Malta courts

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry has reacted to the publication of findings of the public inquiry into whether the State could have prevented the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia by appealing for a serious commitment to reform.

On Thursday, the board consisting of three retired judges tasked with conducting the public inquiry released its 437-page report, which, among several conclusions, determined that steps must be taken to regulate and rein in politicians’ links with big business.

The inquiry also concluded that the state must bear responsibility for the murder, which took place on 16th October 2017 through the use of a car bomb.

In a strongly worded statement released on Friday, The Malta Chamber stated unequivocally that the outcome of the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder inquiry cannot be trivialised or ignored.

The President of The Malta Chamber Marisa Xuereb said that “we must act now on what needs to be done without further procrastination as we owe it to our people and to the next generation.

The Malta Chamber President Marisa Xuereb

“The country has gone through an ugly spiral that culminated in the death of a journalist, a heinous crime that seared our collective conscience and damaged our international reputation in a profound way.”

Ms Xuereb continued, “We cannot truly heal before we all detach ourselves from partisan emotions and commit to an objective assessment of failings and an honest and unconditional process of reform, centred around the values of transparency, accountability, integrity, and civic responsibility at all levels of Government, politics, journalism, business, and social interaction.”

The Malta Chamber reiterated that corruption is bad for everyone, but it is especially bad for business.

“It favours the few at the expense of the many ethical businesses who are unfairly excluded, or worse still, compromised by having to settle for the crumbs that fall off the table in full knowledge that they are not operating on a level playing field.

“The outcome of the public inquiry is a stark reminder to be fair to everyone since it is not big business, but corruption that has brought the country to its knees.

“Not every big business is corrupt, just as not every politician is corrupt,” The Malta Chamber insisted.

“It is in this spirit that The Malta Chamber has consistently promoted ethical business and appealed for good governance at all levels of Government, politics, business and regulation.”

The statement went on to highlight public procurement as an “extremely sensitive” area, with The Chamber pointing to its publication of a detailed report on public procurement reform that it expects all entities involved to take very seriously.

“We cannot continue to justify unfair practices on the grounds of a lack of resources or expediency,” said Ms Xuereb.

“We cannot continue to trivialise wrongdoings because others may have done worse. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye on unethical behaviour and blatant conflicts of interest for fear of losing favour. We need to consistently adopt a high moral ground in everything we do,” said the President of The Malta Chamber.

The Malta Chamber said the conclusions of the public inquiry have far-reaching implications for the way Malta does business, but also for the way journalism is conducted, for the way politics is financed, and for the way public officers are appointed.

“Let us all be brave and rise to the challenge of doing what needs to be done without further procrastination,” The Malta Chamber concluded.

“We owe it to the next generation.”

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