The media arms of Malta’s two leading political parties have been formally warned to settle over €5 million between them in unpaid VAT after years of avoiding payments.
The Nationalist Party’s Media.Link and Labour Party’s ONE were recently sent the formal noticed, according to the Times of Malta, with one source who works within one of the two companies saying that if they were to settle their accounts, their media house would most probably end up in court or face liquidation.
“We just don’t have that kind of money,” they said.
Aside from the unpaid VAT, it is being reported that the companies also have unpaid social security and income tax issues costing millions of euro.
Agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 were supposed to lead to the two companies making monthly payments of over €20,000. However, these payments were not regularly made as the amounts were just too large for the companies to bear.
Major questions have arisen regards the two political parties’ media houses lax approach to finances.
It’s been over a decade since either party-owned media station published their audited accounts, leaving major doubts on the transparency and financial position of their operations.
The last time these accounts were published, both were already making massive losses with millions in debt.
By the end of 2003, the last time Media.Link published its accounts, the PN’s media wing had recorded a loss of Lm146,753, around €341,840. Media.Link’s debt stood at roughly €8.4 million.
Lovin Malta has announced that it has given formal notice to the State Advocate about a legal challenge it will mount to declare party stations unconstitutional.
The court case, which will be formally filed later this month, argues that a law approved by Parliament in 1991 to permit the stations to broadcast political propaganda went completely contrary to the demands of the Constitution.
Lovin Malta is arguing that these financial difficulties also render the political parties highly vulnerable to corruption since they are dependent on big business donations.
The PN and PL have regularly been asked to explain why the accounts are yet to be published and they have failed to do so. Promises to publish the accounts continue to be unrealised, raising serious doubts over the financial structures of these two massive media organisations.
Rather than remedy the issue, the PN and PL have continued on breaching regulations with little to no reprieve from authorities.
Are you surprised by the new reports?