Malta Enterprise executive chairman Alan Camilleri
A spokesperson for Malta Enterprise (ME) has denied that a New Year's Eve party was held at ME's brand new €3.87 million premises in Gwardamangia, after eyewitnesses told MaltaToday the offices were the scene of the party that lasted into the early hours of 1 January 2012.
In a statement sent to MaltaToday, ME said it "categorically denies that there was any form of activity at its premises on New Year's Eve, as is being falsely claimed in your article. Any allegations made by so called 'eyewitnesses' are therefore purely fictitious."
The denial comes nine days after the article was published in MaltaToday on Sunday.
The statement adds: "Your claim that Malta Enterprise executive chairman Alan Camilleri remained silent is also incorrect as when called by your journalist, he said that the questions - which were sent to the Ministry of Finance and Malta Enterprise at practically the same time - had already been replied in the response provided by the Ministry and that therefore there was no scope for further comment."
"Malta Enterprise also denies the existence of any penthouse or apartment as is being alleged by the MaltaToday journalist, who could easily have confirmed this fact himself by requesting a visit to the Malta Enterprise premises as any professional journalist would have done."
MaltaToday has taken up ME's offer and requested to visit the new offices in Gwardamangia, which took up the former Institute of Healthcare at St Luke's Hospital.
Contrary to ME's claims, the corporation never replied to the numerous questions sent by e-mail.
When Camilleri was contacted by the MaltaToday journalist he first stated that he had no knowledge of the questions sent. However when pressed on the NYE party, he said: "I have nothing to say about your questions. No comment."
A finance ministry spokesperson had told MaltaToday that he was informed by ME that "no such party took place" and added that "security cameras were checked and nobody had entered the offices on Saturday (New Year's Eve), except for the security officer on duty."
MaltaToday is not informed as to whether these security cameras were checked and shown to the finance ministry officials, who have taken an interest in MaltaToday's story.
On the existence of an apartment inside ME for Alan Camilleri, the ministry spokesperson told MaltaToday that ME informed him that there is no apartment on the top floor of the buildings. The spokesperson said "(the ministry) does not have any further details. Please direct any further specific queries to the Corporation itself."
The approximate cost of the relocation of the ME offices from the San Gwann Industrial Estate to the former Institute for Health Care in St Luke's Hospital has been tagged at €3.87 million. But ME will soon relocate their premises for the second time in four years.
ME's permanence in Gwardamangia is not expected to run beyond 2015 when the €200 million Corporate Village project in Mriehel, is completed. Corporate Village is to host Malta Enterprise and the VAT and Inland Revenue departments as its first tenants.
Late last year, Finance Minister Tonio Fenech had said that due to the speedy nature of the relocation, 17 contracts were awarded by restrictive tendering processes, which are open only to selected pre-qualified contractors, and three other contracts were awarded by direct order.
The three direct orders were awarded to Mediterranean Technical Services Ltd for providing consultancy on building services. This direct order cost €55,000 (excluding VAT). The other two direct orders were awarded to Pace & Lautier Design Workshop.
Pace & Lautier provided project management, interior design and other consultancy services for €370,000 (excluding VAT) and architectural and structural design services for €51,000 (excluding VAT).
Fenech also said that the decision to move the offices to a state-owned property had been the right decision because the rental of a similar commercial property would have cost €500,000 annually, and the investment in state-owned property would be recuperated within three years.