The mess created by Franco Debono

The current controversy as to whether it is appropriate for the Electoral Commission to be the authority overseeing the implementation of the Financing of Political Parties Act was anticipated over three years ago.

As far back as February 2014, Alternattiva Demokratika -the Green Party – in reaction to the White Paper published by the government on the regulation of the financing of political parties, had welcomed the initiative but had also queried the choice of the Electoral Commission as the regulating authority. This position was reiterated by  Alternattiva Demokratika in July 2014 when Minister Owen Bonnici and his advisor Franco Debono presented the finalised Bill.

Alternattiva Demokratika has consistently insisted on the identification of an acceptable alternative to the Electoral Commission as the regulating authority. This alternative was identified when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Standards in Public Life agreed to the setting-up of the post of a Commissioner for Standards in Public Life and on the 24 March 2014 concluded its workings by finalising a Bill for the purpose. This Bill was approved by Parliament on 22 March 2017 and, hopefully, its implementation process will start soon. The Commissioner for Standards in Public Life is to be appointed by – and requires the consent of a two-thirds majority in Parliament. This ensures that the appointee will be acceptable to everyone.

Alternattiva Demokratika’s position was subsequently adopted by the Nationalist Party, which  presented various amendments to the proposed legislation on party financing at the Parliamentary Committee stage. On behalf of Alternattiva Demokratika, I participated actively in this debate, even in the Parliamentary Committee dealing with Bills, and can attest that Government and its advisors consistently opposed the replacement of the Electoral Commission as the regulatory authority of choice.

The author of the basic draft of the Financing of Political Parties Bill, former MP Franco Debono, emphasised that he had modelled his proposal on UK legislation. He refused to consider, at any time, that the basic mechanics that determine the composition of the Maltese Electoral Commission clearly show that his proposal was a non-starter. He even refused to consider that the situation in the UK is completely different, in view of the fact that there is a long-standing tradition of appointing a truly independent Electoral Commission, so much so that very recently the said Commission, after a thorough investigation, fined the Conservative Party the maximum fine permissible at law for proven irregularities in party financial reporting!

In a document published by Alternattiva Demokratika way back in July 2014 to explain its position on the Financing of Political Parties Bill, it was stated that:  “ ……. the manner in which the Electoral Commission is composed, half appointed by Government with the other half appointed by the Opposition (and a Government appointed chairman) places the two parliamentary parties in such a position that they directly control the whole proposed process.”

The fact that the Electoral Commission is a constitutional authority already entrusted with specific duties spelled out in the Constitution is not a valid argument which can in any way justify its selection as the regulatory authority for political party financing. It has to be borne in mind that the only reason why the Electoral Commission carries out its electoral duties adequately is due to the detailed and entrenched legislation which regulates the electoral process, which legislation is so tightly drawn up that it leaves very little, if any, space for political manoeuvring.

The Electoral Commission currently has three complaints on its agenda which point to three infringements of the political party financing legislation. The Labour Party, primarily on the basis of statements by the db Group as well as reports in the press, is insisting that it has proof that the Nationalist Party is circumventing the regulations on political donations by camouflaging them as payment for fake services. The way forward is to have the matter thoroughly investigated. Unfortunately, due to its composition, the Electoral Commission is not and cannot ever be a credible investigating authority.

The PN is thus right to oppose an investigation led by a politically-appointed Electoral Commission and to challenge the matter in Court. Obviously, this may be a convenient way out for the PN, handed to them on a platter by the Labour Government and its advisor Franco Debono.

Alternattiva Demokratika would have preferred it if the law were better drafted without leaving any room for the PN (and possibly Labour too, at a later stage) to wriggle out of its obligations.

This will, however now signify that in these crucial months leading to a general election, the rules regulating party financing will be largely ineffective while the validity of the law is dissected in our Courts of Law.

This is a mess created by Franco Debono who preferred his narcissistic posturing to the identification of reasonable proposals acceptable to all political parties. Whether the government will, at this late stage, seek a reasonable way out is anyone’s guess.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 9 April 2017

Joseph Church : waħdu fin-nofs

 

 

Is-Sur Joseph Church hu l-Kummissarju Elettorali Ewlieni. Huwa uffiċjal pubbliku. Jmexxi l-Kummissjoni Elettorali magħmula minn 9 membri: 4 nominati mill-Prim Ministru, 4 oħra nominati mill-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni flimkien mas-Sur Joseph Church.

