Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 22 June 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Updated 1240

Covid-19 Update: 5 new Covid-19 cases were reported. There was one new recovery as 1,649 swab tests were conducted. The number of active cases increased to 27.

New scheme to support transition to reusable packaging: Government has launched a new incentive offering €20,000 to businesses to support their efforts in transitioning to plastic-free and reusable packaging alternatives. “A lot of products from cheese to detergents come packaged in plastic, and through this scheme we want to support companies implement their own project to make their shop more sustainable,” Miriam Dalli, minister responsible for sustainability said during the launch The grant will cover up to half of expenses incurred in moving away from single-use packaging to a more sustainable method of consumption.

Diplomats in last-minute bid to convince counterparts on FATF: Maltese diplomats have been involved in lobbying their counterparts to convince the Financial Action Task Force that it should not ignore the Council of Europe’s Moneyval assessment of the island’s anti-money laundering framework. The Maltese Government said that it is working till the very end to avoid a grey-listing from FATF. Malta has argued it has been rated at least ‘largely compliant’ or ‘compliant’ by Moneyval on all recommendations, as well as on “immediate outcomes” (IOs) which are other grey-listed jurisdictions have not addressed.

Morning Briefing

Arms found at Migra l-Ferħa linked to Maksar brothers: A large quantity of arms and bomb detonators were likely to be linked to a crime group headed by Robert and Adrian Agius, the brothers of Maksar fame, who have been charged with complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The weapons, which were found waterproof bags, were recovered close to Miġra L-Ferħa. Police said that weapons, munitions and material suspected to be explosives, were raised from the sea – but gave no indication of what the weapons were or of the quantities found.

Major appointment for Bishop Grech: Cardinal Mario Grech was appointed by Pope Francis as a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority of the Catholic Church. The five-year term appointment was announced by the daily Vatican information bulletin. Cardinal Grech, who is currently the Bishops’ Synod Secretary, is a former Bishop of Gozo.

Lawyers, Minister spat intensifies: Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis stood by Government’s decision to push forward new legislation allowing non-warranted lawyers to practice in fields such as commercial and gaming law. The Chamber of Advocates has strongly argued that the proposed changes would only regulate those working in the law courts while lawyers in other areas, such as companies and gaming firms, will not be regulated. “On the contrary, the warrant has always been a certificate for a person qualified in law to be able to appear and deal in our courts. This bill does not change any of this,” Zammit Lewis insisted. Meanwhile, MP Therese Comodini Cachia challenged Zammit Lewis to identify those who lobbied for the proposed legislation “in the interest of the transparency he claims to practice.”

Government in last efforts to secure positive FATF vote: Government is continuing in its efforts to secure a positive result as the country approaches the final verdict on a potential grey listing by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Finance Minister Clyde Caruana told reporters that “we are working hard to continue showing that in the last year and a half we have carried out all the recommendations made to us”. The finance minister argued that anyone with influence must come together, irrelevant of their political allegiances, to convince stakeholders that Malta does not deserve grey-listing.

CDE News