Malta’s score on Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has been worsening for the past years, and the country has been tagged as a “decliner”, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 report by the NGO, published at the beginning of February.
The score of Malta was 54 in 2018, dropping by six points from 60 measured in 2015. Transparency International’s index ranks 180 countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople. The annual report uses a scale from zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt, and 100 is very clean. TI found that last year more than two-thirds of the countries included in the report scored below 50.
In the report, Malta is singled out — together with Australia, Chile, Turkey and Mexico — for its decrease in perceived corruption levels. Supporting the worsening index, Transparency International mentions factors in its report such as the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who had been reporting on corruption at the time of her death, the scandals and allegations around the Panama Papers in related to high-ranking officials in the country, the collapse of Pilatus bank and also the Citizenship by Investment Malta program.
Transparency International, in its report, also reminds of a Council of Europe report which alleged that “there was a serious rule of law problem in Malta’s judiciary”. The Council of Europe Venice Commission published its opinion in December 2018, claiming that “the power of the prime minister widely overshadows other government bodies, including the president, parliament, the cabinet of ministers, judiciary and ombudsman”.
“Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage,” says Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International.
The CPI reveals that “the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis in democracy around the world,” the report says in the introduction. The data by TI shows that despite some progress “most countries are failing to make serious inroads against corruption”. The full report with further details is available through the website of Transparency International.