If Malta does not learn from this audit and simply correct things to pass an exam, then it would be missing out on a great opportunity, The Malta Chamber President Perit David Xuereb told The Malta Independent on the MoneyVal situation.
Earlier this month, the government finalised all the requests and recommendations that were put forward by MoneyVal (a monitoring body of the Council of Europe) in its report which raised a number of flags in Malta’s economic procedures and is now waiting for assessment.
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri and also Prime Minister Robert Abela have insisted that the government has ticked all the boxes and made all the required changes for Malta not to end up in the Financial Action Task Force’s grey list, which would make the country unattractive to foreign investment.
Notably, The Malta Chamber has been a major stakeholder throughout this MoneyVal process, making numerous recommendations and suggestions for the government to heed in order to satisfy the needs of the audit report.
Following a press conference on Wednesday, in which the Chamber announced its proposals for the upcoming budget, this newsroom asked Xuereb if it has had the chance to look at the MoneyVal documentsubmitted by the government and if they agree with the minister’s on Malta’s chances of getting grey listed.
Xuereb started off by saying that good governance is an overarching matter that is the basis for a successful business and the MoneyVal report is an audit that has made discussions on this very important manner a priority.
“If we really mean well to ourselves, our country and our businesses, then we should take it seriously. I believe that the government, institutions and certainly the Chamber have considered the MoneyVal report as a risk, but more importantly as an opportunity to correct whatever needed to be modified.”
He pointed out that by putting together all of the stakeholders in the private sector to think outside of the box and support each other as well as the drafting of a report, as a reaction to the MoneyVal audit, the Chamber left no stone unturned to learn from this audit. “If we do not learn from this audit and correct things to pass an exam, then I think we will be missing out.”
Xuereb said that the Chamber has not looked at the document which the government has recently submitted but neither did it ask to. However, it has discussed it with the government “who has, for the umpteenth time reassured us that the report has ticked all the boxes.”
Now everyone needs to ensure that the actions taken at government level, at unilateral level and also at the level of actions in business, actually reflect what is being presented, he added.
“We (the Chamber) are not waiting for any direction, we are already working with international partners and local regulators and experts to be able to support the sensitisation on what good governance, money-laundering and corruption are all about in a world where these risks exist and will continue to increase. Thus, we have to be resilient and ensure that all businesses – small, medium or large – to have the right infrastructure to tackle these risks.”