Ministers who misuse public funds by boosting their personal social media pages will from now on face the wrath of the National Audit Office.
Contacted by Lovin Malta, the NAO said it had analysed the report by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life which found “widespread” misuse of public resources on social media by Cabinet members.
“In the circumstances, in due course we intend including in our audit plans a regulatory audit to check whether the new guidelines which have just been introduced, following the Commissioner’s recommendation, are being followed or otherwise and whether there exists any other risk to public funds,” the NAO said.
The NAO did not confirm whether it would be investigating retroactive misuse of public money by ministers.
Several calls have been made for the Auditor General to launch an investigation into whether ministers should repay the money they misused, including from the Nationalist Party and civil society NGO Repubblika.
The government has not yet published its official social media code to ministers but the Standards Commissioner said that he found it to be satisfactory and that it adopted his own recommended guidelines too.
Lovin Malta had alerted the Standards Commissioner to this widespread misuse after it emerged that at least €25,000 was being spent by government on Facebook boosts every month despite most ministries not having a Facebook page of their own. It emerged that ministers were using public money to boost their own private accounts instead of official accounts belonging to the ministries.