Ombudsman, l-Awditur Ġenerali u l-Kummissarju Elettorali Ewlieni, intitolat Recommended Remuneration Mechanism for Holders of Political Office. F’dan ir-rapport hemm diversi proposti li wasal iż-żmien li niddiskutuhom bis-serjetà. Dawn il-proposti jinkludu dawk dwar il-possibilità li l-Membri Parlamentari Maltin jibdew jaħdmu full-time fil-Parlament.

Ma jagħmilx sens li l-Membru Parlamentari Malti fil-għaxija jikkritika lill-Awtorità (hi liema hi) dwar kif din qed taħdem u fil-għodu fil-Qorti jassisti lil min jikkontesta l-mod kif tkun ħadmet l-istess awtorità. Il-Membru Parlamentari għandu juri b’mod ċar li hu legislatur indipendenti. Għax sakemm jibqa’ part-timer dejjem ser ikun hemm dubju raġjonevoli li ta’ l-inqas xi drabi huwa jkun immotivat mill-interessi tal-klijenti tiegħu iktar minn kull ħaġa oħra.

Taking care of tax evaders

HSBC Geneve

 

Joseph Muscat and the Labour Party pride themselves with emphasising that this Government has removed the statutory limitation (prescription) relative to corruption when holders of political office are criminally prosecuted.

It certainly was a step in the right direction. It still however requires the test of time to verify whether it is compatible with the human rights provisions of our Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights as was explained by former Strasbourg Judge Giovanni Bonello in his article Bribery and Genocide : the same? (Times of Malta April 20, 2013)

Such a clear stand against corruption contrasts with the provisions of Legal Notice 256 of 2014 entitled Investment Registration Scheme Regulations 2014 which launched the latest amnesty that can be utilised by Maltese citizens who evaded payment of income tax. Camouflaged through the use of Orwellian terminology as an “Investment Registration Scheme”, this amnesty, as others before it, did not treat holders of political office any differently from other tax evaders. It afforded them the same opportunities to be able to “regularise” their position absolving them from having committed an economic crime.

Apparently, this government considers tax evasion to be a crime which is substantially inferior to corruption. In fact, the recent cases brought to light by Swiss Leaks have revealed the ease with which former Cabinet Ministers have wriggled out of their tax evasion crimes that they had successfully concealed for around 40 years, including when in office.

During all these years, most of the funds which were accumulated in various bank accounts until they ended in an HSBC Genève account, reaped interest at varying rates depending on market conditions, which, as a result, increased the quantum of the undeclared funds. Had both the funds originally invested as well as the accumulated interests  been appropriately declared to the tax authorities in Malta , they would have been subject to between 35 per cent and 65 per cent  taxation in terms of Income Tax legislation. Yet the Investment Registration Scheme of 2014 allows self-confessed tax evaders off the hook subject to a  maximum 7.5 per cent registration fee! They even get a discount if they repatriate the funds! Apparently it pays to be a tax evader.

There are, however, some matters  which are not at all clear, yet.

Before insisting on his imaginary “right” not to be pestered by the press, former Minister Ninu Zammit had informed The Malta Independent on Sunday  that all his affairs were now “regularised”, having  made use of the 2014 amnesty to reap the benefits of his hoard stacked in Genève. He was also reported as having stated that the sources of his hoard was income derived from his professional activity  as well as various deals in landed property.

It is public knowledge that Zammit’s land deals were negotiated through the Malta registered limited liability company by the name of LENI Enterprises Limited of which he was both a shareholder and a director.  It is logical that any income from land deals would not only have a bearing on Ninu Zammit’s tax status but also on the reported performance and possible tax liabilities of LENI Enterprises Limited. In this respect, the  company’s financial reporting would certainly make very interesting reading.  Have its audited accounts been submitted to the Malta Financial Services Authority or its predecessors in terms of law?  Who has certified these accounts? What about the role of the auditors of LENI Enterprises Limited?  Is there the need to revisit the audited accounts of LENI Enterprises Limited due to the fact that at least one of its directors has benefited from the latest tax evasion amnesty?

As far as I am aware,  Legal Notice 256 of 2014 only absolves self-declared tax-evaders resident in Malta from their non-observance of income tax legislation. Other crimes could still be actionable .

