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MoneyVal evaluation exercise

Ample proof, if any is needed, that the Opposition is set to harm the country with the pretext of concern for Malta’s reputation is its latest attempt to interfere with the due process being currently carried out by MoneyVaL.

PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE

This Council of Europe mission has been carrying out such circa two-year evaluations about Malta, for the last 20 years. The Nationalist administrations have experienced these missions starting in 1998. The missions have always in the past carried their task serenely without undue pressure or interference from the political class.

Not this time. While in opposition, the Nationalist Party is dead set on interfering and prejudicing the findings. As soon as it was communicated that MoneyVal will be carrying out its evaluation process for Malta, MEP David Casa asked to meet with MoneyVal officials to inform the independent mission about a number of allegations against Malta. This attempt was followed by a letter sent to MoneyVal by a number of MPs in the Council of Europe. This type of interference is unprecedented.

The mammoth MoneyVal evaluation exercise involving all the Maltese regulatory and supervisory authorities together with the intelligence and law enforcement forces started many months ago when in preparation to the visit an update of Malta’s National Risk Assessment was carried out. This was followed by the drawing up of a three-year Anti Money Laundering (AML) Plan whereby no less than 47 tasks were identified to be implemented. The newly set-up National AML Coordinating Unit, which is overseeing the implementation of this plan, will soon report on the progress achieved in its first year of operation.

The evaluation exercise by MoneyVal is now entering its 8th stage with 7 more stages to go. In fact, a Maltese delegation will soon leave for France to engage in a face-to-face meeting with the MoneyVal officials to discuss certain issues needing clarifications in the preliminary report.

At this delicate phase of the evaluation process, the Opposition decided to make use and publicise an internal leaked MoneyVal official document, which is still undergoing revisions, and removal of factual errors, all of which may result in changes to its conclusions and eventual recommendations.

As is now a trademark of the Opposition, it is indirectly encouraging unlawful leakages of documents on the pretext of the Whistleblower Act, which Act was enacted by this Government way back in 2013. The Opposition knows that a whistle-blower is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organisation that is either private or public.

In this instance, the leaked document is an internal official draft, which is undergoing a due process, which applies equally to all the Council of Europe Member States.  MoneyVal insists that this draft is confidential and as such, it is not even sent to any Council of Europe Member State, the EU or any international institution, not to hide anything, but because the evaluation is only complete when MoneyVal itself publishes it in July of this year after passing through all the stages.

With the publication of this confidential draft leaked document, the Opposition is not only acting in an improper manner, because it is interfering in this due process, but also meant to harm the country by prejudicing the final evaluation.

MAoneyVal carries out such evaluations with the sole aim to improve the capacities of national authorities to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism in a more effective manner. The Opposition should let our institutions undergo this exercise without interference. Instead, it is intent to harm them.

It is ironic that while the Minister for Finance is in London leading a delegation of senior Maltese officials to exchange information and experiences with their British counterparts, in order to strengthen institutions involved in combatting economic crimes, Dr Mario Demarco, who himself has conflicts of interest in this area, is trying to score points by sitting pretty, expressing his concern for Malta’s reputation while doing the opposite.

  

Wednesday 27th March 2019


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