Prime Minister Robert Abela cannot turn a blind eye to the serious issues raised by the Auditor General regarding the transfer of public land in Pembroke to the DB group. 

The Auditor General on Wednesday raised doubts on the regularity of the request for proposals issued by the government for the transfer of land on which the Institute of Tourism Studies was located in St George's Bay.

The land had been controversially handed to the DB Group, which plans to build a huge mixed-used complex including a hotel, leisure, retail and residential facilities.

Repubblika insisted that a public inquiry had to be held to determine who took the decisions regarding the transfer of the site in St George’s Bay and why this was done. It was of paramount importance that the police investigated the suspicion of corruption. And it was imperative that the land was returned to the people. 

The NAO’s report, Repubblika said, uncovered scandalous manoeuvres. 

“We denounce as scandalous the fact that the Office of the Prime Minister and that of the Minister of Tourism handed over conflicting accounts to the Auditor General. 

“We denounce as scandalous the fact that the Office of the Prime Minister and that of the Minister of Tourism are each assigning responsibility to the other. Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi are now blaming each other.

“We denounce as scandalous the fact that despite the huge powers at his disposal, the Auditor General himself was unable to discover who is responsible for taking the decision to hand over this land which is worth millions. The Auditor General was obliged to report that he was not given any documents regarding the negotiations concerning this land.

“We denounce as scandalous the fact that this process excluded the Government Property Division and the Department of Contracts, as specified by law, in order to hide the true purpose of this contract.”

Repubblika said Abela now has to shoulder responsibility for this affair. 

He was either going to be part of the filth and corruption generated by Muscat and Mizzi, or he was going to do his duty and clean up “this disgusting case”. 

Abela could not use COVID-19 as an excuse to sweep this filth under the carpet. Corruption was also a serious illness which broke the moral fibre of a country and sickened the economy. 

Parliament and government could not remain silent and the police could not remain indifferent. Public land could not remain in the hands of those who grabbed it illegally, Repubblika said.

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