The man who took a stand and challenged the authorities over an illegal swimming pool built by a senior cabinet minister at his residence in the middle of Santa Katerina Valley has asked the Prime Minister to take action to uphold the rule of law.
Despite the fact that almost a week has now passed since the country’s highest court ruled for the second time that Minster Ian Borg’s swimming pool was built with an illegal permit, Robert Abela has maintained his silence and avoided commenting on the embarrassing court judgement.
In a letter sent to The Shift and other media outlets, Noel Ciantar, who challenged the minister’s illegal development despite the obstacles he met, has asked the Prime Minister to act accordingly if he is in favour of upholding the rule of law.
Referring to the way Ian Borg proceeded with the development when he was fully aware that the permit – which was issued by the Planning Authority in such a way that it was condemned by the Ombudsman -was being challenged in court, Ciantar stressed with the Prime Minister that Borg showed a “serious lack of judgement when he proceeded with the development despite the permit having been referred to courts”.
“In a normal democracy, the minister would have been expected to act prudently, and to refrain from development until the courts have spoken, especially after the courts had already revoked a similar previous permit,” Ciantar wrote to Abela.
He added, “Now he [Foreign Minister Borg] has an illegal development, of his own making, in his front garden and right in the public’s view of the Santa Katerina Valley.”
Mentioning the “irony” that Minster Borg was recently presiding, on behalf of Malta, over the United Nations Security Council and insisting that Russia should abide by the rule of law and withdraw from Ukraine, Ciantar said that Borg’s personal disrespect for the rule of law does not do Malta’s image any favours.
Challenging the Prime Minister to show his mettle in view of this latest scandal created by one of his ministers, he asked Abela to explain what he intends to do to protect the country from the “bad sense of judgement by his Foreign Minster”, and to state what action he will be taking to “ensure that the illegality which results after the court judgement is removed as soon as possible and the rule of law is upheld”.
Ian Borg in total silence
Minster Borg has so far not reacted to the damning court ruling.
Asked by The Shift to declare his position and to say whether he will be resigning over the matter, the normally public relations-friendly minister ignored the questions.
Ian Borg, who was redeployed from infrastructure to foreign affairs after the last election, was the minister responsible for the Planning Authority when his irregular permit had been issued.
The court has now twice struck down the PA permit, which the Authority granted the minister against its own policies.
Borg’s original permit to turn an old dilapidated farmhouse into his matrimonial home has been declared as having been abusive. The Ombudsman had found the PA had granted the permit through a “grave error” while Ian Borg was found to have used “a somewhat devious method” to obtain the permit.
The way he acquired the land on which the pool was built at below market prices led to accusations of abuse by the original owner’s relatives.
Still, neither disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat nor his successor, Robert Abela, have taken any action whatsoever against Borg’s now twice-confirmed illegal development and his flaunting of the rules.
This must be boring as hell for any PM.
Pool issues every single year!!!!!
As always…… Strong with the small fish and feeble with the sharks 🙁
Which Rule Of Law you are talking about???
This is just a shield to cover-up their deeds
We normal citizens are lucky to have a roof tank for potable water (if you have a roof!!)
Maybe we should consider to turn them into a Jacuzzi sooner or later as the climate change ain’t helping anyway
… dalwaqt naraw drone footage tal pools kollha tal MPs tal PN.
To expect anything from THE Prime Minister ROBBER Abela?
That takes a lot of imagination. Too much for me.
After all these years, I dare to say that this, too, will come to nothing.
He is and remains what he is and always has been:
A 40-fold coward and always the wrong man in the wrong place.
Some are more equal than others. The rule of law is only applicable to the others.
What DISRESPECT to the rule of law could bother a PART-TIME PM PROPERTY-DEVELOPER?
Too much of a “challenge”, I suspect!
In a video published by Net News, Continuity Prime Minister Robert Joseph Mvscat-Abela defends Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg and his illegal swimming pool, which sprawls and obstructs the public view in the scenic Santa Katerina valley (Rabat, Malta), using legal jargon, stating that the Minister’s case will be treated like that of any other citizen.
