Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Azzopardi took the oath of office as the second Commissioner for Standards in Public Life during a ceremony presided by President of Malta George Vella at Sant’Anton Palace.
President Vella remarked that, apart from individual cases, the role of Commissioner for Standards in Public Life plays a crucial role in further developing the culture of scrutiny, which needs to be further strengthened among us.
During his speech, President Vella noted that the fields falling under the responsibility of Dr Azzopardi as Commissioner for Standards in Public Life are delicate and sensitive as they bring him close to our country’s political scene. “In the performance of your duties, in order to determine the occurrence of illegal acts, abuses of power or breach of ethics, you will be required to act with absolute integrity and independence, while relying on detailed and factual inquiries,” said President Vella.
The foundations and prospects for exhaustive work in the near future are already in place, thanks to the results achieved by this office, added the President, referring to the study published by the European Commission a few days ago entitled Handbook of Good Practices in the Fight Against Corruption, which with regards to fighting corruption and enhancing transparency in the European Union, it mentions the work of Malta’s Commissioner for Standards in a very positive manner.
“It also appears that the office has gained international respect as both the Council of Europe and the European Commission refer to its reports and recommendations from time to time. All this acknowledges the functioning of the institutions of our country,” observed President Vella, while auguring that in the coming months and years the work continues to constantly build on the results and the levels reached so far.
President Vella concluded by saying that through established and clear parameters against any abuse, and equitable and strong enforcement, one would feel that they can serve their country in the political field without any fear and with serenity.
Present for the oath of office ceremony were Prime Minister Robert Abela, Leader of the Opposition Bernard Grech, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Anġlu Farrugia.