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[WATCH] PN demand details on 'bribery' in Gaffarena expropriation

Beppe Fenech Adami says Joseph Muscat's court case to reverse Gaffarena deal 'very difficult to win'

Tim Diacono
8 February 2016, 4:14pm
PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami (Photo:Ray Attard)
PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami (Photo:Ray Attard)
PN demand details on 'bribery' in Gaffarena expropriation • Video by Ray Attard
PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami insisted that businessman Mark Gaffarena must have bribed somebody in order to have convinced the government to expropriate half a Valletta house from him in a €3.5 million deal.  

"No normal citizen's request for the government to expropriate half a house would have been accepted, so why was Gaffarena granted such a special status?" Fenech Adami told a press conference called by the PN.

"He found the doors wide open for him to get the deal he wanted."

Fenech Adami also questioned whether the police have started investigating Castille over the ties between Gaffarena and the Office of the Prime Minister.

“The Gaffarena scandal has its roots in Castille,” he said. “Gaffarena had met [former planning parliamentary secretary] at Castille to request the government to expropriate half his building, Joseph Muscat had met Gaffarena prior to the election, and this government awarded Gaffarena a license for his illegally-built petrol station.”

Following a damning report by the National Audit Office into the expropriation last month, the Prime Minister initiated a court action to recoup the €1.65 in cash, as well as six parcels of public land transferred to Gaffarena by the Government Property Division as part of the deal.

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil claimed that Joseph Muscat’s court case was “designed to be lost”.

However, when asked, Fenech Adami told MaltaToday that the case will be "very difficult" to win.

"The contract is already done and dusted and it's very difficult to convince a court to tear up a signed contract," he said. “Moreover, if Gaffarena and the Lands Department decide to fight Muscat in court, then we are bound to expect a protracted case.”  

When asked what course of action the Prime Minister should have taken in light of the NAO report, the deputy PN leader simply said that he should shoulder responsibility for a scandal that occurred under his watch.”

“We have now reached the absurd situation whereby Muscat, in his capacity as MP, has filed a court case against the Lands Department that he is politically responsible for in his capacity as minister for lands.

“Indeed, the situation has become so absurd that the Lands Departments’ own lawyers aren’t willing to take on the case. 

Tim Diacono is a journalist at MaltaToday