Civil society group Repubblika has called on Standards Commissioner George Hyzler to investigate claims by the National Audit Office that former minister Konrad Mizzi had refused with it in relation to an investigation into the hospitals’ concession.
In a report published earlier this week, the NAO said that Mizzi had refused to meet with its officials despite several attempts.
“The gravity of this failure was rendered evident in the NAO’s report through the pivotal role played by Hon Mizzi in this concession,” the report noted.
“His failure to attend to the several requests made by the NAO was deemed a serious shortcoming in terms of the level of accountability expected of a former minister of the Government and in terms of the standard of good governance that ought to have characterised a project as material and as important to the national health services as this was.”
In light of the Auditor General’s remarks, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said Mizzi’s snub represented a “grave breach of the code of ethics” outlined in the law on Standards in Public Life given that the Auditor General was to be considered an official of Parliament.
Aquilina said that Mizzi was legally bound, as a minister, to answer for his actions before Parliament, adding that his refusal meant he had made no effort to uphold the status and dignity of Parliament.
He acknowledged that Mizzi was now no longer a minister, but said his behaviour was nonetheless unacceptable.
Aquilina requested that Hyzler investigate the matter as he has done in other cases recently.
Last week the commissioner also found Education Minister Justyne Caruana to have breached parliamentary ethics in handing out a three-month €15,000 contract by direct order to former Daniel Bogdanovic, with who she is understood to have had a romantic relationship.
While the commissioner can do little other than declare a breach of ethics and recommend further action, his investigations have proved useful in getting ministers and government officials to respond to accusations against them, something which they often refuse to do with the media.
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