Meta l-Gvern ippreżenta l-abbozz ta liġi dwar il-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi mill-ewwel insista li l-awtoritá li kellha tieħu ħsieb it-twettiq ta dawn l-obbligi kellha tkun il-Kummissjoni Elettorali. Il-Gvern insista dwar dan għax il-konsulent legali tiegħu Franco Debono repetutament insista dwar dan. Kienu jgħidu li hekk hi l-liġi Ingliża!

Alternattiva Demokratika dejjem insistiet li kien żball li din ir-responsabbiltá titqiegħed f’ħoġor il-Kummissjoni Elettorali għax din, minħabba l-komposizzjoni tagħha, fl-iktar mumenti kritiċi tieħu posizzjoni partiġġjana biċ-Chairman fin-nofs irid jiddeċiedi prattikament hu l-iktar kwistjonijiet jaħarqu.

Franco Debono u Owen Bonnici kienu jgħidu li l-Kummissjoni Elettorali dejjem mexxiet tajjeb l-elezzjonijiet kollha li kellha l-inkarigu li tmexxi. Dawn forsi qatt ma irrealizzaw li l-liġijiet elettorali tant huma dettaljati li l-Kummissjoni Elettorali ftit għandha fejn tiċċaqlaq u anke kieku riedet kważi qatt ma setgħet tagħti deċiżjonijiet differenti milli tat!

Fuq kollox il-Kummissjoni Elettorali Ingliża hi komposta bmod differenti u fiha persuni li huma verament indipendenti. Il-Kummissjoni Elettorali Maltija għandha tmienja minn disa membri li mhumiex u l-anqas qatt ma jistgħu jkunu indipendenti, avolja huma lkoll persuni serji. Hemm ta’ l-inqas tlieta minnhom li kienu kandidati felezzjonijiet ġenerali. Hemm min minnhom anke illum hu direttur ta Korpi Parastatali nnominat mill-Gvern!

Fdawn iċċirkustanzi Alternattiva Demokratika kienet ipproponiet li l-awtoritá dwar il-finanzjament tal-partiti għandha tkun fil-Kummissarju għall-Istandards fil-Ħajja Pubblika li l-Liġi dwaru ġiet approvata riċentement.

Wara xi żmien li Alternattiva Demokratika kienet ħarġet bdin il-proposta, il-Partit Nazzjonalista ukoll kien ħareġ idoqq l-istess diska. Imma l-Gvern webbes rasu.

Mela illum tiddeċiedi l-Kummissjoni Elettorali.

Immaġinaw ftit xinhi l-posizzjoni tal-Kummissjoni meta titalab tinvestiga liżżewġ partiti l-kbar. Diġa hawn l-ewwel każijiet u hemm d-diffikultajiet. It-Times qed tirrapporta li wara li ġie diskuss il-każ tal-invoices tal-PN/Silvio Debono hemm membri tal-Kummissjoni li qed joġġezzjonaw li l-Kummissjoni Elettorali tkun hi li tinvestiga u taqta l-każ.

Ovvja, 4 jaqblu u 4 ma jaqblux. U jispiċċa jiddeċiedi ċ-Chairman is-Sur Joseph Church, waħdu, war li jkun qies il-parir legali li jirċievi.

Dan kollu seta jkun evitat kieku l-Gvern ta każ tal-fehma ta Alternattiva Demokratika li kienet ippreżentata bil-miktub kemm meta ħarġet il-White Paper kif ukoll iktar tard meta ħareġ l-abbozz ta liġi.

Simon Busuttil u l-kannibaliżmu politiku

salvu-times-230916

Simon irid koalizzjoni. Koalizzjoni kontra l-korruzzjoni. Imma l-koalizzjoni m’għandiex tkun biss kontra l-korruzzjoni, imma fuq kollox għandha tkun koalizzjoni favur it-tmexxija għaqlija (good governance).

Għal Simon Busuttil l-unika mod kif tieħu forma din il-koalizzjoni hi jekk tinġabar fi ħdan il-Partit Nazzjonalista. Fil-prattika dan ifisser li Simon Busuttil irid li jibla l-partiti ż-żgħar billi jipprova jikkondizzjonhom illi jekk huma kontra l-korruzzjoni (u favur it-tmexxija għaqlija) posthom hu mal-Partit Nazzjonalista. Dan qiegħed jingħad b’mod ċar ħafna bħal per eżempju fl-editorjal tat-Times ta’ nhar il-Ġimgħa 23 ta’ Settembru 2016 intitolat How many a Salvu is there?

