A Lands Authority official was forced to resign last month after failing to declare a conflict of interest over the renting of public land for a Senglea restaurant he is involved in.

Matthew Zammit, who held a senior managing role at the authority, was directed to tender his resignation by Lands’ Authority chief executive Robert Vella, sources have confirmed.

Zammit, a Labour Party activist, was called in by the authority’s top management and told to step down after learning that he had applied for, and secured, ground rent of public land for the restaurant.

The ground rent is understood to be set at a “favourable” €20 per day, with sources at the authority saying it was particularly low for a commercial property used for catering. 

Once Zammit secured the rental agreement, he went on to promote the restaurant on social media. He was asked to step down soon after.

Attempts to contact Zammit proved unsuccessful.

Zammit has served as an electoral canvasser for Family Minister Michael Falzon, who has already had a brush with controversy involving public land.

In 2016, Falzon had stepped down as planning parliamentary secretary after Times of Malta exposed irregularities in the expropriation of part of a property in Old Mint Street, Valletta, to developer Mark Gaffarena.

Meanwhile, reliable sources said Zammit’s dismissal may carry criminal responsibility, but it is yet unclear whether the police are investigating the matter.

Contacted by Times of Malta, the police said it was “not in a position to confirm or otherwise”.

Questions sent to the Lands Authority remained unanswered.

Investigate Zammit - Moviment Graffitti

Civil Society NGO Moviment Graffitti called for a police investigation into Zammit, and other lands-related matters.

"The scandals within the lands authority are growing... Between the shameful Infrastructure Malta expropriations, the renting of public land at cheap prices to officials, and the manner in which auditors were kept from doing their job, the smell of corruption is increasingly strong," it said on Facebook.

An earlier version of this story stated that Zammit has been reporting for work at Ian Borg's Transport Ministry. Borg has stated that this is not the case.

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