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20/02/2012 - 21:20

Malta news: Gonzi's game

Malta news: Gonzi's game - Gonzi is just playing for time – Muscat - Efforts to ensure groundwater sustainability must be stepped up - Auditor General - Comptroller of Customs fails to return goods after 19 years and four court judgements.

Malta news: Gonzi's game
Gonzi is just playing for time – Muscat
Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat likened the carnival competitions to the PN leadership contest yesterday, and said that instead of focusing on the economic situation, the prime minister is running a one-man race. Talking during a political activity in St Paul’s Bay, Dr Muscat said the government knows it hasn’t got a majority and that the country needs a stable government. This confirms that it is not the PN councillors’ vote that the prime minister needs. Dr Gonzi is only playing for time and has been avoiding votes in parliament, but he knows what will happen in the end. He cannot continue trying to hide, because the moment of judgement will finally arrive, he said. Dr Muscat referred to the Moody’s downgrade, saying that when credit rating agencies upgraded Malta’s rating a few months ago, the government described it as a certificate of the country’s success. However, the government now said it couldn’t understand why Malta’s rating was downgraded.(independent.com.mt) At election time, it is normal that the political ground is shifting, so be careful what have said not to be absorbed.

Efforts to ensure groundwater sustainability must be stepped up - Auditor General
The prevailing and climate change threats to groundwater have generally been identified, the Auditor General concluded in the performance audit report Safeguarding Malta's Groundwater. He concluded that although the implementation of various initiatives have commenced, efforts must be stepped up to ensure the sustainability of this resource. The risks and vulnerability assessments undertaken classified the overall status of Maltese groundwater bodies as being 'at risk'. These assessments attributed this status to excessive over abstraction as well as high nitrates and chlorides levels. The assessments were based on a number of assumptions, due to limited groundwater abstraction data. The groundwater regulatory framework is mainly reflected in the four key documents, 'A Proposal for a Water Policy for the Maltese Islands' (Water Policy), the 'National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy' (NCCAS), 'The Water Catchment Management Plan for the Maltese Islands' (WCMP), and the 'Nitrates Action Programme' (NAP). Significant progress has been registered in the implementation of measures listed in the WCMP, and to a lesser extent, in the NAP, the AG said. However, the Water Policy was still in draft form and the NCCAS was officially approved by cabinet only recently and was awaiting parliamentary discussion. "Although a number of measures listed in these two documents are being implemented through other plans, a number of initiatives remain outstanding awaiting their formal adoption.(timesofmalta.com) As this is an island, it would be worrying that subterranean waters are polluted

Comptroller of Customs fails to return goods after 19 years and four court judgements
The Comptroller of Customs has been ordered to pay €9,000 in damages after a court found that he had failed to return a car, a speedboat and a trailer seized almost twenty years ago. Mr Justice Lino Farrugia Sacco delivered this judgment following an action for damages filed by Mark Micallef against the Comptroller. Mr Micallef told the court that in April 1993 the Customs Department had confiscated his Ford Transit van, his Rinker speedboat and a trailer on the basis that customs duty on these objects had not been paid. Mr Micallef was charged before the courts with evading customs duty but was acquitted by the Magistrates Court in February 2000. Thejudgment was confirmed by the Court of Criminal Appeal two months later. However, the Comptroller did not release Mr Micallef's possessions and  failed to do so even when ordered to do so by the First Hall of the Civil Court in 2003 following judicial action filed by Mr Micallef. On the contrary, the Comptroller had appealed to the Court of Appeal, but the appeal was deemed to have been abandoned in 2005. In 2006 Mr Micallef filed another writ before the First Hall of the Civil Court asking for the Comptroller to be ordered to pay him damages as the van, the speedboat and the trailer had suffered substantial damages during the 19 years of seizure. The Comptroller contested this action on the basis that he had acted in accordance with the law.(timesofmalta.com) If all taxes of the goods have not been paid, so the goods cannot leave port.

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