‘Millions from Fort Chambray transfer are my right’ – Michael Caruana

Gozitan businessman Michael Caruana insisted it was his right to transfer ‘his’ Fort Chambray concession to third parties but denied the rumoured €55 million he would receive.

“The €55 million being mentioned is just gossip from certain developers, and it’s all hogwash,” Caruana, who owns Gozo’s Hotel Calypso, told The Shift when contacted.

A resolution is to be presented in parliament today to allow Caruana to transfer parts of the project to third parties, racking in investment to complete the project.

This will result in Caruana receiving millions for the project while the government and the public whose land is being transferred get nothing. The government had the option of taking the land back when several phases of the project failed.

When The Shift asked Caruana to specify how many millions he would be making from the concession’s transfer, Caruana declined to say, insisting that it was “commercial information”.

Caruana insisted it was his right to transfer the 87-year concession he obtained from the government in 2005, as he adhered to all the concession’s obligations.

He also said that other amendments to the concession, made years later, made him the sole owner of the Fort.

Yet the parliamentary resolution to be presented today allowing Caruana to transfer the concession paints a different picture.

It states that the Knights of Malta’s fortification should have been restored and the project completed, including the construction of a hotel, in 20 years.  A number of those targets are still in the planning stage.

The resolution, to be presented to parliament today, will allow Caruana to transfer the public concession. It also states that the project has been abandoned for years and needs new owners to be completed.

The 18th-century fort dominates the hill overlooking Mġarr harbour. Photo: Google Maps.

Still, Caruana, better known as Il-Billi, insisted that the government had no option but to let him transfer the land.

“I am the owner of Fort Chambray, and the government only controls small parts of it, according to the 2005 contract. God forbid that the government does not allow this transfer as this would mean that all contracts signed with the government are just a piece of paper,” Caruana said.

“I do not have a never-ending amount of money, and that is why the concession allowed me to develop the project piecemeal,” he added.

Caruana disagreed when asked whether it was fair that prime real estate, once belonging to the public, would earn him millions through a government-approved transfer and the government would not receive a cent.

“The government does not own anything anymore as the property is mine. The government is not owed anything,” Caruana insisted.

According to the concession, Caruana can transfer the concession to others only with the backing of a resolution approved by parliament. If this is not approved, Caruana will be stuck with Fort Chambray.

The resolution needs a simple majority to be approved, even if the opposition members block it at the committee stage.

The government also has the option of reclaiming the concession if the obligations inserted in the contract are not met.

One of the 2005 obligations in the concession that remained unfulfilled is the building of a 100-room hotel.

Instead of opting for the possibility of repossessing the Fort, the government now wants parliament to approve its transfer from Caruana to another group of businessmen.

Although unnamed in the parliamentary resolution, they include Francesco Grima il-Gigu, Vince Borg of Bitmac known as Censu n-Nizz, Ninu Fenech and his sons of TUM Invest, Mario Gauci of Burmarrad Commercials and Oliver Brownrigg of BT Commercial.

Editorial note: The parliamentary committee meeting was postponed to next week.

                           

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M.Galea
M.Galea
27 days ago

Nispera li jimxu strettament mal-kuntratt li sar. Ma jistax ikun li propjeta pubblika tinghata lill privat b kapricc!

Reality
Reality
27 days ago
Reply to  M.Galea

.mafiamaltand gozo. Kulhadd (hbieb tal hbieb) jisraq lill-poplu malt ‘KEMM JIFLAH. PAJJIZ MIFNI BIL-korruzzjoni.

D. Borg
D. Borg
27 days ago

another Vitals in the making
Will the lackluster PN wash their hands and be complicit in this theft?
Is Repubblika our only hope to safeguard citizens’ interests?

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
27 days ago
Reply to  D. Borg

1. How the Opposition will vote on this will obviously be known when the vote is taken, albeit a simple resolution is enough.
2. Repubblika is NOT the only fighter for our rights, and there are many others, starting with the SHIFT and continuing with other NGO’s and ARNOLD CASSOLA.

SIMON GALEA
SIMON GALEA
26 days ago

Net refrains to report anything related to known investors…owing their richness to PNb…not just NET but 97 % of the media…I hope that we all vote for independent candidates…they are all afraid of the few oligarchs in Malta.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
26 days ago
Reply to  D. Borg

The PN in government was condescending enough to allow the contracted developer to carry out his plans piecemeal. He never managed to do this.

That doesn’t give the same developer, who has now completely defaulted on his obligations, the opportunity to make millions – or even a few pennies, for that matter – by somehow ‘selling’ those obligations to third parties.