Such other crimes would include false declarations to Cabinet in terms of the Ministerial Code of Ethics. There may also be other issues should these result from the investigations which the Commissioner of Inland Revenue is currently carrying out on the basis of the information which is now known.

There is however one important thing which we should never underestimate. The benevolence of the state towards tax evaders has no limits. It knows how to take care of these small details too.

 

published in the Malta Independent on Sunday – 1st March 2015

Riforma fil-ħidma tal-Parlament

parlament ta' Malta

Ir-rapport li l-Prim Ministru talab lill-Kumitat magħmul mill-Ombudsman, l-Awditur Ġenerali u l-Kummissarju Elettorali Prinċipali issa huwa magħruf. Mhux kollu hu magħruf,  iżda biċċiet minnu. Dawk il-biċċiet li min irrapporta dwarhom dehrlu li kienu importanti.

Fir-rapporti ppubblikati spikkaw is-salarji proposti għall-politiċi. Dak kien li l-Prim Ministru talab lill-Kumitat biex jirrapporta dwaru. Imma l-Kumitat magħmul mill-Ombudsman, l-Awditur Ġenerali u l-Kummissarju Elettorali Prinċipali ma waqafx hawn. Eżamina ukoll il-ħidma tal-Parlament u irrakkomanda riforma dwar kif jaħdem il-Parlament. Fosthom li l-membri tal-Parlament ikunu possibilment full-timers u dan billi jiddedikaw il-ħin kollu tagħhom għall-ħidma Parlamentari.

Hekk jaħdmu l-parti l-kbira tal-Parlamenti tad-dinja demokratika. Għax il-membru parlamentari mhux qiegħed hemm biss biex jagħmel xi mistoqsija parlamentari jew biex jieħu sehem f’dibattitu dwar xi liġi.  Qiegħed hemm ukoll biex jgħarbel il-ħidma tal-Gvern. U meta nitkellem dwar il-Gvern m’għandix f’moħħi biss il-Ministri jew is-Segretarji Parlamentari, imma ukoll kif joperaw id-Dipartimenti tal-Gvern u l-Awtoritajiet differenti.

Hija responsabbiltà tal-membri kollha tal-Parlament li kontinwament jeżaminaw il-ħidma kollha tal-Gvern u fl-interess ta’ dawk li eleġġewhom ifittxu li din il-ħidma tkun l-aħjar possibli. Dan jgħodd kemm għall-Membri Parlamentari fuq in-naħa tal-Gvern kif ukoll għal dawk fuq in-naħa tal-Opposizzjoni.  Dan l-eżami tal-ħidma tal-Gvern ma jsirx biżżejjed għax il-Membri tal-Parlament, billi jridu jlaħħqu ukoll ma xogħol ieħor m’għandhomx biżżejjed ħin biex jagħmlu dak li ġew eletti għalih.

Ir-rapport li l-Prim Ministru talab lill-Ombudsman, lill-Awditur Ġenerali u lill-Kummissarju Elettorali Prinċipali jeħtieġ li jkun eżaminat fit-totalità tiegħu. Huwa bla dubju kontroversjali imma jeħtieġ diskussjoni matura.

 

ippubblikat fuq iNews il-Ħamis 8 ta’ Jannar 2015

 

Mistoqsija lil Joseph u lil Simon

Muscat + Busuttil

 

 

Id-dibattitu pubbliku dwar l-onorarja, salarji u r-riforma meħtieġa dwar kif jaħdem il-Parlament ġie kontaminat minn kummenti immirati biex joqtlu diskussjoni serja.

Il-PN għadu mixgħuf bħala riżultat tal-mod dilettantesk kif żviluppa “l-iskandlu tal-€500 fil-ġimgħa”. Għalhekk il-PN qed jitkellem dwar “żieda ta’ €1000 fil-ġimgħa ” fis-salarju tal-Prim Ministru. F’moħħ il-partitarju jeħtieġ li jikkanċellaw skandlu b’ieħor.

Iżda l-każ hu ferm differenti milli qed jgħid il-PN u l-kelliema tiegħu. Dak li setà kien qabża fil-kwalità tad-dibattitu politiku fil-pajjiż spiċċa f’dibattitu kontaminat. Kontaminazzjoni li għaliha l-PN ingħataw għajnuna utli minn Joseph Muscat.

