Miriam Dalli’s electoral gimmick has cost taxpayers €152,000 so far

Energy Minister Miriam Dalli has spent €152,000 of taxpayers’ funds in what so far appears to be a well-designed pre-electoral gimmick.

Just two days before the last elections, Dalli organised a lavish press conference at a site known as ‘Is-Siċċa’ in Birżebbuġa to announce a “major project” for the area that “would change the lives” of her constituents.

Although it was ceremoniously announced at the end of last March, there is nothing to show for it apart from video footage of a press conference and the simplest of plans.

According to the minister, who was at the time co-opted to parliament by Prime Minister Robert Abela, €40 million were going to be invested so an area of derelict fuel tanks in Qajjenza would be turned into an “innovation hub” providing state-of-the-art jobs and entertainment facilities for those living in Birżebbuġa and neighbouring areas.

An investigation by The Shift showed that no plans had been submitted for Dalli’s project. And the international design and architecture firm Pininfarina, quoted by Dalli as some kind of investor, told The Shift it had no intention of forking out a single euro.

While Minister Dalli refused to give any replies to questions on the project’s potential investors, where the €40 million being mentioned would come from, and when the project was expected to start, Pininfarina, from their offices in Turin, told The Shift that they were just government clients and have no direct interest in the project.

Contrary to the impression Dalli tried to give, Pininfarina made it clear that they were just Dalli’s ministry’s clients who had been engaged to prepare a desktop design for the area.

Further investigations by The Shift show that so far, some €152,000 has been spent by Dalli, through direct orders, on an event to boost her electoral chances and beat competition from rival Labour candidates in the fifth district.

Through eight different invoices, Dalli’s ministry paid Pininfarina a total of €140,000 for a ‘desktop’ design – the Italian designers didn’t even need to go into detail to produce a glitzy design the minister could use to impress her constituents. If the project eventually moves on from this embryonic stage, fresh and elaborate designs must be produced.

Invoices seen by The Shift show that the costs were all paid by Petromal Ltd, a government company that falls under Minister Dalli’s responsibility and was only used as a vehicle by the minister to finance the cost of plans for ‘Is-Siċċa’.

Dalli’s office used other direct orders to produce her impressive press conference on the site of the former Oil Tanking company to announce her project.

The costs included €8,437 to TEC Ltd – the company used by Labour and various candidates before the last elections for their campaigns, €2,761 to Ders Wedding Films – a company that normally provides wedding videos – to produce promotional videos for Dalli, and €1,457 so Dalli could stream her press conference live on social media.

All these costs were incurred to boost Dalli’s electoral chances, but they were all paid from state coffers.

                           
                               
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KLAUS
KLAUS
15 days ago

Once again Uncovering misappropriations.
Speechlessness among PL ministers as usual.

By the way, do we still have a prime minister?

What is ROBBER Abela doing? 
Has he also lost his tongue?

David Ganado
David Ganado
15 days ago
Reply to  KLAUS

Where is he? Its summer time, where else to find him than on his boat, most likely in Marina di Ragusa!!

Mark
Mark
15 days ago
Reply to  KLAUS

Bobby is probably on his yacht! A quick search on marinetraffic.com shows it’s at Castellammare in Italy currently

Francis Said
Francis Said
15 days ago

Smoke in the eyes for people who do not want to see beyond their noses.
I am really disappointed by the Hon. Dalli, she should know better having been an MEP who worked hard and diligently in Brussels.
Only to return in Malta and lower her standards as required by the PL.

carmel
carmel
15 days ago
Reply to  Francis Said

…i believe even JM had spent some time there…

Ġwanni Fenek
Ġwanni Fenek
15 days ago

It’s all well and good to spend other people’s money. When will we hear of a minister forking out a cent from their own pocket?

M.Galea
M.Galea
15 days ago

Sakemm dal poplu rieqed jibqa rieqed hekk ser ikomplu jaghmlu!

Chris Stott
Chris Stott
15 days ago

This is the same woman who keeps saying we’re going to get a fairer system through ARMS so we get all our cheap units, and then does absolutely nothing.

She’s got form on this – and no one chases her up on anything she says either.

If pressed she’ll say “all will be revealed in the coming weeks “ and then vanish until she’s forced to give the same old diatribe again..

makjavel
makjavel
15 days ago

Are you sure that is not a FAKE invoice.
“Pininfarina :We move dreams”
This company only deals with car design , not presentations for political points.
If there was any italians involved they must have taken the minister or someone in her entourage for a ride , butter toast included.

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
14 days ago

Minister Dalli learnt so quickly how to exploit public funds for her own advantage. I imagine her saying, if you can’t beat them join them. Let’s do what others are doing, perhaps in a more fashionable way.

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