Konrad Mizzi refuses to testify in front of Parliamentary committee / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 6 October 2021

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Konrad Mizzi refuses to testify in front of Parliamentary committee

Former Labour Minister Konrad Mizzi refused to testify at a parliamentary committee that is scrutinising the Electrogas project. On Facebook, Mizzi described the activity of the committee as “a partisan attack” on the project which shifted energy generation in Malta from polluting heavy fuel oil to cleaner gas and renewable energy, “a project that has brought so many benefits to the Maltese and Gozitan people, as well as to the economy of our country”.
Mizzi had to testify about the project as part of an investigation by the public accounts committee. In a reaction, the PN said that Mizzi was “dishonest, corrupt and cowardly”. PN spokesperson Beppe Fenech Adami said that “We also ask Robert Abela what he is doing to investigate the suspicions about what happened with the Electrogas power station. I am asking the Commissioner of Police to investigate the NAO report and the testimony in the PAC and the Caruana Galizia public inquiry, on Electrogas.”

NGOs can distribute cannabis to members – Bonnici

Under proposed cannabis legalisation, non-profit associations can grow cannabis to distribute among their members, Equality Minister Owen Bonnici said. The minister also said that people would be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants at one residence. He was speaking during a press briefing, in which he argued that the reforms were not to “incentivise cannabis culture or cannabis consumption” but to reduce the harm of drug rings.
“We want to reduce the suffering, humiliation and deprivation of other rights that many cannabis users have experienced when they have been subjected to arrest and judicial proceedings on possession of small amounts,” Bonnici said.

Digital systems in judiciary enhance human rights, argues Zammit Lewis

The use of digital systems in our judicial process enhances the fundamental human rights of our citizens
During a conference for the Council of Justice Ministers within the Council of Europe held in Hungary, Minister for Justice and Governance Edward Zammit Lewis shared Malta’s achievements and challenges regarding the digitisation of justice and the application of Artificial Intelligence for Judicial Procedures. The conference was organised as a follow-up to the Ministerial Conference on Justice organised in October 2019 in Strasbourg. During his intervention, Minister Zammit Lewis emphasised the importance of justice and good governance as one of the core principles of any functioning democracy. Digital tools should not only strengthen this core principle, but should further aid efficiency, accessibility, and the protection of the vulnerable throughout all judicial processes.

Morning Briefing

Castaldi Paris loses Parliament role

Labour MP Ian Castaldi Paris has been taken off from the Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday, replaced by recently-elected MP Jonathan Attard. Castaldi Paris was in the press for the wrong reasons in the past few days after discussing buying a £16 million (€18.7m) property in London with Yorgen Fenech. After such chats were revealed, he defended himself saying that he was bluffing. It was also revealed thatthe Inland Revenue Department has asked the UK tax authorities to share any information they may have about the MP.

Malta’s RRP approved by Brussels

Malta’s Recovery and Resilience Plan has been approved by the EU Council of Ministers for Economic and Financial Affairs, known as ECOFIN. This step will be followed by the signing of the agreement that will allow Malta to start receiving grants in relation to the implementation of the respective investments and reforms. The planned reforms seek to address various challenges, including those identified in the Country Specific Recommendations. The measures contained in the plan complement other national investment plans and EU cohesion funding, aimed at strengthening the growth potential and social institutional resilience while reaching Malta’s environmental targets.

Stakeholders in talks on sustainable enterprises say the transition has already started
Some of Malta’s leading businessmen, banks and stakeholders argued that the transition has already started. During a conference organised jointly between the Ministry for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development and the European Commission Representation in Malta, the aspects discussed were: how to reach sustainable enterprises, how blue and green projects can drive innovative business ideas, and how integrating ESG in business and investment decisions leads to more attractive businesses. The panelists delved into the fact that enterprises need to become more sustainable and how their companies have embarked on this transition. Attendees concurred that real change comes from a change in culture, with the support of public funds, EU funds and, more importantly, unlocking private capital. Among the speakers was keynote speaker and former member of the European Commission Karmenu Vella, who highlighted how the blue economy opened up opportunities that Malta could tap into and help expand the country’s vision.

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