PA finally issues enforcement notice… against only one of the illegal Comino kiosks

Updated to include comment from Sandro Ciliberti

After years of operating an illegal kiosk at one of Comino’s idyllic bays, known as Santa Marija, the Planning Authority (PA) has finally issued an enforcement notice accusing its alleged owner, Sandro Ciliberti, of running an illegal operation without a permit.

According to the PA, Ciliberti – a Maltese businessman living in Xagħra, Gozo, developed his kiosk structure illegally without even seeking a permit. The PA also imposed daily fines on Ciliberti until he regularised his position by sanctioning the illegal kiosk or removing it altogether.

The kiosk involved in this latest enforcement notice has been operating illegally from the same place for several years. The maximum fine the owner is supposed to pay the PA cannot exceed €50 a day, a paltry sum next to the thousands a day in turnover that the illegal kiosk is expected to generate during the summer months.

PA sources told The Shift that the latest action “is more of a political statement to make the authorities look as if they are doing something to rein in the chaos they allowed to dominate Comino over the past years.”

The same sources said that while it is commendable that after years of reports, the illegal kiosk run by Ciliberti has been served with an enforcement order, it is still not known why the other kiosks, all deemed illegal, are not yet facing the same.

In 2014, Sandro Ciliberti was given a concession by the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) to provide deckchairs at Santa Marija Bay. This concession, which has already come to an end but is operational without the issue of a new tender, was hotly contested by other businessmen involved in other illegalities in Comino, particularly Daniel Refalo, the owner of another concession and the business associate of Gozitan construction magnate Joseph Portelli.

Yet, following an appeal filed against the MTA in 2014, the concession was still given to Ciliberti even though he was accused of already running the concession before it was even issued by the MTA.

In 2016, Ciliberti and his girlfriend were the victims of a bomb placed at their residence in Xagħra. Although they escaped unscathed, the police suspected this was linked to his business interests in Comino.

Apart from Ciliberti, business on the island is dominated by several other operators, all with some illegal activity on the island.

While another two  MTA deckchair concessions were given in 2014 to Daniel Refalo and Mark Cutajar – a canvasser of Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri and the brother of Gozitan Labour MEP Josianne Cutajar, more kiosks have appeared along a new road, built illegally by the Gozo ministry at the Blue Lagoon.

All these kiosks are without a permit and are run by the same owners of the deckchair’s concessions, relatives, or business associates.

Also, The Shift has revealed other interests dictating the government’s lack of action on the island.

While Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo has admitted that his father and uncles have a direct vested interest in Comino as they own Pleasure and Leisure Ltd, a ferry service to Comino, he dismissed suggestions of any conflict of interest. He has still not produced a management plan for the island that was promised years ago.

At the same time, Michael Zammit Tabona, a donor to the Labour Party and one of the owners of the Fortina Group, has called NGOs that appealed for a limit on the daily number of people visiting Comino as “idiots”.

Through Captain Morgan, the Zammit Tabonas carry hundreds of tourists to Comino daily.

Ciliberti reacts

In a reaction from his lawyer, Marco Ciliberti, Sandro claimed the “entire contents of the article” are factually incorrect.

“Sandro Ciliberti has not operated the kiosk referred to in the cited article since 2020, which kiosk has been parked idle since the onsent (sic) of the pandemic. Sandro Ciliberti further reiterates that all operations prior to 2020 where (sic) duly covered by permits issued by the competent authorities. Moreover, the enforcement notice issued by the Planning Authority is not in any way connected with the operation of the kiosk as reported in the cited article, but relates to the said kiosk being parked idle on the island of Comino.”

The Shift is reproducing the enforcement notice on which the article was based:

 

                           
                               
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Francis Said
Francis Said
15 days ago

It is amazing to see the extent of greed that has eaten away the Maltese and Gozitan society.
This is not the Malta I grew up in my youth, many moons ago. There was mutual respect and solid moral principles, notwithstanding that economically our Country had poverty. Particularly in the post war years. But we had pride and a community spirit second to none.

KLAUS
KLAUS
15 days ago

Sometimes you have to ask yourself why these shabby hovels are not simply destroyed! Come on PA, do YOUR work!

Of course, every Maltese knows that in the PA the “cucumbers” sit at the top, but others have to pay the price.

KLAUS
KLAUS
15 days ago

Dear Mr Michael Zammit Tabona,

if it has not yet occurred to you..: 
Perhaps the biggest idiot and complete fool is sitting on the other side of the desk!
If tourists can no longer find beautiful Maltese spots, what will you do?
 
Move on to do the same elsewhere? Idiotic.

Best regards,
Klaus

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
15 days ago

Is this a case of “il-forka ghall-izvinturat” as the local saying goes?

jingo
jingo
15 days ago

Isn’t it somewhat obvious that Cilliberti would have been the only one to get booked? Wouldn’t that simple fact also lead as to why?

Carmel Gatt
Carmel Gatt
15 days ago
Reply to  jingo

No friends in high places miskin

Fred the Red
Fred the Red
15 days ago

A conundrum of sleaze and corruption. Isn’t Alfred Sant at all troubled by this classic hbieb tal-hbieb mess? Or has he been numbed by the tsunami of Labour sponsored corruption as the overwhelming majority of the population? Will the PN wake up to its responsibilities and kick its band of prima donnas into action?

Carmelo Borg
15 days ago

MZT allura ROSIANNE CUTAJAR ukoll hi IDJOTA ghax hi harget b ideja l ewwel

Carmel Gatt
Carmel Gatt
15 days ago

The amount of dirt sleaze and corruption which has been allowed to flourish on these islands has reached an unprecedented level. Shame on all of you

Bamboccu
Bamboccu
15 days ago

Ciliberti biex taqbad il hut trid tghalef.

Lius
Lius
15 days ago

But in this island the bombs are like pastizzi … In any case this is child’s play, they blocked Sandro to make it clear that they are starting to do something, but in reality they will not do anything … it amazes me that even a judge assumes this behavior …

Aggie
Aggie
14 days ago

Makes you wonder if the PA are getting a back hander for allowing such irregularities to continue without any recourse.
The corruption of Malta is slowly being brought to the forefront with the majority being fed up of the minority constantly deemed to be untouchable.

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