Jason Azzopardi has instituted libel proceedings against Justice Minister Owen Bonnici over comments he made on Saturday regarding the transfer of government property in Qormi when the Nationalist MP was minister for lands.

Dr Bonnici had said that Dr Azzopardi met developer Nazzareno Vassallo and promised him a compromise on the deal. When the land was transferred, its value was under-declared by some €7 million, the minister had claimed.  

The allegation was based upon an affidavit made by a third party. Dr Azzopardi and Mr Vassallo have both denied the claims.  

In the application, Dr Azzopardi pointed out that the Justice Minister had admitted that the affidavit at the heart of matter was never brought to the attention of the Auditor General, who for the past two years, had investigated the case.   

It was rather strange that the minister chose to make this disclosure just when the Auditor General published the report on his findings, the court was told.

The court was requested to treat this matter with urgency.

Lawyer Joseph Zammit Maempel and PL Gerald Bonello signed the judicial act.

In a press conference on a different subject this afternoon, Dr Azzopardi flatly refused to answer any questions about the land transfer.
Dr Azzopardi said he would be answering questions about the case in court.

Asked if he intended to resign over the case, Dr Azzopardi scoffed at comparisons between this case and the resignation of Lands Parliamentary Secretary Michael Falzon. 

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