27 Oct 2023

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has issued a report on the system by which ministers and other MPs declare their assets every year.

The report is one of the final outputs of a two-year project entitled “Improving the Integrity and Transparency Framework in Malta”, which was being conducted by the OECD at the request of the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life and with funding from the European Union. The report is available at https://one.oecd.org/document/GOV/PGC/INT(2023)12/FINAL/en/pdf.

Currently, ministers draw up annual declarations of their income and assets which are laid on the table of the House of Representatives, as a result of which they become publicly accessible through the House of Representatives website. All MPs declare their assets (but not income) using a separate form. Declarations by MPs are not published but are open to inspection by the public.

Among other things, the OECD report on asset declarations proposes that the requirement to declare one’s assets should apply to certain persons of trust in addition to ministers and MPs, and that declarations should include more information than is currently the case. In addition, declarations should be submitted directly to the office of the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life by means of an electronic system.

The report also proposes that there should be a formalised system for the declaration of conflicts of interest (for instance, if a member of Parliament has an interest in legislation before the House). This should be separate from the declaration of assets.