Government to spend €600,000 on Selmun restoration before privatisation

Taxpayers are set to pay some €600,000 for the restoration of the Knights-era Selmun Palace in Mellieha despite already announced plans for the historic building to be turned into a commercial entity by the private sector.

The government issued a tender to commence restoration works on the exterior and some internal parts of the palace, left abandoned for the past decade, even though this will be eventually passed on for private commercial use.

According to tender documents seen by The Shift, at least €600,000 will be dedicated to restoring the external facades, courtyard, and rooftop area.

The reasoning behind using public funds for a site that will be taken over by a private company for commercial use is not known. It is also not known why the government did not make the company taking over the site responsible for its restoration rather than saving them money by doing the work themselves.

Part of the drawings made by the government for the restoration project

The price tag for the restoration project is considered very conservative, with restoration experts insisting that the final costs will be much higher than the estimates.

In May 2022, after years of promises, Prime Minister Robert Abela told Parliament that the government had finally decided to issue a Request for Proposals for the privatisation of Selmun and that this would be out “in a few weeks.”

On May 11, 2022, Robert Abela announced the privatisation of Selmun. The call was never issued.

However, nothing has happened since then, and privatisation was never kick-started.

The Shift reported how, in January 2023, the OPM had ordered the Lands Authority to prepare a valuation of the palace because of the privatisation process.

While this valuation, through a direct order to four different architects, was finalised by the Lands Authority, the privatisation process remained on the shelf.

It is not known what is keeping the government from executing its decision.

While the government had initially intended to offer the palace to be turned into a hotel, the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM) latest brief to the authority included the possibility that the building could also be used as a “lifestyle community village” opening the possibility for an old people’s home or a health-related business.

Questions sent to the OPM on when the Request for Proposals will be published remained unanswered.

Selmun Palace was used as an Air Malta hotel until 2011 when it closed. Since then, Air Malta has tried to sell it but didn’t find a buyer despite the low price tag of €8.4 million.

When, more recently, Air Malta was struggling financially, disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi ‘sold’ the palace to the government in a bid to balance the now-defunct airline’s books.

Despite the ‘false’ transaction, the then Air Malta auditors still gave their green light.

                           

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georgezammit127
georgezammit127
1 month ago

disgrace minister who closed the hotel and let the castle abandon ship

Albert Beliard
Albert Beliard
1 month ago

While the government had initially intended to offer the palace to be turned into a hotel, the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM) latest brief to the authority included the possibility that the building could also be used as a “lifestyle community village” opening the possibility for an old people’s home or a health-related business.

In mid-December 2022 during the Christmas greetings at the Castille, I handed a letter to PM Robert Abela kindly asking for his consideration to relaunch a brillant project proposal I had explained to the government in 2012 to refurbish and use the Selmun Palace Hotel site for a marvelous ‘wellness tourism’ campus covering healthy nutrition and lifestyle medicine (disease prevention), that would attract many, many guests to Malta for a great experience for about a month stay in Malta without any pain learning valuable information and skills, tapping into millions of available EU Funds as a PPP, but I was ‘thrown under the bus’ by disgraced Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi observing that this cartel preferred to focus all their attention on a ‘dodgy’ toxic hospitals deal involving state-aid violations which lead to CRIMINAL FRAUD AND COLLUSION between government officials and ‘unknown’ foreign crooks (which was also copied in a few Balkan states), who decided to use three public hospitals in Malta, and the mysterious FMS (involved with a ‘fake’ medical visa plan to help wounded Libyans in the conflict get treatment in Malta for free, where ex-OPM official Neville Gafa who is a close friend of Keith Schembri happened to ‘bump’ into a few Libyan warlords during his ‘business’ in Libya) recalling when it was Deputy PM Chris ‘Real Deal’ Fearne’s lover CEO Carmen Ciantar who approved Gafa’s contract to hire him in the FMS for a clandestine sanctions evasion scheme, she receiving a very generous EUR 163,000 salary per annum being the highest in the government salary scale for ‘pretty’ much doing nothing! Both lovers and the ‘lawful whistleblower’ Canadian-Indian Ram Tumuluri (working with those ‘forces of evil’ from Pakistan) who suddenly exposed her should realise that they are in serious trouble for misleading the public and law enforcement, and they should consider calling emergency response in a different country because treatment and care in Malta is poor condition like the hospitals, unreliable and slow. Medical tourism in Malta has totally failed thanks to Mafia Godfather Joseph Muscat and his lying inferior fool Chris Fearne who has followed him and PM Robert Abela.

Sinful Chis Fearne should bear in mind that payback is a ‘real’ bitch without forgetting how I have been badly harmed by unlawful retaliation against me from the greedy, sucking ‘parasites’ in the past and present OPM who are ‘pigs eating from the same through”, and he should remember his oath when he became a medical doctor ‘to do no harm’, so now he can “forget about it” as the American Mafia sometimes says while rapping, hoping to be approved for an EU Commissioner position becoming available this year while watching his sick past involvement in the fraudulent VGH-SHC hospitals deal. In fact, he will face the same risk of going to jail with that ‘unknown’ weak, pale, sterile Russian native ‘Comrade’ Joseph Muscat with several ‘leaky’ diseases when both senior ministers and their crew know exactly what they were doing from day one.

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