Gozo Ministry blocks information on Nadur road project

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri has instructed ministry officials not to divulge any information regarding the multi-million-euro costs to reconstruct Triq l-Imġarr in Nadur as the National Audit Office (NAO) is investigating possible abuses and misappropriation of public funds, The Shift is informed.

The construction of the 1km road was announced in 2015 and was estimated to cost €8 million, according to the tender awarded to Road Construction Ltd.

At the start of 2023 and after having missed several deadlines, the Gozo Ministry had already forked out €14 million, with many millions still pending the road’s completion at the end of last year.

Following a series of articles by The Shift where suspicions of wrongdoing and possible misappropriation of funds were highlighted, independent MEP election candidate Arnold Cassola asked the National Audit Office to start an investigation.

Ministry sources estimate that the road’s final cost will surpass €20 million, more than double the original price.

The road’s original cost was €8 million.

Minister blocks information

The Shift submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to determine the overall cost that taxpayers will fork out for the project and asked for a copy of all invoices paid by the ministry for rebuilding Triq l-Imġarr, Triq Sant’Antnin, and Triq Iż-Zewwieqa, all of which formed part of the tender.

The ministry refused to provide any of the information requested, claiming the request was exempt and did not need to be disclosed.

Yet the Gozo Ministry confirmed the ongoing NAO investigation, saying that “the disclosure (of invoices) could reasonably be expected to prejudice the effectiveness of procedures, examinations or audits by public authorities.”

The Nadur project, which began during former Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana’s tenure and continued with Clint Camilleri, has been shrouded in suspicion and opacity due to its rising costs and potential for abuse.

The project went ahead without a Planning Authority permit. Camilleri claimed that a permit was unnecessary.

Last year, The Shift reported that during the years Road Construction Ltd. was rebuilding the road, many other private developments also appeared in the fields adjacent to the new road.

The private works were undertaken by the same company building the road. These included building new rubble walls, splicing fields, constructing water reservoirs and agricultural rooms, and forming and concreting wide ramps. All these works were also carried out without a Planning Authority permit.

The Shift asked whether these works were paid from the public road’s budget, which the Gozo Minister denied.

Some of the private works were carried out by the same contractor tasked with building the road.

When Clint Camilleri was repeatedly asked in parliament to state the name of the architect overseeing the multi-million-euro project, the minister refused to provide any information.

What is clear is that as soon as Clint Camilleri took over the Gozo Ministry, the minister changed the architect and appointed Andrew Ellul, the husband of former Planning Authority ODZ permits boss Elizabeth Ellul.

Camilleri recently appointed the same architect on the Planning Authority board.

                           

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Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
23 days ago

Permits in Gozo? Who needs permits in Gozo?

Certainly not some developers – and more than certainly not the Gozo ministry itself!

N Attard
N Attard
23 days ago

Wonder of wonders. Road Construction Ltd. Rebhuh it tender kienu!

makjavel
makjavel
23 days ago

Another Minister who thinks that he is omnipotent.
His turn will come to put his hands on the window rods.

carmelo borg
23 days ago

aqtali kurzita clint jigi xi haga min TOTO RINA li kien joghod ghawdex??????

Cowboys of Malta
Cowboys of Malta
23 days ago

Let me figure it out. The cheapest tender won and after years and years, missed deadlines somehow, somehow the cost doubled or tripled. Hmmmmm. It is familiar hux hekk? I would nevere be brave enough to guess those field to whom they belong where the private work was done on the taxpayers money. Might be some developers? Or some relatives or friends of friends? The circle of money… Unfortunately it is one way, out of the taxpayers pocket.

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