It-Times bħal Simon tgħid li “Given our electoral system, to achieve that realistically would mean that people like Mr Mallia, Dr Farrugia and others who share the same ideals would have to stand on the PN ticket even if they might not feel totally at home with the party.”

Imma t-Times iżżid tgħid li dan kollu (li l-koalizzjoni isseħħ ġewwa l-PN) hi “an issue of concern”. Għax, ikompli jargumenta l-editorjal tat-Times, li tirbaħ elezzjoni mhux kollox. Għax wara irid ikollok il-kapaċità li tiggverna.

L-editorjal jirreferi għall-instabilità tal-Gvern ta’ Lawrence Gonzi b’referenzi speċifiċi għal Franco Debono u Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando u jagħti parir lill-Partit Nazzjonalista li jekk qed joħlom dwar l-allejanzi għandu jaħseb fit-tul, għax l-allejanzi għandhom ikunu ibbażati “on sound political principles and on a clear and agreed electoral programme”. Dan hu l-messaġġ rejali tat-Times u mhux il-lixka li bela sa grixmejh Salvu Mallia. Il-Times ġustament qed temfasizza li x-xogħol rejali tal-koalizzjoni li qed joħlom biha Simon jibda wara l-elezzjoni u allura huwa importanti ħafna li koalizzjoni tkun mibnija fuq programm politiku miftiehem u mhux li individwi jintelqu fi ħdan partit avolja jafu (kif iddikjara Salvu Mallia innnifsu) li hemm diversi affarijiet li dwarhom ma jaqblux mal-istess partit.

Il-proposta ta’ Simon Busuttil hi ibbażata fuq il-kannibaliżmu politiku. Koalizzjoni serja min-naħa l-oħra tkun ibbażata fuq programm politiku miftiehem u fuq ir-rispett sħiħ tal-elementi kollha li jiffurmawha. Ma hemmx lok għal fiduċja għamja. Il-fiduċja għamja fit-tmexxija politika, bħala pajjiż, wasslitna sal-punt diżastruż li qegħdin fih illum.

Is-soluzzjoni għall-kriżi etika fil-politika Maltija mhiex li tkun ikkonsolidata sistema ta’ Parlament b’żewġ partiti imma li jkollna Parlament b’iżjed minn żewġ partiti. Ma hemmx bżonn emendi fil-liġijiet tal-pajjiż biex dan ikun jista’ jsir. Isir meta jirnexxielna nfehmu lin-nies li din hi is-saħħa rejali tal-vot ta’ kull wieħed u waħda minna.

Għax filwaqt li hu importanti li min m’għandux idea ta’ tmexxija għaqlija (good governance) jaqla’ ċamata tajba fl-elezzjoni ġenerali li jmiss, huwa daqstant ieħor importanti li l-ebda partit politiku ma jkollu iktar il-kontroll assolut tal-makkinarju tal-istat.

Din hi l-ikbar u l-aħjar garanzja kontra l-korruzzjoni u favur it-tmexxija għaqlija.

Bejn Owen Bonnici u Franco Debono

owen bonnici + franco debono

Dawn l-aħħar ġranet, Franco Debono ta bosta pariri lil Owen Bonnici fuq il-medja soċjali. Ma nafx x’ma qallux.

Wara li Owen ħa żball madornali u ta parir lill-Kabinet dwar il-ħatra ta’ maġistrati li kull min jifhem qed jgħid li ma setgħux jinħatru, naħseb li Franco għandu biċċa xogħol mhux żgħira.

Għax Franco Debono dan l-aħħar kien qed iħambaq dwar il-ħtieġa li jkun hemm għarfien aħjar tal-Kostituzzjoni. Forsi jkun utli għal Franco li jfiehem ftit lil Owen dwar dawk il-partijiet tal-Kostituzzjoni li jitkellmu fuq il-ħatra tal-maġistrati, għax jidher li Owen fehmhom ħażin!

Trying to squeeze out the small political parties?

Financing of Political Parties ActStandards in Public Life Bill

 

Legislation regulating the financing of political parties in Malta is long overdue. Alternattiva Demokratika has been harping on about this subject since its foundation in 1989 and has referred  to it in all the general election campaigns since.

Former MP Franco Debono has been a driving force over the last few years in ensuring that the financing of political parties has been an item retained on the national agenda.

