Tista’ taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti
Lands Minister Silvio Schembri has been using a constituency office in Siġġiewi built a few years ago by construction magnate Anton Camilleri, the construction magnate behind the enormous and controversial Villa Rosa project being proposed for St George’s Bay.
According to his declaration of assets, Schembri does not own the office, and he refuses to say whether he has been leasing it from Camilleri, better known as Tal-Franċiz, or if he is being allowed to use the constituency office, right in the centre Siġġiewi, free of charge.
The minister responsible for the Lands Authority is currently involved in several controversies related to the sale of public land to private developers.
This is the second constituency office the minister responsible for Lands is using that is directly linked to leading developers.
Schembri is also keeping mum on his Siggiewi constituency office in the same way he refused to offer explanations on The Shift’s reports that Schembri has been using another constituency office in a Luqa block built by Paul Attard – a shareholder in GAP Developments who is seeking to purchase a large tract of public land for a rock bottom price in Mellieħa.
The minister declined to give details on how long he has been using the office in the block in Siġġiewi built by Tal–Franċiz, or provide details of the property’s ownership and a copy of his lease contract.
The Shift has also asked the minister to explain his connections, if any, with Camilleri and his many companies.
Developer Paul Attard and his Executive Council colleague at the Malta Developers Association – Anton Camilleri – turned down all questions sent by The Shift.
Camilleri, the developer behind the massive Villa Rosa project in St George’s Bay, was asked whether he was allowing Schembri to use his building free of charge or through a formal lease contract.
Schembri, Tal-Franċiz and a small alley next to Villa Rosa
Camilleri, considered one of the country’s most influential developers despite maintaining a low profile, recently unveiled plans to transform the Villa Rosa in St George’s Bay area into a Dubai-style project including tourism and residential elements.
But to connect all the €300 million project’s dots together, he needed to acquire a small public alleyway next to the development.
The plan suddenly came to fruition during the last electoral campaign when the Lands Authority, under Schembri’s political remit, quietly put the alley in question up for sale.
For some reason, the Authority specified in its tender that the open-air alley needed to be kept free and unobstructed only up to a height of 5.5 metres, which fits precisely into the project.
The Lands Authority’s call for offers closed two days before the 2022 general elections and attracted oonly one bid – from the Camilleri family’s Garnet Investments Ltd, Villa Rosa’s prospective developer.
In a report drawn up by the Authority’s internal auditor, various issues were raised on the alley’s sale. These included the special conditions tied to it and the Authority’s low asking price.
Camilleri managed to purchase the alley for just €200 more than the €133,846 asking price stipulated by the Lands Authority.
Schembri’s Siġġiewi office is the second in the span of as many weeks that The Shift has reported having questionable links between the minister and leading developers.