Whistleblower rights should be in the Constitution - AD

Alternattiva Demokratika in Parliament will work to ensure that freedom of information, data protection and whistle blower rights are defined appropriately and entrenched in the Constitution, spokesman Arnold Cassola said.

Addressing a news conference in front of Castille this morning, Prof. Cassola said it was quite startling that the PN had not made any reference in its electoral programme to the Whistle Blower Act, which was so vital to uncover misdeeds, both in the present and in the past.

“In the many years they have been in Parliament both PN and PL have not enacted this law, thus risking that the big scandals regarding bribery from oil companies, which are being uncovered today, remain unresolved.”

Prof. Cassola said that as regarded public funds, the auditor general should maintain his discretionary powers.

 “AD is also proposing that the prescription period on acts of corruption be lengthened so that the state can recover some of the money taken illegally from the people.  Even the political parties have to be controlled by means of a law that regulates the financing of political parties, which regulates the present jungle of millions of euros that at the moment PN and PL are getting from private speculators who finance the two parties, and who will get back their money with interest when one of either PN or PL is in government.”

To stop this abuse, AD in parliament would proposing a law that obliged political parties to make public the name of all those who donated more than € 5,000 in a year, and donations of over

€40,000 would become illegal.

The threshold for spending of individual candidates would go up from €1,600 to €4,000.

AD deputy chairman Carmel Cacopardo said that it appeared that the conclusions of the Commissioner for Data Protection where it was recommended that the Electoral Commission did not need a list of the names of patients in hospitals save for the last week before the elections, would be ignored.

In the coming days, the Electoral Commission would distribute updated information on patients in hospitals and residents in homes to political parties.

AD has already refused the first of these lists because it believed that political parties did not need such lists. The Electoral Commission’s failure to follow the recommendations of the Commissioner for Data Protection meant that the PN and PL would ride roughshod over everyone in their quest for votes.

Mr Cacopardo also spoke about transparency in the private sector because it was not only the state which had to be transparent

“Within the context of Corporate Social Responsibility, nowadays there are many organisations which publish reports on a regular basis in which they give details of their impact principally (although not exclusively) on the community where they operate.

“So far in Malta it is only two companies which do this - Bank of Valletta and Vodafone which published two editions of their reports.  Each of these publications is a positive contribution but in every case there is room for improvement in the political direction as well as in the content of the reports.”

AD insists that it is essential that this is extended to all companies listed in the Stock Exchange as well as to parastatal corporations such as Enemalta and the Water Services Corporation together with those companies in the private sector which employed over 1,000 people.

“It is important to underline that environmental reporting is as important as financial reporting and thus should also be subject to a process of verification,” he said.


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