The db Group, which was controversially granted the former ITS site in St George’s Bay to build a hotel, recreational and entertainment facilities and residences, said on Sunday that it was satisfied that a report by the National Audit Office last week made “no allegations of whatsoever nature” against the group in its dealings with the government-appointed negotiating team.
It also observed that the price it had paid was consonant to the market valuation carried out by the auditor-general as part of its terms of reference.
“The group welcomes the publication of the report as it brings to an end the various unfounded and at times malicious allegations against the group regarding the price it paid for the concession of the land in question,” it said.
A miserable attempt at recovering from a slap in the face
Meanwhile, Moviment Graffitti, one of the most focal opponents of the project, said the db statement was “a miserable attempt at recovering from the authentic slap in the face that is the National Audit Office (NAO) report about the Pembroke monstrosity”.
It said the group had ignored a very important fact: that the NAO inquiry has been hindered by a “lack of information” and details about the negotiations between the government and db itself.
“Had there been nothing untoward in the whole process, there would have been no need for this systematic obfuscation of facts from public scrutiny. As regards the very same process, the Auditor General’s condemnation is clear and categorical,” the group said.
From the same report it was also very clear that the deal would cost a huge amount of money to the state, wherein the sale of the land in Pembroke (which db will pay in instalments) does not cover the €75m spent for ITS’ transfer to Smart City. The government had also spent another €2m for the temporary relocation of ITS to Luqa.
“We can only conclude that either government doesn’t have people skilled in simple mathematics negotiating on its behalf, or else they have been working to to favour someone else’s interests. At the agreed prices, it is clear that neither government’s nor the citizens’ interests have been safeguarded,” it said.
“db may play the victim card as it pleases and accuse residents, NGOs and journalists of “malice” whenever these issues are pointed out. What stands out as malicious is this whole saga from top to bottom. There is enough proof for this contract to be revoked, and for the investigation of numerous personnel involved in this scandal,” it said.
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