Recently the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations hit the news as fingers were pointed towards the Ministry in Gozo. The Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations wants the Auditor General to probe the Gozo Ministry on grounds of “disregard of the law” in its administration of the Gozo NGO fund, the Times of Malta has learnt. The Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations has been controversial over many organisations over the years. Indeed, a few of the targets of the Commissioner were the Malta Community Chest Fund as well as various religious organisations including the Catholic Church.
The Commissioner seems to be a good armchair critic but has failed to bring the necessary reforms over the years in order to encourage voluntary organisations to enroll with his office. Indeed, the law has not been changed since its enactment in spite of the outcry of Voluntary organisations. Prior to the the last General Elections, the office of the Commissioner did a futile exercise to change the law. This exercise was a dictatorship exercise rather than a consultation process. The review of the law seems to have been spearheaded by a particular law firm.
This same law firm seems to have been the only law firm used by the Commissioner since the set up of the Commissioner of Voluntary Organisations. There are various questions that come to mind given that this same law firm has been used for approximately a decade. Was a tender ever issued by the Commissioner? What is the extent of the services and what were the fees paid over the years? Does the commissioner have sufficient knowledge or does he need the services of regular consultants? Did this law firm find itself in conflicting positions over the same office?
The Commissioner may need to start practicing what is preached by his office and perhaps clarify the level of transparency engaged into by his office