The controversial American University of Malta is now eyeing the Corradino Sports Pavilion in Paola for dormitories and facilities, according to insider sources speaking to The Shift.
The Hibernians Basketball Club, Paola Volleyball Club and Paola Gymnastics Club in the meantime this morning confirmed the AUM delegation’s visit to the sports complex and completely dissociated themselves from it.
“Whoever was behind the invitation for the AUM to take over the complex and the surrounding buildings showed a huge lack of appreciation toward the work that has been done by our clubs for the benefit of children and teenagers all over Paola and the surrounding localities,” the Pavillion’s general manager Ronnie Calleja said in a statement released to the media.
Further investigations by The Shift have confirmed that an AUM delegation and the Jordanian educational institution’s architect Edwin Mintoff visited the complex’s facilities in the first week of February.
In addition to the three clubs that are disassociating themselves from the visit, the Corradino Pavilion is also administered by the Hibernians Football Club, which has led to questions about whether the football club was behind the AUM’s apparent fact-finding visit.
A.S. Hibernians director Ranier Bezzina is also the chairman of the Hibernians Football Club, which holds a majority share in the complex. Bezzina is known for his links with disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, having supported his bid for the Malta Football Association presidency last June.
When contacted by The Shift, Bezzina claimed to “know nothing about a visit” by the AUM and insisted on being contacted by email. Follow-up questions sent by The Shift have remained unanswered.
Bezzina is also known to have close ties with the Hibernians FC team manager, Jesmond ‘Il-Hutch’ Abela, who until last year had been appointed by former minister Konrad Mizzi to a Projects Malta job, where he was drawing a government salary while being on sick leave for a year.
The Shift’s sources explained that the AUM’s initial interest was in the former Royal Navy Prisons, which it planned to convert into dormitories for its students. Since visiting the site, the AUM has reportedly widened its prospects to include sports facilities.
Damning reports, resignations and shady deals
In January, the chairman of the education sector regulator overseeing the AUM’s operations, the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA), resigned.
Sources said that although the MFHEA chairman’s resignation was officially described as having been “for personal reasons”, the unexpected and sudden resignation came just after the Authority’s decision to give the AUM another five years’ breathing space.
The AUM has repeatedly failed to adhere to the conditions set out in its operating licence. An initial external audit found in 2021 that the so-called university failed to meet standards in eight of the 11 quality assurance measures.
The initial audit also confirmed earlier investigations by The Shift showing that the AUM has failed to attract any significant amount of students to its courses and that it is operating at a loss that is running into the millions.
Why do they need more beds when they hardhave any students?
Because AUM is a development company. They don’t need beds they need real estate that can be converted into flats, villas, hotels, etc.
AUM is another Vitals/Steward in the making.
The quicker the government and the Independent Institutions carry out professional investigations, the better.
sakemm ma jixtrikhomx bil-flus, iqfulu u thalluhx jisraq aktar art tal-maltin. Tkunux reghjba ghall-flus jew ighna ghaliex tspiccaw hniezer kif sejhet lid-deputati u ministri fil- muvument korrott – rosanna li riedet tithanzer hi wkoll.
There are so many scandals that need to be solved.
Looks like Maltese property is about to be given away cheap again. Good for brown envelopes passed on to the usual corrupt bunch.