A lot has been said with respect to Malta’s reputation over the past couple of months. For a country such as Malta, reputation is one of the foundations for its sustainability going forward. Malta is renowned for its economic growth, being spearheaded by gaming, financial services, property, construction and tourism. The financial services and gaming sectors, which are both regulated by independent bodies require a solid reputation for the purpose of sustainable growth.
A solid reputation allows a country such as Malta to continue attracting the attention of international businesses, which contribute to its growing economy. Recent reports and news stories have according to a number of commentators tarnished Malta’s reputation. Media scrutiny in relation to alleged claims of corruption have been plaguing the country for the past couple of years. These have been spearheaded following the revelations of the Panama Papers scandal implicating close aides of the former Prime Minister.
Following numerous months of pressure, the country once again made headlines internationally, for the wrong reasons whereby one of Malta’s most prominent journalists was assassinated in a car bomb tragedy. This raised serious questions with respect to freedom of expression and rule of law in Malta.
Fast forward a few months and amidst corruption claims surrounding money laundering from the highest officials in the country, the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia is also being associated with people who formerly held public office roles. The mere suspicion that people involved in politics may have known something about her murder without coming forward is too much for the country to handle when considering its reputation.
Things are taking a turn for the worst as new revelations are constantly coming up on the fly, especially after the Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff has been apprehended following allegations and evidence of bribery. With consistent updates coming in almost everyday, the situation is likely to get worse, before it gets any better. These events coincide with the current evaluation being undertaken by Moneyval, where Malta faces the prospect of being grey listed by this entity. Such a blow could have negative repercussions on Malta’s reputation with several businesses who would have considered the country to expand its operations, steering away.
With people who are linked with corruption being apprehended, this is interpreted as the first in the many steps required to cleanse Malta’s reputation. What do you think are the next steps for this? Let us know your views in the comments section below.