The Parliamentary Committee for the consideration of Bills is currently examining the Financing of Political Parties Bill in detail. On behalf of Alternattiva Demokratika, I had the opportunity to be present at a number of sittings and also participated in the ensuing discussion after being invited to do so by the Parliamentary Committee.

While the general thrust of the Bill is reasonable, it contains three basic mistakes which, if unchecked, will impact the whole regulatory process. The first is over-regulation. The second is the retention of absolute control directly in the hands of representatives of the Parliamentary political parties which, in turn, leads to the third fault- this being a one-size-fits-all template.

I will take each in turn.

The over-regulating aspect of the Bill has been watered down, as  Minister Owen Bonnici was very flexible when faced with this criticism. He accepted various amendments to the Bill, scaling down  various  provisions relating to the proposed regulation of political parties.

The government is proposing that the regulating authority on party political financing should be the Electoral Commission. It attempts to justify its stance by pointing out  that the General Elections Act already assigns responsibility to the Electoral Commission to receive, and where necessary vet, the expenses made and donations received by candidates in general, local and European elections in Malta. However, Minister Owen Bonnici, who is piloting the Bill,  was not in a position to explain why the Electoral Commission had never taken any action when faced with a blatant disregard for the rules by candidates in past elections.

The alternative proposal, initially piloted by Alternattiva Demokratika but subsequently also taken up by the PN Opposition, would see the regulatory authority on political party financing vested in the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life. This Commissioner would be a  Parliamentary Official, to be elected subject to the support of two-thirds of Members of Parliament when the Standards in Public Life Bill, currently pending on Parliament’s agenda, is approved. Enjoying the support of two-thirds of MPs would signify that the person selected would enjoy widespread support and consequently his or her moral authority would be substantial and effective.

During the discussion Minister Owen Bonnici declared that the Council of Europe’s GRECO (Group of States Against Corruption) was  breathing down his neck  and consequently the government could not afford to await alternative institution building.

A major stumbling block is the composition of the Electoral Commission itself. This is determined in the Constitution, with four of its members being nominated by the Prime Minister and  another four members  being nominated by the Leader of the Opposition. The chairman of the Electoral Commission is always a civil servant nominated by the Prime Minister. This signifies that the parliamentary political parties, through their absolute control of the Electoral Commission, end up regulating themselves through their nominees. But what is even worse is the fact that they also control the regulatory process for all other political parties which may consider registering.

It seems that this rigid control of the regulatory process by the parliamentary political parties is not enough.  To be sure of tightening even further the resulting control, the Financing of Political Parties Bill also adopts a one-size fits-all template. It does this by ignoring reality and makes no distinction between the political parties having seven-digit turnover and the rest. Nor does it distinguish between the political parties run by full-time professionals paid for their services, at least in part through funds arising from donations, and political parties run by volunteers with an annual turnover averaging €10,000. The one-size-fits-all approach is, however, not extended to state financing. For the past 20 years, both the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party parliamentary groups have been receiving €100,000 in public funds annually.

The proposed  rigid reporting and auditing requirements that may be reasonable for political parties with seven-digit budgets are certainly quite unreasonable for a political party such as Alternattiva Demokratika, run by volunteers on a shoestring budget which averages €10,000 annually.

The limited administrative capacity of small parties is not factored in the Bill under consideration.

The end result may well be that there will be considerable administrative difficulties for political parties not presently in parliament to register as political parties once the Bill under discussion becomes law. (It has to be borne in mind that only political parties registered in terms of an eventual   Financing of Political Parties Act will be able to present candidates in all elections in Malta. All other candidates will be considered as independent candidates and grouped together at the lower part of the ballot paper.)

Mixed messages have come through during the debate on this Bill. Unfortunately, however, the message at these final stages is that there is also a clear but undeclared objective of the Financing of Political Parties Bill– to squeeze out the small political parties.

In the coming months we will see whether this undeclared objective can be overcome.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday, 5 July 2015

 

 

Il-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi: Ħtieġa ta’ kunsens wiesa’

Hisilicon K3

L-editorjal tat-Times tal-lum jitkellem dwar is-sorveljanza tal-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi. Suġġett traskurat għal snin twal u li llum dwaru fil-Parlament għaddejja diskussjoni dwar abbozz ta’ liġi. Dwar dan l-abbozz, u l-fatt li wasalna sa hawn, kif diġà għedt drabi oħra, għandu mertu kemm Franco Debono kif ukoll il-Gvern tal-lum.

Alternattiva Demokratika ilha ukoll is-snin titkellem dwar il-materja. Dan għamlitu sa mill-ewwel programm elettorali tagħha fl-elezzjoni ġenerali tal-1992, l-ewwel darba li kkontestat elezzjoni ġenerali. Bħala AD ppubblikajna żewġ dokumenti dwar il-proposti li għandu quddiemu llum il-Parlament. L-ewwel wieħed kien dokument bir-reazzjonijiet ta’ AD għall-White Paper. Sussegwentement ħejjejna u ppubblikajna wkoll dokument bi tweġiba għall-proposti kif dettaljati fl-abbozz ta’ liġi.

Fil-prinċipju l-abbozz ta’ liġi ppreżentat hu tajjeb imma jirrikjedi diversi emendi.

Preżentament, fil-fatt, l-abbozz qiegħed jiġi diskuss fil-Kumitat Parlamentari dwar il-Liġijiet. Jiena qed nieħu sehem f’din id-diskussjoni u dan għax intlaqgħet it-talba ta’ AD għal parteċipazzjoni f’din id-diskussjoni u ġejt mistieden biex inkun nista’ nieħu sehem fiha.

Id-diskussjoni fil-Kumitat Parlamentari issa waslet bejn wieħed u ieħor sa nofs l-abbozz tal-liġi u nista’ ngħid li f’ħafna każi l-abbozz ġie mtejjeb billi ġew ikkunsidrati bis-serjetà d-diversi proposti li saru. Dan iżda ma sarx għall-iktar punt importanti tal-liġi. Il-Gvern, permezz tal-Ministru Owen Bonnici, ma jridx jiċċaqlaq mill-proposta li l-awtorità li tirregola l-finanzjament tal-partiti politiċi tkun il-Kummissjoni Elettorali.

Alternattiva Demokratika ilha xhur twal issa li għamlet il-proposta li flok il-Kummissjoni Elettorali l-awtorità regolatorja għandha tkun f’idejn il-Kummissarju tal-Istandards fil-Ħajja Pubblika, uffiċjal parlamentari li dwaru hemm abbozz ta’ liġi pendenti fuq l-aġenda parlamentari. Hu propost f’dan l-abbozz li dan l-uffiċjal jinħatar bil-kunsens ta’ żewġ terzi tal-membri parlamentari. B’hekk ikun hemm kunsens wiesa’ fuq il-persuna li tinħatar li bla dubju taġixxi lil hinn mill-influwenza tal-partiti politiċi kollha.

Kien għalhekk ta’ sodisfazzjon li sussegwentment anke l-Partit Nazzjonalista adotta l-istess pożizzjoni u insista fuq dan waqt id-diskussjoni fil-Parlament.

Imma l-Gvern ma jaqbilx ma’ dan għal żewġ raġunijiet. L-ewwel qed jgħid li l-Kummissjoni Elettorali hi struttura eżistenti u għalhekk għax hu mgħaġġel biex iħaddem il-liġi l-ġdida [għax qed jiġri warajh il-GRECO mill-Kunsill tal-Ewropa: GRECO = Group of States Against Corruption] jippreferi jagħmel użu mill-Kummissjoni Elettorali. It-tieni, il-Gvern qed jgħid li l-Kummissjoni Elettorali hi korp kostituzzjonali li diġà in parti għandu responsabbiltajiet dwar il-finanzjament tal-politika u dan għax “suppost” li diġà jissorvelja l-infiq tal-kandidati fl-elezzjonijiet diversi.

Sfortunatement il-Gvern qed jinjora l-fatt li kif komposta l-Kummissjoni Elettorali, għal raġunijiet storiċi, hi dominata minn rappreżentanza tal-partiti politiċi fil-parlament [4 mill-PN, 4 mill-PL u Chairman miċ-Ċivil magħżul mill-Gvern tal-ġurnata]. Dan ifisser li l-partiti politiċi fil-parlament għandhom aċċess għall-informazzjoni fuq il-partiti l-oħra li mhumiex u per konsegwenza kontroll sħiħ fuq il-proċess kollu.

Jagħmel tajjeb il-Gvern kieku jfittex kunsens anke fuq dan il-punt, kif wara kollox għamel b’suċċess fuq partijiet oħra tal-liġi.

ippubblikat fuq iNews l-Erbgħa 1 ta’ Lulju 2015

Il-Konvenzjoni Kostituzzjonali iġġammjat

Kostituzzjoni ta' Malta

Fi tmiem il-ġimgħa li għaddiet smajna diversi kummenti dwar il-ħtieġa li  l-Konvenzjoni Kostituzzjonali tiċċaqlaq. Jidher ċar li preżentement hi ġġammjata!

