Lands Minister Silvio Schembri is refusing to publish information on the controversial €12 million sale of a plot of public land in Mellieha to the developer of his personal constituency office in Luqa.
The Lands Authority has now turned down two Freedom of Information requests from The Shift for a copy of the valuation report of the controversial sale of Mellieha Heights’ green lung.
The Authority, one of the government’s most secretive public agencies, is also refusing The Shift’s requests for copies of the board minutes when the compromised tender was approved.
The Shift has also requested correspondence related to the tender between Minister Silvio Schembri, the Lands CEO Robert Vella and developer Paul Attard – a shareholder of GAP Developments, which is in the running to acquire the public land at a rock bottom price.
The Lands Authority is refusing to make any of the documents public and insists they are “internal documents” that should not see the light of day.
The Shift is reliably informed that the valuation report, drawn up by three architects commissioned by the Lands Authority, has substantially lowered the land’s value and, consequently, the tender’s value.
The catch in the tender is an unusual clause that gives the right of first refusal to the owners of a small parcel of land sandwiched in the middle of the much larger green-lung being put up for sale.
The Shift has discovered that GAP’s Paul Attard and another contractor, Paul Vella, who together own T&S Property Holdings Ltd, could claim the right of first refusal and acquire the entire plot they have purchased the small slice of land subject to the clause.
Independent valuers put the current market price of the public land for grabs by Minister Schembri, at around €12 million. The tender, however, only asks for an annual ground rent of €280,000 that will be redeemable after 15 years.
Through these conditions, Attard and Vella’s company stand to acquire the plot almost for free since the re-payment and redemption of the ground rent will eventually be paid by the future owners of the hundreds of flats being earmarked for the plot.
So far, both Prime Minister Robert Abela and Minister Silvio Schembri have ignored a petition filed by hundreds of Mellieha residents to stop the sale of the public land, which has served as a green lung for decades.
The Shift has also revealed a between the deal’s probable beneficiary and the Lands Minister in that a private constituency office in a Luqa apartment block that Silvio Schembri has been using for two years was built by Paul Attard.
Attard, also the secretary general of the Malta Developers Association, has refused to say whether he is letting the minister use the premises free of charge.
Schembri is also refusing to reply to questions about the situation.
The Minister did not list the former apartment turned into an office in his declaration of assets and he is refusing to say whether he is paying any rent for the premises.
He even refused to answer similar questions in parliament, although he admitted to using his taxpayer-funded ministerial staff to man the office.
The Shift has also revealed similar connections between Schembri and another MDA executive member and developer, Anton Camilleri, known as Tal-Franċiz, through another private constituency office in Siġġiewi.
Camilleri has also recently acquired an essential piece of public land from the Lands Authority for his controversial Villa Rosa project in St George’s Bay.
Another State secret , because the pigs are all in the pig sty expecting their box of Euro notes .
Not a lawyer, but maybe a prohibitory injunction should be considered?
And a class action suite brought by the residents against the Minister and the Authority?
Is the Oppositon asking him in Parliament?
If our supposedly democratic, socialist, transparent government who repeatedly states that good governance is top of its’ priority. Which unfortunately it isn’t.
The transfer of public (not government) land to private entrapreneurs, should be fully discussed without any redactions in Parliament.
As the price of the land in question is so favourable to the entrepreneur, then one would assume that the price of whatever is built should be affordable for first time buyers and only first time buyers should be given preference.
What happened to the Housing Authority, it seems to be moribund. What happened to Minister Dalli’s promise of creating green areas to act as open spaces for the residents?
Kellu bzonn il Bambin jiskansana mil marda tal l ilsien u d dwiefer ghax inkella jintela l isptar.
Adrian Delia… can you help please?
Ha jtuh xi villeggatura hemm tghid ghax ufficju m ghandux bzonn hemm ghax mhux fid distrett tieghu.