Malta’s MPs secondary jobs in both the private and public sector increase the inherent risks of conflict of interests and corruption in the country, rapporteurs in the Council of Europe have warned.
In a periodic review of Malta by the monitoring committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the rapporteurs called for an urgent drawing up of a clear list of positions and functions that are incompatible with the position of MP.
At present, MPs who are not Cabinet members are part-time employees, meaning that they can freely occupy roles in both the private sector and public sector.
Oftentimes, many MPs work in the public sector at bogus jobs they never turn up for, as evidenced in the case involving Kristy Debono’s position at the Malta Gaming Authority. Meanwhile, many other MPs, continue to take positions in the private sector, regardless of whether it presents a conflict of interest.
PN leader Bernard Grech mentioned the issue in a recent parliament address, stressing that MPs should be full-time to better serve the nation.
“A full-time parliament should be established with sufficient autonomous capacity to fulfil its legislative and oversight functions properly in an increasingly complex and interlinked society,” the rapporteurs said.
The persons of trust system must also be addressed since it amounts to a system of patronage with the evident risks of conflict of interest and corruption.
The number of persons of trust should be limited to a small number with clearly defined and regulated positions.
The rapporteurs did welcome reforms implemented by the authorities to strengthen judicial independence and the system of checks and balances in the country.
However, they did note that more work needed to be done to address the deficiencies and shortcomings highlighted by the Venice Commission and the Independent Public Inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In addition to the functioning of democratic and rule of law institutions, the co-rapporteurs also focused on women’s and reproductive rights, as well as the situation with regard to irregular migrants and refugees.
The co-rapporteurs intend to prepare their report on the honouring of membership obligations by Malta early in 2022, with a view to presenting their report to the PACE plenary in April 2022.
Should MPs be full-time?