The Planning Authority has said it is investigating the illegal change of use of a plot of land from agricultural land to a yard for heavy construction vehicles occupied by V&C Group, a family-owned business conglomerate.
The plot, situated in Triq il-Kustinjus in the limits of Naxxar, was once home to chicken farms. According to the site’s planning history, V&C turned the agricultural land into two large yards with an adjacent, illegal yard on the northern side of the plot.
The legal status of the two large yards is unclear because there are missing applications in the site’s history.
There are no relevant applications that indicate whether V&C’s yards were built according to planning processes or whether they were sanctioned after they were illegally built. The only applications that are available refer to chicken-breeding houses, not construction yards for heavy vehicles.
The yard on the northern side of the plot shows a pending enforcement notice (EC/00069/21) that refers to “dumping of construction material, shifting of soil, removal of rubble walls, parking of heavy machinery and change of use from agriculture fields to yard without permit on ODZ land”.
V&C is one of the shareholding companies behind Bitmac, another site exposed by The Shift’s investigations on agricultural areas that were converted into concrete batching plants and yards for material storage.
In 2017, Vincent Borg, one of the two brothers behind V&C, applied for a permit to convert the illegal yard into an “equestrian facility” including a track for horses, training facilities including hydrotherapy for rehabilitation, solar panels and other facilities such as stores and manure clamp on ODZ land (PA/02279/17).
However, the application was withdrawn at the request of the applicant. The only other pending application, PA/03702/21, is unavailable because the application is incomplete.
A group of at least 15 companies, links with Tum Invest
The influence exerted by V&C Group’s multiple business arms extends over virtually every economic sector in Malta. V&C’s ventures are regular recipients of government direct orders, particularly for roadworks contracts running into hundreds of thousands of euros.
According to the group’s own LinkedIn profile and searches on the Malta business registry, V&C comprises five companies bearing the initials of the names of the brothers behind the group, Vincent and Charles Borg, who were originally set up as contractors for construction works.
Since then, V&C has expanded into development, investments, hospitality, medical supplies, childcare, real estate and financial services.
One of V&C’s companies, Centerparc Holdings, is partly owned by Tum Invest, cousins of Yorgen Fenech who branched out from Tumas Group. One of Tum Invest’s owners, Matthew Fenech, is a close friend of Joseph and Michelle Muscat, as well as Diane and Karl Izzo of Dizz Group – a point they make by regularly posting their pictures of travel and social events on Instagram.
Centerparc had obtained a permit to build a complex housing camping retail chain Decathlon in what used to be an agricultural field in a densely trafficked area in Qormi.
According to Malta Today, V&C, through Centerparc Holdings, applied for further permits for an expansion of the project in July of this year.
A historical farmhouse that had been demolished to make way for the project was not put together properly as the developers failed to reconstruct it using the original stonework. No permission was sought for the works, halted by the planning authority in 2018.
Another joint venture between V&C and Tum Invest involved a company that was set up in July 2018, La Cava Operations. In 2019, Illum reported that the company was given a licence to operate as a waste dumping site in just six days at a time when most quarries were unable to operate due to invalid licensing and when construction was at its peak, yielding hefty profits for the company.