Court stops Gaffarena’s ‘cowboy’ attempt to evict farmers from land

Rogue property speculator Mark Gaffarena, notorious for a series of scandals, particularly in the past decade, was once again stopped by the court from evicting farmers working large tracts of land in Żebbiegħ for generations.

The Constitutional Court, presided by Judge Toni Abela, rubbished Gaffarena’s plea that his fundamental rights had been breached because he could not enjoy his Żebbiegħ property as the land was leased to farmers.

Throwing out his latest attempt to evict farmers from the land, the court said Gaffarena knew when he bought the land in 2005 that it was protected agricultural land leased to farmers.

According to the court, the laws clearly state that the owner of this type of property cannot evict any farmer if the latter keeps working the land. This law is in place to protect farmers and agricultural land from speculation.

The court seriously doubted Gaffarena’s declaration in court that he wanted the Żebbiegħ farmland to start working it himself. The court said this did not appear to be true, as Gaffarena had abandoned a small portion of the same land he acquired through an agreement with another farmer.

Court documents show that the Żebbiegħ farmland – the size of four football pitches – was bought by Gaffarena in 2005 from a company for just €60,000. The price was low because the land was already rented out through a protected lease to farmers.

In court, Gaffarena claimed that the market value of the land was now €1.8 million.

However, the court observed that while the market value of the land was irrelevant in this case, court experts gave a different value of €450,000.

This is the second time in a few weeks that Gaffarena lost a case related to the eviction of farmers.

Last February, the court slammed Mark Gaffarena over a similar case in which he wanted to evict farmers from agricultural land in Burmarrad.

Criticising the businessman’s “cowboy-like attitude”, the court declared that none of Gaffarena’s fundamental rights had been breached.

The Burmarrad case involved a farmhouse and some 15,000 square metres of land in the area known as Ta’ Lippin, which Gaffarena bought in 2003.

The deed of sale specifically stated that the property was subject to a lease and that condition was reflected in its price of just €70,000.

Gaffarena claimed that the Burmarrad property today had a value of €3.5 million, and he wanted it back. The court turned down his request.


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Paul Bonello
Paul Bonello
8 days ago

Hats off to the courts as the bastion of truth and justice.

8 days ago

This Gaffarena needs to be taught a legal lesson, but he has friends in high places. When it is convenient, He might be thrown aside if he becomes an inconvenience.

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