Malta: Acusations of corruption answered firmly

by Benny Royston 77 views

Accusations of possible corruption appear to have been made in Malta by Ms. Grace Borg, leader of the AKAM group for singers and songwriters in Malta. The following report is from esctoday.com's partner website, escmalta.com and is reproduced with permission:

"Today, Ms. Grace Borg, leader of the AKAM group for singers and song writers, made allegations about the selection procedure used to choose the 16 finalists for the Malta Song For Europe. Ms. Borg said that AKAM has filed a judicial protest in court asking MAltasong to publish the results for the selection.

The Association, which is directed by former Malta Song Board chairperson Grace Borg and which represents a number of artists who sought to qualify for the Song for Europe Contest, has asked for the publishing of the results for the sake of transparency.

In view of the work and investment that the artists have made in the project, the Association said it was ready to take legal action if the information was not given.

As a reply to this,the Malta Song Board has reacted to the serious allegations made in public by Ms Grace Borg, when she addressed a meeting called by AKAM, the Association for Maltese Singers, Authors and Composers, which she herself heads.

The Board stated that it deems these allegations serious enough to warrant criminal prosecution, if founded. It will therefore be calling upon Ms Borg to provide details to the Police as the Malta Song Board chairman will in fact ask the Commissioner of Police to initiate an investigation into Ms Borg's allegations. Similarly, however, it will expect the authorities to take all such steps as may be necessary and as contemplated by law against the person/s making the allegations if, on the other hand, the allegations are not substantiated. The practice of casting vague accusations in the media without sustaining them is not only reprehensible, but dangerous, and can seriously undermine a process such as the forthcoming selection of the Malta Song for Europe, particularly during this sensitive period as the contestants are gearing up for the competition which is just over a week away, the statement added.

But what the Board finds equally disconcerting, the statement continued, is the fact that someone, and particularly a former chairperson who, during her tenure, had followed these same procedures as the current ones, can call for the publication of the votes obtained so far, at this stage of the process. This has never been the practice, for the simple and obvious reason that it would not be prudent to do so since it could otherwise influence public perception and, consequently, the final televoting process. Individual singers can request to know the votes they obtained once the festival is over.

These allegations apart, Malta Song Board chairman stated, it is also perplexing how the selection procedure, announced in regulations published as far back as September, and adhered to through each eliminatory phase, has only now been alleged to lack transparency. The Board observed that during the initial and second eliminatory phases, Ms Borg was only present at the selection venue when a particular song, penned by a foreign composer, was being performed. Since this song made it through the first phase but not the second, the Board can only conclude that this was the reason behind the timing of the statements made at the recent public gathering.

The Malta Song Board reiterated that its actions and dealings with the parties concerned have been transparent and responsible throughout and encourages all people involved to act with the same degree of responsibility, as ultimately befits a national competition of this level, for the benefit of the Maltese music scene in general."

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