Lands Minister Silvio Schembri is refusing to explain a new €80,000 ‘private loan’ that he added to his parliamentary declaration of assets for last year. Nor has there been any addition to the minister’s list of assets in the declaration to show for it.
According to his latest declaration of assets, for 2022, the 38-year-old minister from Luqa, known for his close connections with construction magnates, declared that he has taken out a ‘private loan’ of around €80,000.
He did not, however, state the reason for the loan or where it came from.
Schembri refused to release any information when asked by The Shift to explain where the loan had come from, the interest rates applicable and what the sum will be used for.
A comparison of the economy minister’s 2021 and 2022 declarations shows his sole property is still his matrimonial home, a penthouse in Luqa bought from Charles Polidano, Ic-Caqnu.
Minister Schembri declared savings also registered minimal changes and increased from €101,000 to €120,000, while his share and bond portfolio also remained the same.
The rules, however, do not oblige cabinet members to declare all their possessions such as jewellery, cars or seacraft, among others.
The Standards Commissioner’s proposals for stricter rules for declaring assets, including those applied to spouses, have been ignored by the Prime Minister.
The Shift is informed that the minister’s new ‘private loan’ is raising eyebrows and is expected to be addressed by Standards Commissioner Joseph Azzopardi.
“Since this is a private loan and not a normal commercial bank loan, the minister would have been much more transparent if he stated who had given him the loan and at what interest rates,” one political observer said.
“It’s one thing if your father gives you an interest-free loan, and it’s another if a minister gets a loan from, for example, a business person.”
The minister – responsible for areas such as the economy, cryptocurrency and lands – ran a flashy and pricey election campaign and its financing and costs remain unexplained.
The Shift also recently revealed that Schembri has been using two separate constituency offices – one in Siggiewi and another in Luqa – that were built by the beneficiaries of Lands Authority deals.
Schembri’s Luqa office is in a block built by construction magnate Paul Attard of GAP Developments and his Siggiewi office is in a block built by Anton Camilleri, tal-Franciz.
After weeks of refusing to answer any questions about his offices, Schembri eventually said he is paying rent but has not produced any receipts when asked.
In 2021, a National Audit Office report described a €31 million deal to rent a former Zejtun showroom as offices for the Malta Business Registry as “a prohibitive deal”. The move was also captained by Minister Schembri, who is still refusing to publish the contract for the 15-year lease from Alex Mercieca Bathroom Centre.
In addition to the Lands Authority, the Prime Minister has also made Schembri, in his capacity as economy minister, responsible for other important state entities including INDIS Malta, which is responsible for industrial estates, and MIMCOL, which controls government investments.
Maybe it was from Rosie?
Rosie who ?
We’re also ignoring the fact that Silvio Schembri set up two private companies and only declares that he holds shares in those companies without any details of what they do, own or owe.
Maybe he’s washing it for some close crook? How can we tell if we don’t know the origin?
If he were proud of it, he would give details. He doesn’t seem too proud of it.
Do you suspect that this gentleman in particular is involved in something dastardly?
Silvio Schembri is the epitome of arrogance, contempt and scorn for the public. He feels no obligation to inform us the taxpayers how he is managing the public property in the best interest of us all. That is pure arrogance.
The public lands Schembri is giving away to construction magnates belongs to us. It’s not his to give away in return for personal favours.
PM Abela trusted Schembri with our property, our wealth yet Silvio Schembri refuses to answer even the basic legitimate questions.
And what has Robert Abela done about it? Has he forced him to reply to questions? No, he just let him mock us with his arrogance and his smirk.
All the pigs have their heads buried in the trough and don’t even lift their heads to breathe!
The more a pig eats, the more it devours!
Qatta mejtin bil-guh kienu w issa ma jafux jieqfu!
Min kien qal, ‘I’ll make the best of it’ u ‘let’s make hay while the sun shines’? U min qal, ‘Ahleb Guz ghax hemm minn fejn’?
Korrotti w kriminali.
This crook needs to be officially investigated for source of wealth etc.
This person is too big now to answer any questions. Hope people curtsy if he happens to be walking by. Have to feel sorry for Malta when we are lumbered with such people.
Did he ever submit the rent receipts?