As expected, T&S Property Holdings Ltd – a company whose directors are Paul Attard, also a director of GAP Developments – and Paul Vella, also a director of Ballut Blocks – has submitted a bid to take over a 4,000 square metre public green lung in Mellieha Heights.
The precious green lung in the middle of a built-up area now stands to be converted into millions of euros in profits for the developers to the detriment of hundreds of surrounding residents who have been enjoying the open green space for decades.
As already revealed by The Shift, the two developers have set their sights on the Lands Authority’s compromised tender and are assured to be awarded the land for virtual peanuts in a suspected underhand deal arranged by the authority’s upper echelons.
The only snags in their designs are another two higher bids submitted by North Delux Developments Ltd and Attard Developments Ltd.
Another bid by the Vassallo Group’s Reality Ltd was not accompanied by the required bid bond and a letter accompanying their submission has not yet been published by the Lands Authority.
Since Attard and Vella already hold a right of first refusal on the entire land – through the T&S Property Holdings Ltd, of which they are also directors – despite possessing only a small segment of the land, a strange clause in the authority’s tender means they will be able to match the highest bid of €380,000 to secure millions of euros worth of public land.
Industry sources speaking to The Shift are of the distinct opinion that developments continue to indicate that a deal had been struck well before the tender was even issued.
It is not yet known whether the other two bidders will challenge the right of first refusal clause Attard and Vella will enjoy after purchasing a small portion of land sandwiched between the parcels of public land that are some four times the size.
So far, despite the revelations and public uproar over this latest public land grab, which included a formal petition from residents submitted to parliament, both Prime Minister Robert Abela and the Minister responsible for Lands, Silvio Schembri, who reportedly has close ties with Attard, have remained tight-lipped and have ignored residents’ objections.
A scandal in the making
Investigations carried out by The Shift earlier this week established that a small portion of land, on which the Lands Authority has based a clause in the tender to award the right of first refusal, belongs to a company that Attard and Vella co-direct – T&S Property Holdings Ltd, which was formed in 2021.
GAP Developments has been developing various areas of Mellieha Heights over recent years and has turned swathes of land into apartment blocks.
The Shift had also revealed that the Lands Authority had not called for an outright sale, but instead offered the public land on a 15-year perpetual revisable emphyteusis – meaning that whoever is to develop the area will only have to pay a few hundred thousand euros a year for land with a market value of €12 million.
This means the developers can eventually make the owners of the new apartments redeem the ground rent themselves, spelling out tens of millions of euros in profits for the developers, with them not having to spend a cent.
The Shift is informed that the tender is being led by Lands Authority CEO Robert Vella under the direction of Minister Silvio Schembri.
It was only yesterday that Schembri vehemently refused to commit himself to halting the compromised tender.
Pressed in Parliament by Mellieha PN MP Robert Cutajar about the growing scandal, Minister Schembri said he was aware of hundreds of residents’ objections but attempted to shift the blame to the previous administration.
Challenged to stop the tender to preserve the neighbourhood’s green lung, Schembri avoided any commitment and instead insisted that the land has been earmarked for development for a long time.
“The area in question has been earmarked for development since 1988 and was included in the 2006 local plan,” the Minister said.
But when asked to state whether the Lands Authority had ever considered selling the land for development purposes at any time in the last 30 years, the minster postponed his reply by saying the information is still being gathered.
Cutajar told parliament that since the government, through its Project Green Agency, has already announced it will be purchasing private land for conversion into open green spaces, the government should bite the bullet and use the 3,900 square metre site in question as an example.
But both Minister Schembri and Environment Minister Miriam Dalli refused to make any such pledge, saying that there are other areas in Mellieha intended for environmental projects.
This article has been updated to properly reflect company ownership and structures.
The only reason these people and people of their kind are rich is because it’s off the backs of corrupt politicians. These people and the rest of there kind (parasites) would probably be bankrupt if it wasn’t for who they know and on the other foot the corrupt politicians get rich off the bent parasitic businessmen.
Most of these contractors are uneducated people. They got rich through bullying and corruption. That is Malta for you – a third world country that happens to be within the EU.
Project Green Policy will see main roads painted green and Castilja Square painted vomit green.
380k for 4000m2? Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino will also move in their graves! Why are all so adamant to keep on destroying the little green spaces left? Where is Miriam Dalli in all this? Politicians are all crooks and thieves. Disgusting people.
Corruption, this needs reporting to the EU. Are PN investigating ?