Tkellmet l-Eċċellenza Tagħha l-President fl-okkazjoni ta’ l-ewwel anniversarju mill-ħatra tagħha fil-kariga u qalet li kienet tittama li sa tmiem is-sena (li qegħdin fiha) jkun hemm progress.

B’reazzjoni għal dak li qalet il-President tkellem ukoll l-Avukat Franco Debono li sentejn ilu, fil-bidu ta’ din il-leġislatura kien inħatar mill-Gvern bħala l-koordinatur tal-Konvenzjoni Kostituzzjonali.

Dr Debono qal li inħela ħafna żmien u għadu ma sar xejn.

Id-diffikulta li forsi Dr Franco Debono ma japprezzax biżżejjed hi li filwaqt li l-Konvenzjoni Kostituzzjonali għadha ma bdietx, anzi filwaqt li l-konvenzjoni innifisha għadha l-anqas biss ma ġiet iffurmata, diġa għandna l-koordinatur tagħha appuntat. Nazzarda ngħid li għandna koordinatur li hu impost fuq il-Konvenzjoni Kostituzzjonali.

Jiena dejjem fhimt illi kieku hemm rieda tajba biex l-affarijiet mhux biss isiru, imma jsiru sewwa, kienet tkun il-Konvenzjoni Kostituzzjonali innifisha illi taħtar lill-koordinatur tagħha. Dan il-koordinatur jista’ jkun Dr Franco Debono, imma jista’ jkun ukoll xi ħaddieħor.

Huwa inutli li noqgħodu nistaħbew wara subgħajna: kulħadd jaf li din hi ir-raġuni ewlenija għala s’issa kollox hu iġġammjat dwar il-Konvenzjoni Kostituzzjonali. Il-proċess huwa delikat u seta jkun iffaċilitat ħafna iktar kieku id-deċiżjonijiet jittieħdu b’kunsens mhux b’imposizzjoni.

Dak li ġara s’issa xejn ma jawgura tajjeb għall-futur tal-Konvenzjoni Kostituzzjonali. Hemm ħafna x’jista’ jsir. Iżda il-parti l-kbira ta’ dak li jista’ jsir jirrikjedi kunsens għax fl-aħħar ser ikun meħtieġ l-approvazzjoni ta’ tnejn minn kull tlett membri tal-Parlament. Dan il-kunsens mhux ġej bħala riżultat ta’ strateġija ta’ imposizzjoni. Jista’ iżda jinbena ftit ftit jekk ikun hemm min jifhem li bil-kunsens biss nistgħu naslu.

Min għandu widnejn, ħa jisma’.

The Financing of Political Parties: (2) The White Paper

owen bonnici + franco debono

In January 2014 Government published a White Paper with its proposals on the financing of political parties.

The proposals in the White Paper resembled Franco Debono’s Private Member’s Bill which he had presented during the Eleventh Parliament.

Alternattiva Demokratika emphasised that there was agreement in principle on Government’s proposals, however the details needed to be sent back to the drawing board. Although government has yet to explain the already existing instances of state financing, (even of political parties) it was agreed the first step should be a sense of order, transparency and accountability in the financing of political parties and that subsequently the issue of state financing of political parties should also be considered.

The identification of the Electoral Commission as the regulatory authority was a major sticking point. This is due to the fact that the Electoral Commission is exclusively made up of persons enjoying the trust of the Parliamentary Parties.

AD proposed that in lieu of the Electoral Commission the regulatory authority should be the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life together with Parliament’s Standing Committee on Standards in Public Life.  These posts are being created as a result of a recommendation by a Select Committee of the House of Representatives.

It is proposed that the accounts of political parties are to be audited. However when this is considered by the legislator it should be borne in mind that not all political parties have the same financial means. The legislator should distinguish between political parties whose turnover is measured in millions of euros and those whose turnover does not exceed €15,000 per annum.

With this in mind AD proposed that in those cases where a political party’s turnover does not exceed €100,000 per annum the audit fees should be an expenditure shouldered by the regulator.