The solution now should be simply to immediately rescind the contract and seek other possibilities of further developing the Chambray project through other prospective entrepreneurs who can carry out what Caruana could not – or did not want to – complete.

The resolution to be considered in Parliament will be approved even if the Opposition votes against it – simply because the majority vote will go for approval. It is certainly not a question of the PN now ‘washing their hands and be complicit in this theft’.

The theft may still carry on however staunch the Opposition’s stance against it.

Last edited 26 days ago by Joseph Tabone Adami
Ray Deguara
Ray Deguara
21 days ago

Who ever thinks that anything will change if the PN govern is either joking himself or naive, it might even be worse.

SIMON GALEA
SIMON GALEA
26 days ago
Reply to  D. Borg

Hadd ma jiddefendi lil-Malti meta l-investituri nafu min huma….jibzghu minnhom….spazju ghal min hu indipendenti. Qazzu l’Alla.

S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
27 days ago

“Caruana declined to say, insisting that it was “commercial information” He learns fast doesn’t he?

S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
27 days ago

“Instead of opting for the possibility of repossessing the Fort, the government now wants parliament to approve its transfer from Caruana to another group of businessmen.” As always, opts for business friendly, never public friendly, even though public assets.

Charles Falzon, Sliema
Charles Falzon, Sliema
27 days ago
Reply to  S. Camilleri

The public should retain shares, equivalent to the commercial value of the land involved, in any venture involving such transfers, even if for temporary periods of time.

SIMON GALEA
SIMON GALEA
26 days ago
Reply to  S. Camilleri

And the group of businessmen are known to take whatever they like….no one messes with them…at least the shift have the balls to name and shame…but they decide who governs and they are powerful enough to turn the tables..Malta is gameover. Vote independent….

Philip
Philip
25 days ago
Reply to  SIMON GALEA

Daphne and Caroline, two warriors who never cease to amaze with their incisive investigative reporting and who, with Republika are probably the only defenders of the Maltese public’s interests. Sad that Daphne was taken away from us. She had initiated proper journalism values within the profession.

S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
27 days ago

“Gozitan businessman Michael Caruana insisted it was his right to transfer ‘his’ Fort Chambray concession to third parties” No, what you are entitled to is the dissolution of your concession.

Karmenu Psaila
Karmenu Psaila
27 days ago

Sewwa mela art tal Poplu Malti , u min kien iffirma il kuntratt ma zammx mal kundizjonijiet , voldieri suppost il kuntratt waqa , u issa ha jithalla ibiegh min dak li mhux tieghu imma tal Poplu Malti , u tibqawx tghidu tal Gvern Malti , dik propjeta tal – Maltin , u lebda Gvern ma ghandu dritt jitlaqa min idejh.

Maria Aquilina
Maria Aquilina
26 days ago
Reply to  Karmenu Psaila

Il- gvern huwa ahna.Il- gvern ma ghandu xejn,allavolja tela bil- maggoranza,ma jfissirx li jista jbiegh hwejjiggna.Kuntratt jaqa’ jekk tikser xi regoli minni.Gvern serju u moralment nadif jahdem ghal favur tac- cittadini.

Josette Portelli
Josette Portelli
26 days ago
Reply to  Maria Aquilina

Is-sabiħa hi li “l-gvern”, li jrid qed jagħmel avolja l-gvern suppost huwa aħna kif għidt inti. Ilhom jinkisru liġijiet u regoli biex jaġevolaw lil dak/ lill-ieħor/lill-oħrajn. Lilna mhux jikkalkolawna!! Li jaqbel lilu qed jagħmel il-gvern u mhux li jaqbel għall-poplu Malti.

Alex
Alex
26 days ago

There were always funds to complete.
There was something else.
Wish them all luck.

SIMON GALEA
SIMON GALEA
26 days ago

Interessanti li hadd ma rraporta dan il-fatt sagrilegg fl-intier tieghu illi l-gvernijiet bieghu sit storiku ekwivalenti ghalk-Imdina. Lanqas in-net. Ifisser ki hadd ma tghallem ..la l-pn u lanqas il-pl…

Joseph
Joseph
26 days ago

The Government is stringent with landowners especially ODZ and tries to tie them hands and feet but lax with public property worth hundreds of millions..ITS, TIGNE POINT, WHITE ROCKS ETC ETC ETC

Greed
Greed
25 days ago

The usual corrupt suspects to get this public land, unbelievable or is it?

Tony Borg
Tony Borg
22 days ago

Art tal-poplu uzuprata ghal skopijiet personali ta’ profit!!!!

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