Inland Revenue failed to send tax assessors to PM’s ‘undervalued’ ODZ property

Commissioner could be complicit in Abela’s tax evasion – IRD sources

 

Tista’ taqra bil-Malti

Former Inland Revenue Commissioner Marvin Gaerty failed to send his department’s architects to assess Robert Abela’s newly acquired ‘undervalued’ property in 2017 although lRD officials had internally flagged the need for a valuation according to the law, The Shift has learned.

In the latest twist over possible tax fraud by Abela over the acquisition of a two-tumoli ODZ property in Zejtun, which Abela declared he acquired for just €600,000, Gaerty is refusing to explain his lack of action over this deal.

Asked by The Shift to account for why his department did not send its assessors to compile a valuation of Abela’s villa, which industry experts insist was clearly undervalued by the prime minister, Gaerty hid behind the law, insisting that “no information on persons can be provided due to secrecy and confidentiality”.

However, tax experts consulted by The Shift said that while it is true that the Commissioner is not at liberty to divulge certain information, the same law allows for his discretion, particularly if an issue of public interest is involved such as a possible case of tax evasion by the head of government.

Gaerty was removed from his position at the end of last year and was instead transferred to a newly created role at the Finance Ministry as head of a tax review working group.

Through a contract published by notary Dorianne Arapa in July 2017, Abela and his wife declared that they had acquired a massive ODZ property in Zejtun for €600,000. Real estate agents said the value of the property at the time was closer to €2 million. No loan was needed for this payment.

 

The contract was signed just five days after the PA gave its green light to sanction almost half of the property, a large part of it built illegally. A fine of €45,000 was imposed on the sellers, Joseph and Alfrida Camilleri. The PA has refused to say whether the fine has actually been paid.

According to the law, the CIR is obliged to send the department’s architects when a suspicion of a declared undervaluation is flagged. However, for some reason, Gaerty decided not to send the assessors to make a valuation report, although the contract was immediately flagged internally.

One of the department’s architects told The Shift that under normal circumstances such a contract as the one presented by Abela would be immediately referred to the architects for an assessment.

“It is obvious, even at first glance, that Abela’s contract needed at least an assessment. The department’s decision in this case is very strange, to say the least, and there may be a case of complicity in tax evasion.  At this stage questions need to be answered by the department, and convincingly. An investigation by the ombudsman may also be needed,” the official said.

                           
                               
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Anon
Anon
1 month ago

What people are missing is that even if it is the case that there for was no influence peddling or corruption, the fact that Robert Abela used commercial sensitive information which he was privy to due to being on retainer with the Planning Authority which was not yet in the public domain, to further his own personal gain by speculating on property he knew was going to be regularized is a crime in it of itself. This is textbook insider trading.

Kizzy
Kizzy
1 month ago
Reply to  Anon

Insider Trading does not appear to be recognised as a crime in Malta, but seems to fall under ‘jolly good luck’ and ‘you’re jealous’ if you say otherwise.

Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
1 month ago

Potentially a “saving” of stamp duty at the rate of 5% on 1.4 million, or in plain terms 70,000 euros went missing. Gaerty and Abela were not strangers. Now vote for another five years of these scammers.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 month ago

No wonder Robert Abela refused interview by independent media.

Toni Borg
Toni Borg
1 month ago

Dan korrott izjed minn ta qablu!

minn got tagen ghal gon nhar!

carlo
carlo
1 month ago
Reply to  Toni Borg

U issa x’sejjer jigri? Kollox itir mar-rih?

carlo
carlo
1 month ago

Hope that the past scandals over9 years of the muvument korrott won’t be swept under the carpet (including the assassination of our heroine Ms. D.Caruana Galizia).
More than 50% of the Maltese population (those who voted or the PN and those who did not collect their vote document or did not vote and which amounted to 60,000) have the RIGHT to see that justice is made.
And may I ask if Turkey rings a bell to anglu and michelle.

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