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We’re Working On Filing ONE And NET’s Late Accounts, Robert Abela And Bernard Grech Both Pledge

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Prime Minister Robert Abela and Opposition Leader Bernard Grech have both pledged that work is ongoing to make sure their parties’ media houses file their accounts after several years.

“I understand that ONE and NET haven’t published their accounts for a number of years and work is ongoing to publish them,” Abela said when questioned by Lovin Malta on Friday.

A spokesperson for Grech told Lovin Malta that the process to audit years of accounts is underway and will hopefully be concluded “soon”.

“One of Bernard Grech’s main priorities when he was elected leader was to get to the bottom of the party’s long-standing financial issues and ensure good governance within all structures,” the spokesperson said.

“The process to audit years of accounts is underway and will hopefully soon be concluded.”

They added that the PN is doing its utmost to get Malta off the FATF grey list, noting a set of 12 bills that Grech recently filed to improve good governance and clamp down on white-collar crime.

ONE Productions, the PL’s media house, hasn’t filed its accounts since 2010, when it reported a loss of €507,479 and total debt of €2,704,029. 

Back then, ONE’s auditors warned that the conditions cast “significant doubt” over its ability to continue, although it noted that its year-end loss had dropped by around €200,000 from the previous year.

The Nationalist Party’s media house Media.Link last published its accounts in 2003, when it recorded a loss of Lm146,753 (around €341,840) and a whopping debt of €8.4 million, with a total tax expense credit of Lm450,302 (approx. €1,048,900) by the end of the year.

NET’s chief operations officer Karl Gouder told Euronews last year that this delay in account publishing partially stemmed from a major restructuring in 2013 when the media house went bankrupt.

Neither media house has been fined by the MFSA for consistently failing to publish their accounts.

This lack of transparency and accountability by party media is one of the reasons Lovin Malta filed a court case that challenges the constitutionality of political broadcasting on political party media.

The result of a crowdfunding campaign by the online show Kaxxaturi, Lovin Malta’s case is asking the courts to declare as unconstitutional a proviso to the Broadcasting Act which allows the Broadcasting Authority to turn a blind eye to the Constitution’s demand for impartiality in TV news. 

Cover photo: Left: Prime Minister Robert Abela, Right: Opposition Leader Bernard Grech (Photos: Facebook)

Do you think ONE and NET should file their accounts? 

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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