Public debt rises by €1.3 billion in one year: / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 1 June 2022

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Debt rises by €1.3 billion in one year: According to the National Statistics Office, Malta’s debt was at about €8.3 billion at the end of 2021, up €1.3 billion in a year. The increase in general government debt, which now stands at 57 percent of GDP, is due to Covid-19 related initiatives and loan increases, among others. The majority of this debt is held in government stocks and treasury bills, representing 83% of total debt.  Almost all the debt owed by the General Government sector is in national currency. The stock of debt in foreign currencies has decreased considerably over the years.

Court slashes Satabank fine: According to the FIAU, a €327,500 fine levied against Satabank, which has since been forced to close down, has been reduced to just €68,000. The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit said that an appeals court had reduced the large penalties that had been levied on the controversial bank in 2018. The Unit insisted that while the agency’s enforcement action was legitimate, the court found that the fine was excessive in light of the law restrictions that had been violated. Experts shifting through Satabank files had identified more than 300 suspicious transactions exceeding €130 million.

Man arrested after attacking patrons in restaurant: A man has been detained after wounding numerous individuals in St Julian’s on Tuesday evening, according to police. According to police, the Spaniard entered the restaurant, took a knife and a glass bottle off a table, and began stabbing patrons. The individual was hostile to the officers and refused to comply, forcing them to taser the aggressor before proceeding to the arrest.

Covid-19 Update: Health authorities reported 115 new cases of Covid-19, as the daily tally reached the three-digit count for the first time in a couple of weeks. 95 persons recovered, leaving the active case tally at 1,430.

Morning Briefing

Public Service needs to become meritocratic and efficient again – Ombudsman

The public service needs to regain the virtues of meritocracy, professionalism, efficiency and loyalty to the government of the day, delivering a service that can ensure continuity in full respect of laws and regulations but able to stand up and attempt to check maladministration and abuse, according to Ombudsman Anthony Mifsud has said. In the yearly Annual Report, Mifsud adds that public officers should deliver a service that is in all instances administratively correct and not politically or otherwise convenient. “These are the traditional standards that permeated the public service and which the country has had the good fortune to enjoy for decades. They are the standards that can guarantee the exercise of a good public administration to which citizens are entitled. Much has been lost and in some respects these virtues have been severely dented. Much needs to be done to regain and restore them to the desirable levels”. (Times of Malta)

Justice Minister says that anti-corruption record better than PN government

Justice minister Jonathan Attard has claimed Malta’s poor record on anti-corruption recommendations by GRECO, had still surpassed the record of previous Nationalist administrations. “The fact that the report has confirmed government has started to carry out the recommendations, is in itself positive,” he told the House on Tuesday evening. The Council of Europe’s ant-corruption watchdog said Malta had so far only accomplished two of 23 recommendations. One of the unfulfilled proposals is for the island to have an anti-corruption strategy. “The last time a report was received under the PN legislature, the conclusions read that not one of the recommendations was carried out,” Attard said during parliamentary question time. (Maltatoday)

Covid-19 Update: There were 99 new cases of Covid-19 while 109 people recovered, the health authorities said. No new deaths were recorded.

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