Il-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat f’April 2013 beda fuq nota pożittiva. Flok ma ħa d-deċiżjoni bejn l-erba’ ħitan ta’ Kastilja talab rapport indipendenti.   Qabbad tlieta min-nies rispettati minn kulħadd, avolja mhux kulħadd qabel li l-ħatra tagħhom kien kostituzzjonalment pass għaqli.  Dan l-ewwel pass kien pożittiv ħafna u kien jagħti x’jifhem li  d-diskussjoni politika, wara kollox, ankè f’Malta tista’ tkun ibbażata fuq ir-raġuni. Muscat kif aġixxa kien qed iwassal il-messaġġ li ankè f’Malta jista’ jkollna diskussjoni matura.

Meta Muscat talab ir-rapport ħafna fehmu li huwa ried f’idejh proposta li toriġina minn sorsi indipendenti u fdati u li għax toriġina minn dawn is-sorsi kienet tagħlef diskussjoni serja. Il-konklużjoni tad-diskussjoni setgħet kienet fil-linja tar-rapport inkella xi ħaġa oħra differenti. Imma bla dubju l-iskop kien wieħed ta’ diskussjoni serja fuq proposta ġejja minn sorsi serji u fdati.

Ir-rapport tlesta u wasal fl-uffiċċju ta’ Joseph Muscat fl-ewwel ġranet tal-2014, sena ilu. Imbagħad ………………… skiet taqtgħu b’sikkina. Bla dubju Joseph Muscat  qara r-rapport u ħakk rasu. Imma baqa’ sieket sa mal-Malta Independent ippubblikaw il-konklużjonijiet tar-rapport dwar is-salarji. Wara dan l-Independent ippubblikaw dettalji oħra li jirriżultaw mir-rapport.

L-iktar inkwetanti kien il-pubblikazzjoni tal-kumment ta’ Joseph Muscat li hu ma jaqbilx mar-rakkomandazzjonijiet li r-rapport mitlub minnu wasal għalihom. Qal ukoll li hu ma jridx żieda fis-salarju la issa, la fi tmiem il-leġislatura u l-anqas wara.

X’ġara? Ovvju ħafna għalija x’ġara. Meta Joseph Muscat qara r-rapport ikkonkluda mill-ewwel li t-tweġiba politika tal-partit l-ieħor kienet ser tkun bl-istess linġwaġġ li hu (Muscat) iffaċċja lil Lawrence Gonzi fil-leġislatura l-oħra. Mediċina morra ħafna li ma ħasibx fiha qabel ma talab ir-rapport, għax kif żviluppaw l-affarijiet naħseb li din ir-reazzjoni kienet sfortunatament waħda inevitabbli.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan Joseph Muscat ipprova jiddistakka ruħu mir-rakkomandazzjonijiet dwar is-salarji. Dan kien attentat ftit tard biex joqtol id-diskussjoni qabel ma tibda. Imma d-diskussjoni diffiċli toqtolha u bi żball tattiku bħal dan inqas għandu ċans.

Ir-rapport li ħejjew l-Ombudsman, l-Awditur Ġenerali u l-Kummissarju Elettorali Ewlieni huwa dak l-eżerċizzju serju li talab il-Prim Ministru f’April 2013. Bla dubju huwa kontroversjali mhux ftit. Imma jekk irridu diskussjoni matura, dan ir-rapport ipoġġi quddiemna r-rejaltajiet li jeħtieġ illi niffaċċjaw. Huwa bażi tajba għal diskussjoni.

Hi ħasra li dan id-dibattitu ġie kontaminat.

Il-mistoqsija lil Joseph u lil Simon hi waħda: il-politika ġdida għal meta?

In-nuqqas ta’ serjeta: tal-Gvern u l-Opposizzjoni

honoraria campaign

 

Ir-reazzjonijiet tal-Gvern u l-Opposizzjoni għar-rapport  intitolat Recommended Remuneration for Holders of Political Office f’pajjiż demokratku huma tal-mistħija.

Il-Gvern permezz tal-Prim Ministru li ikkummissjona r-rapport qal li ma jaqbilx mas-salarji proposti. Lest jiddiskuti kollox, barra s-salarji.

L-Opposizzjoni min-naħa tagħha qed tagħmel żewġ kundizzjonijiet biex tiddiskuti r-rapport: li Joseph jammetti li l-kampanja li għamel kontra l-onorarja kienet waħda “ipokrita” u li qatt ma huma lesti li jaċċettaw żieda ta’ €1,000 fil-ġimgħa għall-Prim Ministru.

