At least four direct orders worth over €20,000 were issued by the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) last year for works carried out at its office in Msida, leased from the family of the public authority’s chairman Gavin Gulia.
Last month, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo refused a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to publish all invoices related to the procurement of refurbishment works at ‘The Lodge’ in Msida – a villa owned by Lino Mousu – Gulia’s father-in-law.
The Shift can now confirm that substantial works, paid by taxpayers, have already been carried out at the villa-turned-offices, including removing marble floors to be replaced by new Carrara marble and installing various made-to-measure railings.
A new list of direct orders published in the Government Gazette confirmed that the MTA is paying for the refurbishment works even though the property is privately owned.
According to standard lease agreements, the owner of the leased property is responsible for any infrastructural works inside his property, even under a lease agreement.
Yet, in this case, the MTA refuses to explain why it is refurbishing the property of its chairman’s father-in-law.
The original FOI request for all the invoices related to the works on Mousu’s villa was made to Minister Bartolo after The Shift received information that refurbishment works were being carried out without a Planning Authority permit and paid from the MTA’s budget.
This has now been confirmed.
It is as yet unclear if taxpayers have paid for more work this year since no information on any direct orders this year has been published.
Minister Bartolo had struck down the FOI request insisting that disclosing such information “would unreasonably affect the person (Mousu) adversely in respect of his lawful business or professional affairs.”
Mousu’s villa in Msida’s Valley Road used to be his residence.
The premises were leased to the MTA when Gavin Gulia was already married to Mousu’s daughter and acting as Labour’s shadow tourism minister.
In 2017, when the €20,000-a-year lease elapsed, a new contract was signed with Mousu for another 10 years through a direct order.
This time, with Gulia as the Labour-appointed MTA chairman, the lease was revised upwards to €50,000 a year until 2027.
At the time, Gulia did not declare his conflict of interest. Paul Bugeja, the MTA CEO then, said he did not know that the villa belonged to the chairman’s family.
Mejtin bil guh jbattlu t taxex tal pajjiz
Ħadd ma jaf xejn u ħadd mhu responsabbli. Ħmieġ ta’ Chairman.
Some are more equal than others.
gulija jaf kif jakkwista – taparsi jiddefendi l-haddiem sakemm serqilhom il-vot u spicca fil-keffa tal-muvument korrott. min jaf il-gavin gulia jaf x’irrid nghid. Isthi – dawk flus il-poplu u mhux flusek gaviv. tapprofitta ruhek mill-haddiem taf, u bil-provi. ISTHI.
meta jinbidel dan il-gvern halliel u korrott, ikollna nkabbru kordin ghaliex kollha (tal-muvument korrott) huma mcappsin b’xi skandlu, sakemm mhux kollox ispicca taht it-tapit kif spicca l-kas tal-loorry sant. Min ikun fil-gvern wara din il-legislatura irid iwiegeb il-poplu malti u l-flus li nsterqu ghandhom jigi mrodda lur, forsi mbaghad nibdew innaddfu Mafiamalta.
€4,200 per month for a villa in valley road msida and all infrstructural work borne by the tax paer also. Not a bad deal at all for the owner of the villa.
This seems to be the latest con..there were other cases like this, the Gozo channel offices, the notorious multi million euro rental of the Business registry in Zejtun by Silvio Schembri and who knows how many others . Everyday, new story..and it goes on with no impunity
Champagne 🍾 socialists.
No one can beat them at this game. And you wonder why since 1964, the national debt has doubled only during the last ten years?