PN splits anti-corruption package Bill in two to bypass money bill claims

PN's package of 12 legislative bills presented in two separate private members' bills, following government's money bill claims

The Nationalist Party has presented its package of 12 anti-corruption legislative bills, by splitting them into two private members’ bills, to bypass money bill claims by the government side.

The Nationalist Party unveiled a package of 12 legislative Bills to fight corruption and mafia-style crimes that will include the creation of a special inquiring magistrate to focus solely on corruption by public officers.

But Government refused a first reading in parliament, with Labour Whip Glenn Bedingfield saying the motion had “aspects of money bill” and was therefore precluded by House rules and Constitution.

“We are determined that in view of Prime Minister Robert Abela’s lack of action, we will persist so that the rule of law truly reigns in this country,” Opposition leader Bernard Grech said in parliament on Wednesday.

Grech remarked the government had been evading parliamentary discussions on the bills and that the media experts committee was only a “drop in the ocean”.

“The government then called the Bill a ‘gimmick’ and is now making an excuse that the Bill, that has 12 acts, is a money bill,” Grech remarked.

Grech said the Bill has now been split into two groups, with the first group containing 11 acts with no possible reference to a money bill. The second one contains the bill that calls for the appointment of a special inquiring Magistrate to fight organised crime and corruption by public officials.

“Now the government should have no excuse to discuss the Bill and should not keep evading discussions,” Grech argued.

He added that if Abela wants to take Malta off the greylist, it should invest in these tools and appoint the special inquiring Magistrate. Grech said the Justice Minister should provide this Magistrate with an appropriate office, and should in consultation with the Magistrate, determine the office's recruitment needs and appoint public officials as required.

Grech said PN aims to facilitate discussions so that Malta addresses the Caruana Galizia public inquiry recommendations.