Dawn bis-serjeta’ jew?

Fl-opinjoni tiegħi l-parti tas-salarji fir-rapport tal-Ombudsman/Awditur Ġenerali/Kummissarju Elettorali Ewlieni hi l-inqas parti importanti tar-rapport.

Hi iktar importanti l-parti li titkellem dwar il-ħtieġa ta’ riforma tal-Parlament. Li l-Parlament ikun full-time u li l-ħinijiet tal-Parlament ikunu tali li ma jkunux skomdi għall-familji (family friendly).

Ir-rapport huwa meħtieġ li nħarsu lejħ bħala dokument sħiħ bid-diversi proposti tiegħu marbutin flimkien waħda ma l-oħra. Ma nistgħux niddiskutuh bil-biċċiet. Min jaqta’ min hawn u min jaqta’ min hemm.

Għandna bżonn ftit iktar serjeta. Neħtieġu diskussjoni matura. Imma wisq naħseb li ser nibqgħu nittewbu.

Salarju tal-Prim Ministru €94,000, daqs kemm kellu Austin Walker tal-MEPA ?

Austin Walker

 

L-Independent f’dawn il-ġranet żvela l-kontenut tar-rapport li l-Prim Ministru talab Kumitat magħmul mill-Ombudsman,l-Awditur Ġenerali u l-Kummissarju Elettorali Ewlieni dwar mekkaniżmu biex ikun stabilit il-ħlas li jirċievu l-politiċi (holders of political office).

Dan hu punt politiku li jirriżulta mill-polemika taż-żieda tal-€500 fil-ġimgħa li l-Kabinett immexxi minn Lawrence Gonzi ta’ lilu innifsu. Kien awto-goal li ħalla effetti negattivi mhux żgħar fuq il-Gvern immexxi mill-PN għax permezz ta’ dan il-pass idefinixxa lilu innifsu bħala Gvern insensittiv : għax fil-waqt li żied il-piż fuq iż-żgħir, fl-istess ħin ma iddejaqx jagħti lilu innifsu żidied sostanzjali.

L-Opposizzjoni dakinnhar għamlet dak li tagħmel kull Opposizzjoni: ħatfet l-opportunita’ li ngħatat lilha fuq platt. Kienet opportunita’ politika li għasritha u ħalbitha sa l-aħħar qatra possibli.

Għalhekk il-Gvern tal-lum qiegħed attent u qiegħed jipprova jiddistakka ruħu mill-proposti tal-Kumitat immexxi mill-Ombudsman Said Pullicino.

Ir-rapport tal-Kumitat immexxi mill-Ombudsman fih ħafna x’tiddiskuti.

Jiena u Arnold Cassola f’isem Alternattiva Demokratika iltqajna mal-Kumitat u iddiskutejna magħhom il-proposti li kienu qed jikkunsidraw. Huwa għalhekk ta’ sodisfazzjon għalina li l-Kumitat qabel ma waħda mill-proposti fil-programm elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika fl-aħħar elezzjoni ġenerali u għamilha tiegħu. Qed nirreferi għall-proposta li f’Malta l-Membri tal-Parlament ikunu full-timers.

Ir-rapport tal-Kumitat, li Alternattiva Demokratika ngħata kopja tiegħu madwar xahar ilu bil-kundizzjoni li żżommu kunfidenzjali, jemfasizza l-vantaġġi ta’ Membri Parlamentari li jiddedikaw il-ħin kollu tagħhom għall-ħidma Parlamentari tagħhom.

L-ikbar interess tal-gazzetti u l-aħbarijiet fuq l-istazzjonijiet tat-TV kienet ovvjament dwar is-salarji proposti.

Interessanti l-fatt li l-Kumitat qed jipproponi illi l-Prim Ministru jkollu salarju ta’ madwar €94,000. Għal min qed jaħseb li dan hu xi salarju fenomenali  tajjeb li tiftakru li Austin Walker Chairman tal-MEPA tħallas dan l-istess ammont kull sena  matul il-perjodu 2008-2013.

Diskussjoni interessanti avolja Joseph  Muscat qed jgħid li ma jaqbilx mar-rapport!