Rents up 7% in 2022 / Malta News Dispatch – Tuesday 6 June 2023

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Rents up 7% in 2022
According to the Housing Authority, there was an almost 7% increase in the average rent last year. More than half of the new tenants agreed to monthly rental agreements exceeding €800. Brian Micallef, an economist and consultant for the Housing Authority, presented this information to journalists during a technical briefing on Monday. Micallef stated that, on average, rents rose by 6.6% in the latter half of 2022 compared to the same period in the previous year. Excluding contract renewals, which mostly maintained the same rent, the increase would be approximately 9%. (TVM)

GRECO laments lack of reforms on scrutiny of MPs’ ethical breaches
Malta has satisfactorily addressed four out of the nine recommendations put forth by the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO), which monitors anti-corruption efforts. GRECO’s evaluation round focused on preventing corruption among MPs, judges, and prosecutors, based on a report submitted by Malta in May 2022. However, five of GRECO’s recommendations still remain unimplemented. One of these recommendations called for a comprehensive review of the current provisions of the Code of Ethics for MPs and the Standing Orders related to integrity, ethics, financial declarations, and conflicts of interest. (Maltatoday)

PN wants constitutional protection for environmental rights
The Nationalist Party has introduced a Legal Amendment in Parliament, proposing the inclusion of an Environmental Law as a fundamental human right in the Malta Constitution. During a media conference, MP Darren Carabott emphasized that the environment encompasses not just natural elements like trees and the countryside, but also the environment in which we live. Carabott stated that the Constitution holds the highest legal authority, and he described the Amendment as the most significant environmental legislation in Parliament. He further noted that if this Amendment is approved, it will bind both the current government and all future governments. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

Finance Minister concerned at Court rulings on unconstitutionality of FIAU fines

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana expressed his concern regarding the recent court decisions declaring the laws and regulations governing the processes of the Financial Intelligence and Analysis Unit (FAU) as unconstitutional. In response to a parliamentary question from PN MP Chris Said, Caruana addressed the possibility of legislative amendments to the laws governing the powers of the FIAU to impose significant penalties. On Monday, a judge ruled that the administrative penalties imposed by the Financial Intelligence and Analysis Unit against Lombard Bank are unconstitutional and in breach of the rights of people to be tried by an independent court. There are many other constitutional cases against the FIAU over this point of law. (The Malta Indepedent)

Former PM wants change in magistrate investigating hospital deal
Former PM Joseph Muscat has submitted an application to the first hall of the civil court requesting a change in the magistrate leading the inquiry into the privatisation of three state hospitals. He has cited continuous leaks, including from investigators, and the magistrate’s refusal to accept his requests to testify as reasons for the change. Muscat also emphasized the need for an impartial magistrate to handle the inquiry objectively and subjectively. In a Facebook post, the former prime minister expressed his belief that the application clearly highlights the reasons why Magistrate Gabriella Vella should not continue to lead the investigation. (Times of Malta)

Lilu l-King lived luxurious life despite refugee status, Court told

The compilation of evidence against Ali Ahmed Elmushraty, a 31-year-old Tunisian facing charges related to tax evasion and involvement in organized drug trafficking started on Monday. Known as “Lilu l-King,” the accused was apprehended by the Police following a widespread operation across the country. Testifying in court, an undisclosed Police Inspector from the Anti-Drugs Squad provided detailed accounts of the surveillance operation leading to the accused’s arrest at his Swieqi residence. The Inspector revealed the observation of suspicious drug-related activities and the accused’s possession of a firearm. Additionally, it was disclosed that despite having refugee status in Malta, the accused lived a luxurious lifestyle without any registered employment or affiliation with tax or social service departments. (TVM)

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