‘We are not moving from here’ – Villa Frere occupiers tell Lands Authority

Aqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.

The Spiteri family, accused by the Lands Authority of illegally occupying a Grade 1 building, Villa Frere in Gwardamanġa, insist they have the right to use it and will not be moving out despite an eviction order from the authorities.

The Lands Authority recently issued an eviction order against Joseph F. Spiteri and Company (1927) Ltd, known as Tal-Kee Klamps, which has been using the building illegally, according to the government, for 60 years.

The Shift asked Oswald Spiteri about the eviction order, and he said the company holds the property’s legal title, and they have been leasing the place for many years, slamming the authority for their claims to the contrary.

He also said the company has been paying rent, and the Lands Authority has always accepted the payment, although no receipts have been provided in court to substantiate this, according to court documents seen by The Shift.

Spiteri also refuted the Lands Authority’s claims that the ‘illegal’ occupants left the government premises in a dilapidated state. He said the authority never intervened to carry out any maintenance and insisted his company paid to keep the government building in shape.

When asked by The Shift how he got the title to the property, Spiteri refused to explain but insisted he and his company were not squatting.

Spiteri initiated legal action against the Lands Authority after they issued an eviction order a few weeks ago to the occupiers on 121 Marina Street Pieta, which forms part of the historic Villa Frere.

According to Lands Authority documents seen by The Shift, the premises used by the long-established scaffolding company are being occupied illegally and had been left unmaintained, putting the site at the risk of imminent collapse.

The Lands Authority insisted that the Spiteri’s had no title and ordered them to leave the premises immediately, but so far, the authority’s order has been ignored.

Aerial view of Villa Frere and its majestic gardens (Google Earth)

It is known that the company has been using the villa since the 1960s, and for some time, the Spiteri’s even used to live in the same listed building.

Built by John Hookham Frere, a renowned English scholar, politician, poet, and diplomat in 1821, Villa Frere and its grand gardens on the Pieta waterfront were scheduled as a national monument in 2020 due to historical, architectural, and unique cultural value.

Although Heritage Malta owns the Villa, its administration and restoration have been entrusted to an NGO called Friends of Villa Frere.

According to Oswald Spiteri, his family has supported the NGO financially.

Substantial parts of its gardens were destroyed in the 1950s to be used as parts of the St Luke’s Hospital premises.


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1 month ago

So what’s the difference between these people and the Fort Bingemma squatters? Why does only one lot get government protection?

Stop squatters
Stop squatters
1 month ago
Reply to  NGT

A grade 1 national monument occupied by ‘not squatters’… what legal title? They don’t have any.

Joseph Said
Joseph Said
1 month ago
Reply to  NGT

How about Fort Benghajsa? Who is still occupying it? I remember long time occupier ‘Cikku Bezzani’ a well known bodyguard of Premier Dom Mintoff.

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