The Maltese government has been blasted by a delegation of MEPs for its “perception of impunity.” The delegation was on a fact-finding mission in the country following the October 16 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Portuguese MEP and Leader of the delegation Ana Gomes supported the statement of her colleague Sven Giegold, who told the press that he left the country "more concerned about the Rule Of Law than when I arrived."

The delegation of MEPs brought up numerous issues including the government's lack of activity in combating money laundering in the country.

Mrs Gomes warned that a failure to address the shortfalls of the Maltese government's response could risk "importing criminals and money laundering into the whole EU".

Malta’s selling of passports to foreigners without publishing their identity was also sharply criticised, as it could effectively allow criminals to purchase EU citizenship undetected.

Concern was also expressed over the lack of prosecutions following the revelations of the Panama papers, in which it was alleged that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife hid $1m in payments from Azerbaijan’s ruling family. Energy minister Konrad Mizzi was also alleged to have been keeping money in offshore accounts.

Corruption scandal deepens

The MEP delegation's condemnation of the government's failure to properly implement new laws has deepened the country's corruption scandal.

Both the ruling party and the opposition were criticised, while the sufficiency of the country's separation of powers was also questioned.

The issue of freedom of speech and journalism in the small island nation has also been raised.

The corruption scandal came to light following the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia using a bomb attached to her car.

Caruana Galizia had been demonised by those she criticised for many years and had also received multiple anonymous death threats before her murder.

Caruana Galizia's most recent work before her death had connected PM Muscat and other ministers to the revelations of the Panama papers. Nobody has yet been found responsible for the murder of the 53-year-old, who had also criticised banks and linked the country's successful gaming industry to the mafia.

The delegation is expected to continue in Brussels with the possibility for further questioning of Maltese government officials.

A demonstration in support of civil liberties will take place in the capital Valletta on Saturday, December 2.