Alternattiva Demokratika did not agree with the classification of donations into four groups as the White Paper suggested; in particular AD disagreed with the concept of anonymous donations (up to €500 in one year) as well as with the proposed permissible limits for other donations,

AD drew attention that the White Paper does not make a reference to loans which a political party may have entered into without having the intention to repay the monies loaned. This was being stated in view of the “Cash for Honours scandal” in the United Kingdom,

Nor was the White Paper clear on the role of the accumulated investments of the political parties as well as the need to ensure that these are kept separate and distinct from the political parties themselves. It is to be ensured that the political parties do not make illicit use of the accumulated resources in their companies. It is to be furthermore ensured that no excuse labelled as “sensitive commercial information” is used to hide sensitive information.

The White Paper does not address the issue of public property which has accumulated in the hands of political parties. The required administrative steps should be identified to ascertain that rent paid by the parties for the use of such properties is periodically revised such that it will always be a commercial one.

AD disagreed with the new limits proposed for expenditure by candidates in electoral campaigns. They are much too high.  Alternattiva Demokratika also emphasised that the permissible limits for spending by the political parties during an electoral campaign are established.

Meta s-Servizz tas-Sigurta mar Ħal-Għaxaq: 14 ta’ Diċembru 2009

Ghaxaq Centre

l-orizzont

 

Rapport ippubblikat fl-Orizzont ta’ nhar il-Ġimgħa 18 ta’ Diċembru 2009 kien jgħid hekk:

ESKLUSSIV: Intuża apparat tas-Servizz Sigriet biex instab Franco Debono

MISSJONI POSSIBBLI!

miktub minn John Pisani

 

Il-paniku li ħakem in-naħa tal-Gvern nhar it-Tnejn li għadda fil-Parlament meta ma setax jinstab id-Deputat Franco Debono wassal biex tintalab l-għajnuna urġenti tas-Servizz Sigriet Malti (MSS) ħalli seta’ jiġi lokalizzat. Il-każ kompla jin­kwieta lill-Partit Naz­zjonalista l-aktar wara r-rapporti tal-bieraħ fil-midja, fosthom l-orizzont, fejn ġie żvelat li l-Prim Ministru Lawrence Gonzi u martu Kate marru personalment fir-residenza tal-Avukat Debono f’Ħal Għaxaq. Sorsi li tkellmu magħna qalu li meta t-Tnejn kien se jittie­ħed il-vot fil-Parlament u d-Deputat Nazzjo­nalista deher ħiereġ mill-bini tal-Parlament, il-paniku kien ċar min­ħab­ba li l-Gvern ma kellux maġġoranza. Wara għadd ta’ ten­tattivi biex jinstab, par­ti­ko­lar­ment mill-Whip David Agius, li rriżultaw kollha fin-negattiv u bil-ħin għaddej, xi ħadd iddeċieda li tintalab l-assistenza tas-Serivzz Sigriet biex permezz ta’ apparat sofistikat jiġi lokalizzat l-Avukat Debono. Is-sorsi qalulna li dan l-apparat li għandhom l-MSS kapaċi jintraċċa l-post eżatt tal-mowbajl tal-individwu u jkunu jafu, jekk is-sett tal-mowbajl ikun fuqu, fejn ikun dak il-ħin. Kif Franco Debono kien interċettat marru għalih l-istess Pulizija tas-Servizz Sigriet.

X’aktarx li Debono jew ma kienx jaf li jeżisti dan l-apparat jew qatt ma stenna li l-Partit Nazzjonalista kien daqshekk iddisprat li kellu jirrikori għas-Servizz Sigriet biex jittieħed lura lejn il-Parlament. Dan jiġġustifika għaliex Franco Debono deher fiżakment jirtogħod u palidu waqt li kien dieħel fil-Parlament. Kif twassal fil-Palazz tal-President deher jitkellem mad-Deputati Nazzjonalisti Jesmond Mugliett, Robert Arrigo u Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando u wara resaq lejhom David Agius. Wieħed mill-membri tas-Servizz Sigriet baqa’ jistenna isfel filwaqt li ieħor deher għal xi ħin qrib it-taraġ li jagħti għall-Kamra tar-Rappreżentanti imma telaq minn hemm wara li kien hemm diversi persuni jħarsu lejh u ħassu skomdu. Is-sorsi qalulna li dawn iż-żewġ Pulizija baqgħu hemm sakemm intemmet is-seduta kollha tal-Parlament u sakemm ittieħed l-aħħar vot bi Franco Debono fil-Kamra li vvota favur il-Gvern u ma kienx hemm bżonn il-vot tal-Ispeaker Louis Galea biex salva wiċċ il-Gvern.

