MTA grants exemption to its board member to continue excavation works in summer despite ban

A company belonging to one of the board members of the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) has been allowed to continue with its demolition and excavation works on a site in Paceville despite a law preventing such works during the tourism period.

The exemption given to Kevin De Cesare, co-owner of the Eden Leisure Group and a long-time board member of the MTA, was issued by the MTA itself and signed by Chairman Gavin Gulia.

The law states that all demolition and excavations work in touristic areas has to come to a complete halt between 15 June and 30 September. The MTA is the entity authorised to uphold this law.

Neighbours sent The Shift evidence of heavy machinery on site cutting rock and transporting it on loaded trucks, passing from narrow streets in the middle of one of the busiest touristic areas.

The works were ongoing until last Friday at least when The Shift visited the area.

Excavation works ongoing thanks to an exemption the MTA granted to its board member.

Multiple sources also told The Shift that despite their complaints to the Building and Construction Agency (BCA) and the MTA, excavation work continued unabated, accompanied by road closures so that trucks could come out of the site to dump their material with tourists forced to witness the mayhem.

Asked why works were allowed to continue despite the law, a spokesman for the Planning Authority passed the buck onto the BCA. On its part, the BCA confirmed that the De Cesares were given an exemption by the MTA “in order to finish off the required excavations”.

Pressed on the legal provision justifying such a decision, the BCA spokesman did not reply, instead referring The Shift to the MTA.

The MTA refused to reply to questions. Former Labour Minister and MTA Chairman Gavin Gulia failed to provide an explanation on whether granting such an exemption to a board member amounted to an abuse of power.

According to the law, the only exception allowed is when excavations need to continue in order to secure the site and make it safer.

The BCA notification on social media that summer works had to stop in June.

The ongoing project by the Eden Leisure Group, taking place in the area previously occupied by cinemas and a bowling centre, had already made headlines a few months ago when the PA and the MTA thwarted existing policy to accommodate the De Cesares.

According to the Height Limitation Policy of the PA, hotel projects are allowed to have two additional floors over the maximum allowed in the area if the project is to be used as hotel accommodation. Yet the two floors planned for this project are for office space, not tourism accommodation.

PA officials working on this development application had originally refused to give in, stating that the project was against policy.

A permit was still issued as the owners obtained the approval of the MTA which stated that the office floors included in the project were going to be used as part of the hotel for the management of its operations.

Plans revealed by The Shift show that while the Eden Group employs some 50 office workers, they will be building a place to host over 250.

The area already hosts several companies that offer office space for rent.

Kevin De Cesare, one of the main shareholders, was appointed to various boards and entities by disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat.

The Shift had also reported that Prime Minister Robert Abela used to give legal services to companies associated with the De Cesares prior to becoming prime minister.

                           
                               
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Hubert
Hubert
1 month ago

897 Bay, owned by Kevin Decesare also benefitted from direct orders from Malta Gaming Authority thanks to instructions from disgraced Joe Cuschieri.

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

There are rules for the gods and rules for us peasants.
The Decesares own a hotel there and a Casino. Aren’t they shooting themselves in the foot.
I wonder what their residents think about staying in their hotel
Also does anyone know when the digging will end?
MTA do you know?

Marjo
Marjo
1 month ago
Reply to  Francis Said

Who cares when works will end? What the MTA cares about is what it must be getting for such favours.

Luke
Luke
1 month ago

Indeed the exemptions have been granted to almost all the companies …look what is happening to qawra, first request for exemption, when the expiry of this one they took all foreigners to work under the sun with jiggers as if they were excavators, the result has not changed anything and the MTA is silent … everyone is silent despite the numerous complaints…

carlos
1 month ago
Reply to  Luke

The gahans and corrupt voted for this. It’s only the people who can stop all the illegalities, but greed and corruption is taking priority.

carmel Cilia
carmel Cilia
1 month ago

This morning the coast road between the Qawra Hotel and the Suncrest was closed. We were directed to a secondary street to bi pass the obstacle however there was another obstruction on the side road and after waiting for 15 minutes wherein in the concrete carrier hit a small car we were directed in a one way road to find ourselves past these two hotels. Its a shame our politicians are subservant to the construction lobby. WHY WHY?

Marjo
Marjo
1 month ago
Reply to  carmel Cilia

Why? That’s easy to say – only money talks on this god forsaken rock.

carlos
1 month ago

Third world – limitless corruption. And then we spend millions under the disguise of attracting tourism. CROOKS

Greed
Greed
1 month ago

Surely a conflict of interest here? Probably not for the pigs at the trough but definitely for us mere mortals?

Charles Camilleri
Charles Camilleri
1 month ago

Once you are one of the friends of friends the laws do apply to you.

G.DIMECH
G.DIMECH
1 month ago

wake up at Pieta please, that is your role as the opposition.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago

The business dons who govern this Mafia rock.

M.Galea
M.Galea
1 month ago

Nope! The mafia that are pretending they are governing this rock are all in business with the mentioned ‘business dons’. Thats is the reality! All hiding their names after the latter!

John Portelli
John Portelli
1 month ago

Politicians are merely puppets of business dons. Always was and always will be. Only the people can change that. But………….

jingo
jingo
1 month ago

I am amazed how you expect that some form of legislation actually holds under this government or with developers.

M.Galea
M.Galea
1 month ago
Reply to  jingo

Its not going to happen! This business is the politician business!

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 month ago

I cannot understand why BCA passed the buck to MTA, when the former is the body responsible from enforcement by definition of law. What a laughter of Authorities are we packed with. It would be interesting to ask for a resume of these Authorities’ hefty wages that is costing the taxpayer’s money. Likewise it would be interesting to measure respective costs against outputs, even if the answer is clearly visible to sense – zilg!

Albert Mamo
Albert Mamo
1 month ago

IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING. “BLATANT CORRUPTION OF THE HIGHEST ORDER”.

WITH THIS MOST CORRUPT FASCIST LABOUR GOVERNMENT. THE BIG BUSINESS BUDDIES DO WHAT THEY WANT. AFTER ALL, THATS WHERE THE UNDERHANDED COMMISSIONS COME FROM!!!🤑🤑👎

A. Dalli
A. Dalli
1 month ago

Blooming disgraceful

Ivan Bartolo
Ivan Bartolo
1 month ago

Pajjiz tal bigilla tal biza.

Aggie
Aggie
1 month ago

Nice to have friends in high places, who circumvent the Law to allow clear infractions to be undertaken, without any recourse. No wonder Malta is going to the dogs when utter lawlessness is not only permitted but blatantly ignored.

Maltese sheet
Maltese sheet
1 month ago

I have traveled the world but I have never seen a country so corrupt as to put the crap they do in your face, this country sucks me

Henry Pace
Henry Pace
1 month ago

A country that lost its sails and rudder

Last edited 1 month ago by Henry Pace

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