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NGO Commissioner Resigns As Junior Minister Denies Interference In Audit

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Malta’s Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations has submitted his resignation following what was described by press reports as an incident following the withdrawal of an audit he had requested into non-compliant NGOs.

A report in MaltaToday claimed that Anthony Abela Medici resigned after being asked personally by Parliamentary Secretary Clifton Grima to withdraw a request to the NAO for it to carry out an audit of annual returns that had so far not been vetted. 

However, in comments to Lovin Malta, Grima categorically denied that he had ever told Abela Medici to withdraw a request to the NAO to audit the annual returns of NGOs.

“I speak to Abela Medici on a regular basis but I’ve never told him to stop an investigation. In fact, whenever the NAO publishes a report on organisations under my responsibility, I tell them to follow their recommendations,” Grima told Lovin Malta. 

According to MaltaToday, the audit had been requested into a backlog of some 1,900 unvetted annual returns dating back to 2010. 

Voluntary Organisations are legally obliged to submit annual returns to the Commissioner every year, with Abela Medici having raised concerns about organisations that were not complying with the law. 

In particular, concerns were raised about the impact of this situtation on Malta’s Moneyval and FATF assessment given the vulnerability of voluntary organisations to abuse, including money laundering and the funding of terrorism. 

Lovin Malta has reached out to Abela Medici for comment.

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