First things first. The public should be under no illusion that Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg will resign, or that the Continuity PM will remove him, or that the swimming pool will be removed and the site restored out of the will of Borg or the Continuity PM. Both of them are well known by now. Even in defeat – and Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg’s swimming pool case is a case of one legal defeat after the other for Borg – they continue to wrangle until they exhaust any opposition. They are arrogant and defiant in defeat, how can they be expected to be humble in victory?
The culture of impunity and lawlessness which ruled supreme under the disgraced former PM Joseph Mvscat continues unabated under his successor Robert Joseph Mvscat-Abela. Despite a public inquiry which established that it was the Executive’s culture of impunity which created the climate for the assassination of Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, nothing has changed in the Maltese government.
Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg himself was a member of the cabinet of Joseph Mvscat which the public inquiry held collectively responsible for the climate of impunity.
It was Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg himself who declared to Gadgets, a TV production, that he is a “bad loser.” What can one expect from him when defeated? Bad losers and politics do not mix.
The Continuity PM is in the political arena, and therefore his arguments must be political not legal. But if he must speak legally, then we have the right to reply by reference to the law.
1. No, Mr. Continuity PM, Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg is not like any other citizen. Not every other citizen has a swimming pool, let alone an illegal one. Most citizens work hard to make ends meet, whilst Borg, who has no personal successes to speak of before his political life, lives in a 400 squared meters castle with a swimming pool. So no, Borg is not like the public. It is an insult to the working population when the Continutiy PM says that Borg’s case will be treated like that of any other citizen.
2. In fact, Ian Borg is a Minister, and more important than that, he is Malta’s Foreign Minister, representing the Maltese around the world, including the UN Security Council for the next two years. He is a public person of the highest profile, and he is subject to one particular law which does not apply to other common citizens: the law on Standards in Public Life. The Minister fell short of the standards required by that law. Moreover, as a representative of the Maltese population, he cannot go around the world with the reputation of a bully who ignores court judgements and their consequences.
3. The Appeals Court declared that the permit issued by the Planning Authority on 16 June 2020 to Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg for his swimming pool and ancillary facilities was null and void. In order to avoid waste of time in legal argumentation by the usual suspects who defend the indefensible, the Appeals Court stated that “l-permess mahrug mill-Awtorita’ fis-16 ta’ Gunju 2020 PA/867/20 hu bla effett u ma jaghmel ebda stat.” This means the same as declaring the permit null and void. In fact, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, “null and void” means “having no legal effect and to be considered therefore as if it did not exist.” This means that the permit never existed and was never a valid one, because it goes against the laws, plans and policies under which it was issued.
4. Continuity PM Robert Abela and Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg are both lawyers, and therefore would know that at law, quod nullum est nullum producit effectum, which means that a null act cannot cause a legal effect. Anything done on the basis of a null act is null, without legal effect.
5. Therefore, it is true that when Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg built his swimming pool in 2020/2021 on the basis of the permit issued on 16 June 2020 the permit was still considered valid and legal because there was no court decision against that as yet at that time. But it is also true that during that time, the permit was under appeal that could render the permit null and void, i.e. illegal, and that would have rendered his work illegal. No one ever accused Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg with the illegal development of his swimming pool until the permit was under appeal.
6. All that changed on 15 March 2023, when the Appeals Court decided the appeal and declared the permit issued on 16 June 2020 null and void. Therefore, the permit was illegal and it is as if it never existed. Any works done with it are equally illegal, and that is exactly why they need to be reversed and removed. Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg has been swimming in illegality ever since he built his illegal pool.
7. Saying that Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg built his swimming pool illegally is not equal to saying that he built it criminally. However, it is the law itself which states that “Any person who carries out any development on any land or allows any development to be carried out on land of which he is an owner or occupier without a valid development permission, or, if the development is carried out with a development permission, fails to comply or to cause compliance with any condition, restriction or other limitation to which the permission is subject … shall be guilty of an offence against this Act,” meaning that an illegality against the development law becomes an offence.
and I was fined for filling with one load of soil a dangerous
unused well – wish I was as arrogant as ian. shame on all the muvument korrott li ghamlu Mafiamalta taghhom biss.
Issa tara – korrot ma jmejjilix il-kappell ta korrot iehor.