The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) has told the Planning Authority to not approve the requested sanctioning of illegal work on private property carried out as part of the years-long rebuilding of the main road leading to Nadur, Triq l-Imgarr.
The National Audit Office (NAO) is investigating the possible abuse of public funds, including alleged misappropriation, in connection with work carried out on private properties allegedly through public funds dedicated to the road project.
The ERA has now objected to the sanctioning of a new reservoir, high rubble walls and a wide concrete ramp on private agricultural land, which, according to the applicant’s own architect, were carried out as part of the road project.
New photographs comparing the new rubble wall surrounding the private property to the original also show how the work carried out by the Gozo Ministry was not only illegal but the wall’s height was more than doubled – blocking views and described by the ERA as having a negative visual impact on its surroundings.
ERA has told the PA that the requested sanctioning could not be granted if the concrete ramp, allegedly built with public funds, is not removed.
In a somewhat abnormal update to the application, the PA is now terming the state of the planning application as having no status at all.
Earlier this year the NAO started an investigation into The Shift’s reports indicating that work on rural parcels of land adjacent to the new Nadur road was carried out at the same time as the road’s construction with the same machinery and contractor – Road Construction Ltd –in a potential abuse of public funds.
Photographic evidence published by The Shift showed many illegal works on private property taking place during the various phases of the road’s construction. These included rubble walls, concrete ramps, small agricultural stores and even water reservoirs.
While the Gozo Ministry vehemently denied that the private work was financed by the funds dedicated to the road project, it failed to explain how the road’s final price had soared to €13.6 million from the original €8 million estimate – a difference of over €5.5 million – and the Gozo Ministry is still receiving bills.
The road project began in 2018 and finishing works are still ongoing.
Following these revelations, independent politician Arnold Cassola asked the NAO to commence an investigation into the possible misuse of public funds.
The Shift also revealed documents, in which the owner of one of the fields adjacent to the road works admitted that the construction of a reservoir and a ramp in his field were carried out “as part of the road widening project”.
The application has now been recommended for refusal by the Planning Authority but a date has not been set for a hearing.