Government pays Corinthia company €365,000 direct order for 3-day Agrifair

Venue used for the Labour Party's end-of-campaign concert days later.

 

Aqra bil-Malti.

Taxpayers have forked out a direct order of €365,000 to hire the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre’s (MFCC) tent in Ta’ Qali for a three-day agricultural fair organised by the agriculture ministry led by Minister Anton Refalo.

Information published in the government gazette shows that a Corinthia Group company, which owns the MFCC and pays just €20,000 a year for occupying large tracts of public land in Ta’ Qali, was paid the extraordinary sum for using the tent for just a weekend.

A few days later, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) paid tens of thousands to organise the so-called Public Service Week—an event the government held to boost its image in the middle of the electoral campaign.

As in the last general elections campaign, Labour used the MFCC venue to end its MEP election campaign. It organised a concert in which Labour leader Robert Abela made his final speech asking the public for a vote of confidence in himself.

The amount the Labour Party paid Corinthia for using the venue is unclear.

The MFCC tent was recently in the news due to its latest application to extend its 18-year-old ‘temporary’ permit for another five years.

Just a few days before last Saturday’s elections, Corinthia managed to regularise a raft of illegalities at the venue, including fences, gates, substations, a car park and other tents.

The Planning Authority (PA), heavily influenced by the OPM through its CEO Oliver Magro, approved the latest regularisation request by imposing a €50,000 fine – less than one day’s income from the tent if hired by the government or its agencies.

At the same time, the Planning Authority gave Corinthia another five-year ‘temporary’ permit for the venue.

Reiterating the same conditions it had imposed in the past renewals, which the tent’s owners never respected, the Planning Authority insisted that “a condition is being included where the proposal is valid for five years and where before the expiry of this period, a full development application shall be required to be submitted to assess the comprehensive development of the site in accordance with the conditions as listed in Policy NWTQ 36 of the Ta’ Qali Action Plan.”

These are the same conditions the Planning Authority has repeatedly imposed since 2006, when it first issued its so-called ‘temporary permit’.

                           

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8 Comments
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Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 month ago

If the PL wants to survive in government, at least for the rest of the legislature, they should get rid of Robert Abela now. They have no option. From a political perspective, he is a complete failure. Covid 19 saved his face because of the capability of others in the likes of Chris Fearne and Profs Charmaine Gauci in particular. As for the rest he is part of the Mafia gang, for the simple reason that he permitted countless and very serious wrongdoings/crimes to happen on his watch. The list is infinite.

M.Galea
M.Galea
1 month ago

Hmieg, serq ta flus, serq ta artijiet pubblici moghtija lil privat biex jinbnew appartamenti halli flimkien jieklu mil l istess cake, qtil, u l poplu xorta ivvota ghal dal hmieg kollu! Biex tara x nies hawn! Kompli hi!!

Pony Express
Pony Express
29 days ago

That is why people used their minds.

Tony Debono
Tony Debono
29 days ago

Corinthia and Labour,
In bed since 1970.
I refuse to even go and eat there.

Paul Bonello
Paul Bonello
28 days ago
Reply to  Tony Debono

For truth’s sake this is not correct; PN ministers protected Corinthia immeasurably and as much. During the 26 year PN term they protected Corinthia from the issue of a public tender in terms of EU rules for Air Malta’s catering contract, in particular Lawrence Gonzi and Josef Bonnici. My initiative as KM Director in 2010 for a competitive bid succeeded only because of Austin Gatt’s correctness. Someone dares contradict this?

Last edited 28 days ago by Paul Bonello
Albert Mamo
Albert Mamo
29 days ago

THE CORRUPTION WILL NOT END UNLESS WE GET RID OF THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT HOODS AND ABELA IS AT THE TOP OF THE MAFIA TREE!!!💯🐀🐀🐀🤑🤑🤑🐖🐖🐖

Last edited 29 days ago by Albert Mamo
Joseph
Joseph
29 days ago

Again sanctions and permits.. and Labour asks what is wrong? They must honestly believe that as long as you give the voters a can of corned beef you can run away with the whole bull for yourself.
With Gahan it works..but not everyone is a Gahan

Martin Baron
Martin Baron
28 days ago

Corinthia makes a considerable amount of money from events held at the erstwhile UPPER BARAKKA PUBLIC GARDEN (lower level) where the small alloted section of the saluting battery used to be housed.
The cut-off section has mushroomed to include the entire garden and as a result the free unrestricted entry by the general public thst existed for HUNDREDS OF YEARS is now barred by gates.
Can this “garden” that has been entirely PAVED OVER be rented out by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna to third parties for commercial gain? Is the use of the area by the Government that owns it CHARGED to the same government?
Years ago the nearby tract of land lease was terminated “for public use”. It’s current use is the parking of several large Outside Catering trucks to service the huge lavish receptions held in the erstwhile public garden.
Does the “public” include the foreign Arab shareholders and directors of Corinthia?

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