The Prime Minister and his wife have filed a planning development application to convert a farmhouse they own in Xewkija, Gozo into a large residence with seven double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, an internal underground indoor pool, spa and gym facilities.
According to the application filed by Lydia Abela last January, the development is “of a residential nature” and is intended for use by the Prime Minister, his wife and their child.
A look at the detailed plans by interior designers speaking to The Shift, however, shows how the development being proposed for the Prime Minister’s family, “looks more like the commercial development of a boutique hotel rather than a family holiday home in Gozo”.
According to the plans being proposed by veteran architect Joseph Cassar, who currently serves on the board of a government agency to which he was nominated by the Prime Minister, the Abelas are seeking permission to excavate a large garden at the back of the property to build an underground floor that would include a large pool and jacuzzi, gym, spa, and a wine cellar.
This will also allow for the property’s large garden to be landscaped and embellished.
The Abelas are also proposing a large extension to the old farmhouse’s first floor to fit in three more double bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms.
According to the plans presented to the PA by Lydia Abela, the new Gozo ‘residence’ will have a total of seven double bedrooms and a study including an en suite shower, which could also be turned into another bedroom.
The Abelas have owned the Xewkija farmhouse for a number of years but never refurbished it despite having had various planning development plans approved. But this is the first time they have filed for a significant redevelopment of their Gozitan ‘residence’, which will cost hundreds of thousands to complete.
The residence is surrounded by agricultural fields at the back and The Shift is reliably informed that the Prime Minister and his wife have been discussing the possibility of acquiring more land to enlarge their garden.
The Prime Minister’s latest development proposal comes only a few weeks after the PA approved the two-tumolo Outside Development Zone farmhouse in Zejtun – acquired under dubious circumstances shortly before Robert Abela become Prime Minister – to be flattened and re-developed into a luxurious rural residence.
Purchased in 2017 just a few weeks after the PA sanctioned all the previous owners’ illegalities, the Abelas paid just a bargain €600,000 of the property’s estimated €2 million estimated market price.
While Abela declared he paid all the taxes on the property, which experts insist was grossly undervalued, the Commissioner of Revenue failed to send his officials for an inspection and an independent valuation.
In the meantime, it transpired the PM had rented out the uninhabited villa to two Russians as a prerequisite for their Maltese citizenship applications.
The couple’s declared income has taken a significant nosedive since Abela was elected Prime Minister and the two simultaneous large property development projects could be a means of compensating for the shortfall.
Before Robert’s election, the Abelas were declaring taxable income of €252,000 a year, mostly from government direct orders, in particular from the Planning Authority, the Prime Minster has seen his annual income drop to just €66,000 a year later.
In his latest declaration of assets, the Prime Minster failed to state whether his wife, also a lawyer by profession, had brought in any income in 2021.
Although between 2020 and 2021 the Prime Minister did not declare any new investments or properties, his savings took a downturn. While the Abelas declared having €534,411 in savings in various bank accounts in 2020, their savings had shrunk to €376,444 just 12 months later.
Abela is considering using this property for housing the homeless. Is it that bad in the cabinet?
It’s all about ‘status’ and luxury to show off with also taking part in the IIP Scheme to applicants as mentioned in this article.
Where Mintoff took a modest lifestyle, the other rather extreme counter example is Joseph Muscat’s desire for luxury lifestyle and that has set a pattern if not to say ‘trend’ to fellow PL elites to just do likewise. Otherwise without taking part in it, one is very quickly an outsider and that is also a price to be paid in order to become and remain a member of ‘the JM PL Elite Club’, a ‘members only party system’. Far from the rank and files. In my imagination, they must having their laughs all days and look at their fellow PLers and voters in contempt, as indeed considering them to be the ‘Gahans’ for enduring all this without the slightest protest from within the PL.
It really takes something of either a great deal of indifference or worse approval to be insulted by the way the PL Elite runs the country and maintains a luxury lifestyle while ordinary citizens have to struggle with making ends meet.
He’s thinking of the aftermath of his autocratic leadership
AND THEN HE HAD THE GALL TO REPORT BERNARD GRECH TO THE TAXMAN FOR A FEW THOUSAND EUROS. JUST SHOWS WHAT TYPE OF AN ‘HONEST’ PERSON HE IS.
Continued unbridled avarice — PL style. Their loyal supporters must be either ecstatic over the many richly deserved financial successes of their brilliant and virtuous leader, plain oblivious, or multiply challenged. I suspect the third.
Could be it’s nothing of the sort.
One may recall the parable of the corrupt administrator who was thrown out of his job for his malpractice.
The only option he could see as open to him was to befriend his master’s debtors, by using his authority to write-off some of their debts, in order to have someone who could afford him a living once it was all over for him in his lucrative job. Effectively he was commended for doing just that.
It seems the modern fashion of the ’boutique hotels’ or AirBnb had not been conceived at that time…….
Isma ghal li jista ikun mhux se JAGHMEL xi habs zghir ghal dawk il frodisti li qed jatilhom hux?????
He is perhaps planning to rent out the 7 bedrooms to 7 oligarchs with newly acquired passports sorry oh yeah they won’t have to live here?
As far as I know there are only cow farms, stables, and field store rooms in Triq Mgarr ix-Xini… I’m confused.
I’ve just checked the map and can’t see anything on Triq Mgarr ix-Xini that resembles the image in the article.
It’s nice to have money and power and control over the P.A. At least these three people will have a choice of seven double bedrooms and bathrooms. Of course I’m sure bobby’s mummy and daddy will be visiting and bobby’s in laws..so there is ample room!
Prim Ministru li m’għandux farka idea ta’ faqar, tbatija soċjali u deprivation. Stop electing gods.
Biex kullhadd ikun jaf kemm hu rghib ghal flus dal bniedem, anke kien kera l villa mil l iskema tal passaporti w qisu xejn mhu xejn! Lanqas jafu jisthu!!
socjalist???? KORROTT DAQS ex.pm li tieghu kien konsulent – shame on you. F’ghaxar snin kissirtu isem malta u l-povru haddiem li xtrajtu bi ftit euros qabel l-elezzjoni. ISTHU hallelin ta flus il-haddiem onest. Postkhom u f’cella f’kordin.
Ic-celel ta kordin ghaz-zghir qedin mhux ghal dawn in nies habib, ara kemm kien kazi u allegazzjonijiet fuq politikanti u miz-zewg nahat ta, qatt xihadd minnhom wehel gurnata habs ???
There are no such houses in triq Mgarr x Xini!
No wonder these people fight hardly for that parlament chair and they give us a €10 wage raise that wown’t even cover the raise on a price of one object.