Prime minister moves ahead with his ODZ Zejtun property development

Existing buildings have been demolished to make way for the new development on land acquired by Prime Minister Robert Abela and his wife in questionable circumstances.

 

Construction work on the prime minister’s latest private property project to turn a two-tumoli ODZ farmhouse on the outskirts of Żejtun into a luxury modern mansion has started with the original farmhouse and its sprawling gardens completely flattened and demolished.

Heavy plant and machinery owned by Faceworks Ltd – the same owners of logistics company Fahrenheit – entered the site and demolished the farmhouse and the animal enclosures surrounding it, uprooted indigenous trees, took out soil and dumped it.

According to the commencement notice of the works, fronted by the prime minister’s wife, Lydia Abela, the excavation work and the eventual construction will be carried out by Elbros – a large construction company owned by Charles Ellul.

The Constructions Notification Form for the development of the property the Abelas own in Zejtun.

Last year, the Planning Authority approved the permit for the Abelas to demolish the entire building and replace it with a new massive villa, including a large pool and surrounding garden.

The prime minister and his wife acquired the property in 2017. According to the official contract, it cost only €600,000. Independent estimates have set the value at more than €2 million.

The Inland Revenue Commissioner did not feel the need to investigate whether the Abelas had declared a lower price in their statements to avoid tax. Questions sent by The Shift to Inland Revenue Chief Joseph Caruana, appointed by Abela, were not answered.

A controversial acquisition

Named ‘Cinja’, the ODZ property is situated just across the historic chapel of San Niklaw in Triq Xrobb L-Għaġin, limits of Żejtun.

Joseph and Alfrida Camilleri, who previously owned the building, were permitted to build a small 190-square-metre dwelling on their two tumoli of land in 1985. At the time, the Planning Authority did not exist, and permits were issued by the minister responsible.

Yet the Camilleris ignored the permit’s restrictions and instead built a 350-square-metre dwelling, also illegally developing the surrounding areas.

The Abelas’ two-tumolo estate in Zejtun.

Due to a number of enforcement orders, the Camilleris could not sell their property before removing the illegalities.

Enter Robert and Lydia Abela in 2016, when their law firm was acting as legal counsel for the Planning Authority on a €19,000 a month retainer. They entered into a promise of sale agreement with the Camilleri for the property, subject to the sanctioning of all illegalities.

By coincidence or intent, a few months later, in July 2017, the Planning Authority sanctioned all the illegalities against a fine of €45,000.

Only five days later, Robert and Lydia Abela signed the final contract for the property.

While applying for a development permit, the prime minister and his wife still profited from the property by renting it to two Russians seeking to buy Maltese passports.

Passport applicants need to show they lived in Malta for at least 12 months to acquire citizenship, even though it is an open secret that once properties are rented, there are few checks on whether they actually lived here.

The Abelas earned €36,000 in rental income, while it seems the two Russians never entered the dilapidated farmhouse.

The prime minister did not list the rental income in his declaration of assets.

                           

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4 Comments
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Joseph
Joseph
28 days ago

Ofcourse he would just like George Pullicino did with his ODZ Land in Zurrieq..they are all the same.

Gerald
Gerald
27 days ago

`Curiouser and curiouser!’

Dunalf@yahoo.com
Dunalf@yahoo.com
27 days ago

Well
Kulhadd jithanzer
Hemm l,Allat.iesssa nispera li meta jinbidel il gvern issier gustizja.(Mhux vendikazjoni)…

Mick
Mick
27 days ago

Money washing our biggest source of employment, has to be maintained regardless of how it impacts the nation.

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