Silvio Schembri takes full control of the ‘independent’ Lands Authority

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri has taken full control of the Lands Authority despite the fact that the authority is meant to be managed at arm’s length from the government.

In a move that Lands Authority officials told The Shift was unprecedented, Schembri has installed his own Chief of Staff, Roberta Albanese Dalli, as the LA’s Board Secretary.

“This means that the minister, through his most trusted person at the ministry, has now acquired full and direct control over the Authority’s functions including the setting of the Board’s agenda and direct access to the authority’s databases, negotiations and contracts,” LA officials told The Shift.

They added that this is in addition to the minister’s direct interventions with Board Chairman John Vassallo and CEO Robert Vella when it comes to the recruitment of personnel by the authority, which has been filled to the brim with constituents from Schembri’s electoral districts.

Roberta Albanese Dalli, a 34-year-old from Zurrieq, has been working for Schembri for several years, since he was a parliamentary secretary. Last February she was promoted to Chief of Staff, the most trusted person in a minister’s secretariat.

Over and above her salary, which reaches some €50,000 per annum for what is supposed to be an around-the-clock job for the ministry, an unspecified €2,000 “additional allowance” is also included. Albanese Dalli has meanwhile also been appointed as a member of the Malta Space Task Force Board, an appointment that was followed by this most recent LA appointment.

Albanese Dalli had already made headlines a few months back when The Shift reported how she recruited her brother’s girlfriend, Yanika Abela, for a Lands Authority senior management position.

Abela, who is still in her 20s, graduated just a few weeks before her recruitment to the LA. Her father, Jesmond Abela, known as Il-Hutch, is a staunch Labour canvasser and had been given a job at another government entity, Projects Malta – now renamed to Malta Strategic Partnership Projects Ltd – but he is rarely seen at his place of work.

When asked about this gross conflict of interest, Silvio Schembri defended his Chief of Staff, stating that the LA conducts its business “independently” from the ministry.

The LA is considered to be one the most graft-ridden government authorities with a total lack of transparency and accountability. It administers government land and is regularly involved in multi-million-euro deals with the private sector and individuals.

Some of its staff members, recruited by Labour ministers, have been involved in various scandals, including Clint Scerri, Matthew Zammit and, more recently, Kurt Buhagiar – the driver of CEO Robert Vella who has been implicated in the latest building collapse in Kordin, which claimed the life of a 20-year-old employee.

                           
                           
                               
guest

8 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
carlos
1 month ago

Sewwa tagmu la sibtu poplu gwejjef. MAFIAMALTA galore.

David
David
1 month ago

and Abela is impotent in front of all this.

L-aqwa li l-istutizzjonijiet jahdmu….ghalihom!

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

Abela is part of it!

Wenzu
Wenzu
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Abela is only good for grinning like an imbecile at any camera that is in range. It’s STILL Muscat who runs the show and it’s so bloody obvious.

Mick
Mick
1 month ago

This must be “Trough” control where position and depth is relevant to the size of the snout introducing you, brown mouths take priority.

viv
viv
1 month ago

Well, with the airline going down the toilet Schembri is forced to seek other jobs for the boys, and girls. And other assorted boosters. A popular ‘minister’ by all accounts.
And nothing really done for the country – which is his task.

makjavel
makjavel
1 month ago

There is an EU directive regarding devolution of ministerial powers.
Ministers should have no power on the authorities.
This Directive should be looked into and consider actions to be taken accordingly.
Malta had transposed SOME of the directive into Maltese Law, but it is a joke.

The BU BU
The BU BU
1 month ago
Reply to  makjavel

Kemm qieghed jinsew dawn IL Kummentaturi, Possibli LI insejtu meta Sur Walker kien Chairman Tal Planning Authority kellu SALARJU ta IL Fuq minn LM 90000 lira Maltin u LI kien izjed mis SALARJU Tal President ta Malta ta dak iz Zmien FI Gvern Precidenti?
Qabel ma jintefha IL gebel LEJN djar tahaddiehor IRRIDU noqghod attenti mis Saqaf Tal Hgieg tad djar TAGHNA.

Related Stories

€1 million and a decade later, work on government elderly home set to resume
Businessman Zaren Vassallo is set to be awarded a
Will Gafa never learn?
Tista’ taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo