Silvio Schembri still refuses to answer questions about €31 million lease for MBR offices

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri continues to refuse to provide parliament with standard information about the lease of a bathroom showroom in Zejtun for use as the headquarters of the Malta Business Registry (MBR), which cost taxpayers a staggering €31 million.

Described by the Auditor General, after an investigation, as a ‘prohibitive’ deal, the questionable lease contract has been withheld from parliament by Schembri, who has avoided replying to parliamentary questions on the subject since November. He has been asked to state how many square metres have been leased out through the 2 million a year deal and to table the related contract.

While he insists that the 15-year lease contract is “commercially sensitive,” despite the fact that it’s being funded by taxpayers, Schembri refuses to share any details of the area of the lease the MBR is paying for.

Following up on four identical and consecutive questions from former PN MP Joe Ellis, asking simply for the size of the lease in square metres – to which Schembri repeatedly replied that “the information was still being gathered” – PN transport spokesman Ryan Callus has now asked the minister whether he has been able to gather the elusive information.

Surprisingly, seven months after promising parliament he would provide it, Silvio Schembri was still unable to give a reply, instead referring to a previous unrelated answer he gave last year.

Both Schembri’s ministry, as well as the MBR itself, have turned down various FOI requests made by The Shift for a copy of the lease contract. The issue is now being investigated by the Data Protection Commissioner as The Shift is insisting that the public has a right to be given this information.

The Shift has previously reported that when answering a question on the lease contract, Schembri had provided information to parliament that was different to that revealed by the Audit Office.

Schembri had told parliament that the lease was costing taxpayers under 500,000 a year, but the Auditor General found that the real true sum was four times as much.

It was found that apart from the 26 million that taxpayers will be forking out for the next 15 years in rent, the MBR also paid more than 5 million for the building to be converted into luxury offices.

During the last elections, the Luqa MP was one of the highest electoral campaign spenders in his bid to get elected from the two districts he contested. 

His electoral expenses report to the Electoral Commission showed that he spent some 31,000, although a number of his activities were unaccounted for or priced significantly below market value.

                           
                               
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KLAUS
KLAUS
1 month ago

How many more pinstriped suits can MAFIA Malta take before it all collapses?
My personal impression is that the taxes are used almost exclusively for the enrichment of a few and not for Malta.
There should have been a court filing here long ago. Not so in Malta.
The reeling PN and the greedy PL seem to be working together here.
Only Rebbublika represents the interests of the Maltese.

carlo
carlo
1 month ago
Reply to  KLAUS

Agree 100% but let’s fact it – it the people’s fault as otherwise we would have been on the street since the first scandal – that of premiere’s cafe – 4.5 million from the honest workers pockets. Hallelin ta’ flus il-poplu, u l-gahan icapcap.

D. Borg
D. Borg
1 month ago

Guess that’s why mbr is sending out judicial letters and lambasting penalties, to companies which have been idle for donkey’s years.
They are evidently very generous with the landlord, but illogically pedantic with everyone else.
Why is Schembri still in Parliament, when there is such an inconsistency in his electoral expenses declaration? Electoral Commission is a sick joke.

carlo
carlo
1 month ago
Reply to  D. Borg

BEACAUSE WE LIVE IN A MAFIA LAND.

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 month ago

The political party in Office continues to transform itself into a very dangerous establishment to the detriment of democracy. Corruption stands at its highest levels and it continues to be clearly manifested to everyone without a slight of shame. It is there to see and sense except for the blind. Institutions are dormant and the morale of the police force stands at its lowest levels. Meanwhile, Institutions continue to be taken for a ride by this corrupt lot. Enforcement is almost non-existent. Proper Planning to salvage what is left of our physical environment continues to be ignored. Construction is once more picking up. I am convinced that the majority of People will start to learn soon, but to go through this transition early, the citizens of this country deserve an opposition to be led by a charismatic leader who inpires with his or her tangible vision. Otherwise people will continue to fear the much needed change!

carlo
carlo
1 month ago

Are you expecting a miracle? – of course he would not disclose. Malajr tghallmu kif jisolhu l-haddiem. Taf tsthu. La sibtu poplu ngwejjef sewwa taghmlu.

protolangue
protolangue
1 month ago

The Sinister minister doesn’t provide full and relevant answers ? The Opposition is not being listened to or heard in Parliament ? What to do ? The Opposition must decide to boycott parliament for as long as necessary! Let Labor mafia debate, legislate and implement while EU institutions are watching !

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