 

Meta jfittxu l-passi tagħna

Big Brother is listening

Kellu jkun rapport tal-Vodafone dwar l-operazzjonijiet tagħha globali li nissel interess tal-istampa lokali dwar il-fatt li s-servizzi tas-sigurta’ f’Malta għandhom jew jista’ jkollhom aċċess għat-telefonati tagħna u/jew għal informazzjoni relatata għal dawn it-telefonati.

Dan l-aċċess hu permess mil-liġi kemm fil-ġlieda kontra l-kriminalita’ kif ukoll biex tiġi difiża s-sigurta’ tal-istat.

Ħadd m’hu jikkontesta li s-servizzi tas-sigurta’ għandu jkollhom dan id-dmir.

Id-diffikulta hi dwar x’kontrolli u x’verifika issir biex ikun assigurat illi jkun ġustifikat li jkun hemm dan l-aċċess. Il-liġi Maltija tagħti din l-awtorita’ lill-Ministru responsabbli mis-Servizz tas-Sigurta. Li qed jiġi propost fid-dibattitu pubbliku li qed jiżviluppa hu li m’għandux jibqa’ jkollu l-awtorita’ li jiddeċiedi jekk is-servizzi tas-sigurta’ għandux ikollhom dan l-aċċess, iżda li din l-awtorita’ għandha tgħaddi f’idejn il-Qrati. Għandhom ikunu l-Qrati ta’ Malta li jirċievu talba għal aċċess għal informazzjoni konnessa mat-telefonati u għandhom ikunu huma li jgħarblu jekk dan l-aċċess huwiex meħtieġ u neċessarju.

Dan id-dibattitu jinkwadra fid-dibattitu usa dwar id-dritt li għandu kull ċittadin għal privatezza tad-data diġitali privata dwaru, liema argument Alternattiva Demokratika żviluppat waqt il-kampanja elettorali għall-Parlament Ewropew. Sfortunatament, dakinnhar, kemm il-partiti politiċi l-oħra kif ukoll il-gazzetti u mezzi tax-xandir baqgħu siekta. Ftit ġimgħat ilu dan is-suġġett ma kien jinteressa lil ħadd!

Tajjeb li niftakru li l-Qorti Ewropeja tal-Ġustizzja fil-bidu t’April 2014 ħassret Direttiva Ewropeja dwar għal kemm żmien il-kumpaniji tat-telekomunikazzjoni għandhom iżommu data diġitali kif ukoll dwar min u kif għandu jkollu aċċess għal din id-data [Data Retention Directive]. Il-Qorti Ewropeja fil-waqt li fehmet il-ħtieġa li fl-interess tal-ġlieda kontra l-kriminalita jkun hemm aċċess mill-forzi tal-ordni ma qablitx li kien hemm biżżejjed garanziji għall-privatezza taċ-ċittadin.

Tajjeb li niftakru li minn żmien għal żmien ikun hemm allegazzjonijiet li l-forzi tas-sigurta’ jkunu abbużaw minn dan id-dritt ta’ aċċess. Per eżempju dan l-aħħar ġejna mfakkra li kien hemm dan is-suspett waqt il-kampanja referendarja dwar id-divorzju in konnessjoni mat-telfon ċellulari ta’ Varist Bartolo kif ukoll dak ta’ Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando.

Kien hemm każ ieħor li s’issa għadu ma ngħatx spjegazzjoni sodisfaċenti dwaru. Ma nafx kemm tiftakru x’ġara nhar it-Tnejn 14 ta’ Diċembru 2009, dakinnhar li Franco Debono ma kienx mar għal votazzjoni l-Parlament imbagħad f’daqqa waħda tfaċċa fil-Parlament skortat.

L-Orizzont ta’ nhar il-Ġimgħa 18 ta’ Diċembru 2009 kienet ippubblikat  artiklu investigattiv ta’ John Pisani intitolat : “Intuża apparat tas-Servizz Sigriet biex instab Franco Debono nhar it-Tnejn. MISSJONI IMPOSSIBLI.”

Il-Gvern, dakinnhar kien ċaħad, imma din iċ-ċaħda ma kienet ikkonvinċiet lil ħadd.

Nistgħu nissugraw li jkun possibli li l-istat jispjuna fuqna b’dan il-mod?

 ippubblikat fuq iNews nhar it-Tlieta 24 ta’ Ġunju 2014