Notaries refuse to apply controversial ‘tax arrears’ rate on contracts / Malta News Briefing – Thursday 2 December 2021

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Notaries refuse to apply controversial ‘tax arrears’ rate on contracts: Notaries will not process any property taxes on rates introduced by a controversial legal notice for tax arrears, according to the Malta’s Notarial Council. It announced that it unanimously instructed notaries to process all property contracts and taxes due in line with standard laws only. The Council said it is working on obtaining all necessary clarifications from the Finance Ministry on the new scheme. “Ignoring this directive could result in additional taxes or penalties due on future property transfers, the responsibility of which would be borne by both the original parties and the notary, due to the lack of clarify of this legal notice,” the Council said. The proposed taxation rules have come under fire from various entities, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of SMEs and the Malta Developers Association.

Documents detail inner workings of Italy-Malta drug ring: Italian court documents have exposed the operations of a major Malta-Italy drug ring. Cocaine and cannabis were smuggled into the island using a local ferry company before being hidden in an Attard fruit and vegetable shop, the Times of Malta reported. It says it listened to transcripts of recorded conversations from inside drug smugglers’ cars that detail how Maltese and Italian traffickers eventually turned on one another. Italian law enforcement yesterday announced the arrest of 16 people, including a Maltese national, for moving large quantities of cocaine and cannabis from Albania into Italy and eventually on to Malta. 

Morning Briefing

NGOs plead for free vote on cannabis

A number of institutions linked to the Church asked have called for a free vote in parliament after the government pushed through its cannabis bill without considering any suggested changes to the bill on cannabis use. “Despite numerous reasonable and balanced amendments… the government side refused to consider any of the suggestions and remained adamant to pass a very weak regulatory framework which risks leaving a massive negative impact on our society, especially among children, youths and the most vulnerable,” Caritas Malta, OASI Foundation, the Secretariat for Catholic Education and the Church Schools’ Association said in a joint statement.
They asked PM Robert Abela to allow a free vote for government MPs so that they could vote according to their conscience and not along party lines. (Times of Malta)

Prison rehabilitation not effective – NAO

Malta’s law do not impose sufficient obligations on the Correctional Services Agency for an effective system of rehabilitation at Corradino Correctional Facility, the National Audit Office reported. The requirements calling for rehabilitative efforts in Maltese legislation were “few and somewhat malleable” when compared to discipline and security, leaving “care and reintegration initiatives in a situation in which they have to compete with, rather than complement, stronger legal obligations such as those relating to discipline and good order.” (Maltatoday)

Covid-19 Update: Active Covid-19 cases reached 1213 after 95 new cases were reported on Wednesday. 70 persons recovered, with 11 patients remaining in hospital, two of whom in ITU.

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