Robert Abela reappoints Joseph Portelli’s architect as construction industry regulator

The government has once again bowed to the pressure of Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli and has controversially reappointed his architect, Maria Schembri Grima, to head the industry’s regulator for the next three years.

The Shift is informed that Schembri Grima’s appointment as chairperson of the Building and Construction Agency (BCA) was made on the direct intervention of Prime Minister Robert Abela even though, on paper, Public Works Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi is responsible for the agency.

Sources close to the agency told The Shift that despite the intense unofficial lobbying, particularly by NGOs and elements of the Chamber of Architects not to re-appoint Portelli’s architect as chair of the regulator, Abela ignored all opposition and insisted on Schembri Grima’s re-appointment in order to appease Portelli and his associates – who are self-declared donors to the Labour Party.

“This re-appointment is just a reconfirmation, if there was any need, of how the government is completely in the pockets of the construction lobby,” industry sources told The Shift.

“While even from a PR perspective, it would have made sense for the government to show that it’s at arm’s length from the industry, still the PM seems to be so much indebted to Portelli and his likes that he prefers sacrificing his own political interests to appease his donors,” the sources said.

Maria Schembri Grima, a relatively unknown architect, was made the first chairperson of the BCA in 2021. The agency was set up to regulate the industry after the catastrophic building collapse which caused the tragic death of Miriam Pace.

The Shift reported on the way in which the architect’s private practice served mostly Jospeh Portelli and his clan and depended almost entirely on his projects. This immediately raised eyebrows in the industry and put in doubt the real intentions of the government.

Apart from appearing on almost all of Portelli’s major developments, turning old Maltese houses into hundreds of small flats while destroying Maltese village characteristics, Schembri Grima also appeared in defence of Portelli’s use of a completely illegal concrete batching plant in Kercem, Gozo.

Confronted about her obvious conflict of interest, Schembri Grima defended her position by stating that her role was on a non-executive basis.

Despite of all these red flags and an opportunity to replace her following the board’s resignation after the election, Robert Abela has gone ahead and re-appointed her.

The government’s other appointees on the BCA board include Ian Borg – a lawyer who used to work in the private office of Prime Minister Abela; Architect Robert Ellul Sciberras – who practices in Zurrieq, the minister’s district; Abigail Cutajar – an advisor and canvasser of Minister Miriam Dalli; and Alex Scerri Herrera – son of Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera and nephew of former Minister Jose’ Herrera.



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2 years ago

Poor Malta.

2 years ago

Ieqfu irrepetu li dawn l izviluppaturi qed jaghmlu l iridu ghax huma donaturi tal partiti! X faqar ta hsieb! L politici huma zviluppaturi huma stess jinhbew wara isem dawn l izviluppaturi! U ovvja t tnejn igawdu! Dik hi l verita!

Francis Said
Francis Said
2 years ago

All for the extended family. Malta Taghna Lkoll in practice.
Well done Bobby.

2 years ago

Continuity , in its full gory details.
Portelli and his pool.
The corrupt ex AG re employed as a government consultant.
A Police Commissioner who is busy eating raspberries .
Valletta turned into Babylon with the City Major , Laburist sal Mewt type , doing the up yours sign and adds two streets to the mayhem approved list.
Portable showers in Mater Dei while paying millions to Vitals for fuck all .

Melissa Bagley
Melissa Bagley
2 years ago

The Prime MInister of Malta is Joseph Portelli.

2 years ago

What do you expect from the consultant of the must corrupt pm Malta ever had.

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