Architects Robert Musumeci and Colin Zammit name-dropped for Barts medical school

While in a meeting with Technoline’s Ivan Vassallo and the project manager of VGH, Mohammed Elawiss, Pierre Sladden messaged Keith Schembri, asking him whether Colin Zammit or Robert Musumeci were the best architects to deal with the Planning Authority (PA) in the Barts Medical School project in Gozo.

The magisterial inquiry on the hospitals’ deal shows that Sladden, the contractor from Xgħajra who had secret business dealings with Keith Schembri and  Adrian Hillman, informed the disgraced former OPM Chief of Staff that he had found an Italian contractor, Sirimed, who could build the Barts Medical School quickly.

He told Schembri he wanted to recommend the best architect to Vitals Global Healthcare, the school’s supposed developer, to expedite the complicated permit process with the Planning Authority.

“Shall I tell them to use Colin Zammit or (Robert) Musumeci? What do you think?” Sladden asked Schembri.

Architects’ success rate

Speaking to The Shift, senior Planning Authority officials said they were not surprised with the request for a recommendation:

“All you need to do is check who the busiest architects are under Labour when it comes to ODZ permits and big contractors, and you can find that Zammit and Musumeci top the list with another few.”

In 2022, an investigation by The Shift found that five Labour-linked architects, including Zammit and Musumeci, had more than 90% of development applications approved since 2013.

Colin Zammit of the Maniera Group of Mosta is one of the most ‘successful’ architects with Planning Authority permits and usually fronts the projects for mega-developers.

In recent years, Zammit has often made headlines, including for a massive €700,000 direct order by disgraced Minister Konrad Mizzi to prepare designs for a new ITS campus at Smart City. This project remains at a standstill.

Robert Musumeci, a former PN mayor of Siggiewi who switched to Labour after Joseph Muscat was elected, has received millions in direct orders and assignments from the Labour government.

The Labour administration also tasked him with changing the Planning Authority policies and rules and opening the floodgates for development permits all over the island, including in ODZ areas.

Musumeci’s proximity to corridors of power has made him one of the most sought-after architects for those developers wanting to develop on ODZ land. The Shift reported in 2018 that his ODZ approval rate tripled since becoming a planning advisor in 2013.

The Barts Medical School project

Originally planned to open in 2016, as part of the fraudulent deal signed between the government and VGH, later taken over by Stewards, the hospital’s concessionaire was obliged to build a new medical school next to the Gozo General Hospital to be operated by the internationally acclaimed Barts London School of Medicine.

The Barts Medical School in Gozo is financed by taxpayers.

However, VGH never started the project as they did not manage to raise the necessary investment funds.

Instead of cancelling the concession for not delivering, the government, through the intervention of Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri, made an arrangement through Malta Enterprise to finance the school’s building through government coffers.

As a result, the government agreed to pay VGH €1.2 million annually for the following 30 years to compensate for the costs of building the medical school.

The school opened its doors in 2019, three years after the original deadline. Research carried out by The Shift shows that neither Zammit nor Musumeci took up the job.


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Noel Ciantar
Noel Ciantar
12 days ago

Should it come as a surprise then, that the present Chair in Office of OSCE, and Malta’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ian Borg built his “matrimonial home” – with a permit which according to the Ombudsman is the result of a “grave error” on the part of the Planning Authority – using the services of Pierre Sladden’s Redmap Projects Limited, and later used the services of Colin Zammit of Manera Group to build his illegal swimming pool?

Not to forget, of course, that Robert Musumeci had resorted to the media to defend Borg’s permit issued with “a grave error” against the conclusions of the Ombudsman.

The world is such a small place.

Lino Vella Clark
Lino Vella Clark
11 days ago
Reply to  Noel Ciantar

The conclusions of Ombudsman were also confirmed by the Commission against corruption that the approval given by Planning Authority was illegal & Abusive of power.

12 days ago

Two typical examples of greed over principles, as both were vociferous PN supporters.
As the Maltese saying goes ” fejn jidhol peppi ma hemx rispetti” is money that counts not principles for this type of people .

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