Constitutional amendments to regulate administrative fines against Malta companies do not pass through Parliament
Parliament has not passed Constitutional Amendments to regulate financial administrative fines and to mitigate the discrepancy between the Malta Constitution and the EU Convention for Human Rights because these needed a two thirds majority. Resultantly, 34 Government MPs voted in favour while 25 Opposition MPs voted against.
The proposed Constitutional Amendments were forwarded by the Minister for Justice and Governance, Edward Zammit Lewis, who said that FATF wanted to fight tax evasion, money-laundering and the funding of terrorism and wanted financial institutions to impose sanctions to prevent bad practices by all, whether companies or individuals. He said these would still have the Right of Appeal in the Court.
Minister Zammit Lewis said that despite the Malta Constitution, EU Regulatory Authorities even though not Courts have a right to impose fines against companies established in Malta. He said the Opposition is sending a message that it does not want financial regulatory institutions to be effective, as required by FATF.
The Opposition Spokesperson for Justice, Joe Ellis, said the Opposition is voting against because the Malta Constitution is giving more guarantees than the EU Convention and said that the Courts guarantee independence and impartiality. Dr Ellis said that Malta’s regulatory authorities are not independent and impartial because they are appointed by the Government and maintained this does not provide a just system. He said that financial sanctions should only be imposed by Courts.