MaltaToday previous editions

MALTATODAY 24 October 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 55

2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 24 OCTOBER 2021 NEWS Thank you... for having bought this newspaper mt The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors JAMES DEBONO THE donation reports and ac- counts submitted by political parties for 2019 and 2020 are still not available to the gener- al public as the Electoral Com- mission is still reviewing these reports after auditors identified "deficiencies" which required further verifications. At law registered political par- ties have to present statement of accounts on an annual basis and name corporate or indi- vidual donors who donate over €7,000, in annual reports. "Outstanding reports for 2019 and 2020 are still being re- viewed by the Electoral Com- mission's professional auditors, in line with the Financing of Political Parties Act," Chief Electoral Commissioner Joe Camilleri told MaltaToday this week. The Chief Electoral Commis- sioner explained that the re- ports can only be published on the commission's website after passing through the scrutiny of the commission's auditors. He explained that whenever the auditors highlight any de- ficiencies in the reports pre- sented by political parties, the respective parties involved are notified and asked to clarify or answer the observations, which would have been brought to their attention. "When replies are received from the political parties in- volved, this feedback is referred back to the auditors for further review. As soon as the reports are finally cleared by the Elec- toral Commission, they are published on the Commission's website. Very few 'donors' identified in past reports The last donation reports to be published were those for 2018. In that particular year the PN raised €1.57 million while the Labour Party collect- ed €1.37 million. While the PL received €25,000 from Sensiela Kotba Soċjalisti, the PL's pub- lishing house, and €10,000 from the Ħamrun party club, the PN managed to get a €10,100 dona- tion from Sam Abela, the son of former PN MP Tony Abela. In 2017, which coincided with a general election, the Nation- alist Party received over €3.36 million, significantly more than the Labour Party, which re- ceived just over €1.98 million. The Labour Party received two donations over the €7,000 threshold – €15,000 from Mar- lene Gauci and one of €10,000 from Tarcisio Galea Properties, a corporate entity. The Nation- alist Party received a €10,320 donation from Sam Abela. Corporate donations were more prominent in reports is- sued in 2016 when the Labour Party had collected €93,000 in donations of over €7,000. These donors comprised Attard Bros and Eurocraft (€10,000 each), €20,000 from Sea View & Sons, €10,000 from Camland, GAP Holdings, Hal Mann, and BV Formosa, and €13,000 from the Marsaxlokk party club. The PN received a single donation of €18,000 that came from former Nationalist MP Anthony Abela. The party financing law, pro- posed and enacted by the post 2013 Labour government, stip- ulates that no party is allowed to receive donations by the same person or entity exceed- ing €25,000 in any given finan- cial year. Donations of up to €50 may be made anonymously; those of up to €500 can be kept confiden- tial by the party, however the Commission may request in- formation if it suspects wrong- doing. Donations between €500- €7,000 cannot be received in a confidential manner and must show the donor's name if re- quested. Donations exceeding €7,000 must be registered with the Electoral Commission and be published online. Individual candidates are also subject to restrictions on cam- paigns. They may only spend up to €20,000 in donations from one district, or €40,000 from two, during general elec- tion campaigns. Local council campaign spending is capped at €5,000, while MEP candi- dates' campaigns are capped at €50,000. But crucially these limits on- ly apply from the moment an election date is announced, which means that no law cov- ers campaign spending during previous months of election- eering. And although parties are obliged to publish the names of donors who give them more than €7,000, this does not cover commercial arrangements in- volving companies they own as well as loans made to political parties. This issue came to the fore following revelations that do- nations by the DB Group to the PN were disguised as Net TV advertising. This prompted the Electoral Commission to appoint an investigative board to probe all the cases of alleged breaches of the law. But this investigation was brought to a halt after the Constitutional Court declared that by acting as investigator, prosecutor and judge, the Electoral Commis- sion breaches the Constitution and the European Convention, including the right to a fair hearing. And despite greater concern by civil society on corporate donations conditioning parties in matters like construction regulations and planning rules, no attempt was made to reform party financing laws. In a re- cent interview with the Times, Gozitan developer Joe Portelli confirmed that his companies donate monies to both political parties. "You can't donate the amounts of money that people think we do. There are laws. But yes, we do help them. Out of respect. And we help both parties," Portelli said. Impossible to verify donations parties have recieved on eve of election because 2019 and 2020 reports are yet to be verified by Electoral Commission Party donation reports still being verified

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of MaltaToday previous editions - MALTATODAY 24 October 2021