Strickland House sale

This majority shareholding of the newspaper group was registered by the Company, Allied Newspapers Ltd, in the name of the Strickland Foundation in 2010 some 22 years after Mabel’s death and completely without the knowledge or approval of her heir

In your newspaper article, published on the proposed sale of Strickland House which appeared online on January 30 and in print on January 31, a statement was made that Allied Newspapers is “owned by the Strickland Foundation”.

Unfortunately, I need to record that the statement made is not factually correct and therefore I trust you will permit me to enlighten your readers that there are still, in fact, several Strickland family shareholders in Allied Newspapers today, where I am the second largest registered shareholder. As your readers will also be aware, the validity of the majority shareholding of the newspaper group, currently registered to the Strickland Foundation is also being challenged, through the courts, by myself, as the sole heir of my aunt’s Mabel Strickland’s estate. Allow me to explain the situation, in brief, as the matter is currently before the courts.

This majority shareholding of the newspaper group was registered by the Company, Allied Newspapers Ltd, in the name of the Strickland Foundation in 2010 some 22 years after Mabel’s death and completely without the knowledge or approval of her heir. This highly irregular transfer was only made in haste, when I filed a legal action, in court, against the Executors and the Strickland Foundation some two weeks earlier, in early January 2010. No valid documentation has ever been produced to support this transfer.

Up until 2010, strangely, these shares had been held, in the personal names of the Executors on behalf of the estate. The entire validity of this irregular transfer is being investigated in a case before the contentious courts (1136/2015/SM). It is being challenged because, I, as sole heir, have never either had sight of (or even been given) any valid instrument of transfer, and anyway, these shares could never be and still cannot be held by the Strickland Foundation under the restrictions of Allied Newspapers own articles of association.

Furthermore, my aunt’s own will is conflicted on the very subject of this legacy to the Strickland Foundation but it is a statement of fact that the Strickland Foundation deed itself states that it was set up for the benefit of Mabel, “herself, and her heirs in perpetuity”.

Currently the Strickland Foundation is controlled by other parties not connected with the family, and I, as her sole heir have been deliberately excluded by these people ever since my aunt’s death, 30 years ago.

Thus, the above case was filed by me, on behalf of my aunt’s estate in order to cancel this highly irregular 2010 transfer and return the shares to the estate. However, due to the time that it takes in Malta to hear such proceedings, no decision has yet been reached because the full evidence has yet to be presented to the Courts. Nevertheless, this is a matter of public interest.

Despite this, of further concern, even before these shares were improperly registered at the MFSA by the Company Secretary (who, in a conflicted position, works for DeMarco & Associates), Allied has paid dividends amounting to many millions of euros, quite improperly, to the Strickland Foundation during the period 1989 to 2009 – that is dividends being paid to a non-shareholder for decades!

Allied Newspapers, until my aunt’s death, was owned and run by the Strickland family, supported by a very loyal workforce with a proud tradition of independence. It is well known, by many in Malta, that my aunt Mabel wished this status quo to continue on after her death when, in 1979 she set up, her Strickland Foundation “for herself and her heirs in perpetuity”, yet it seems, up to now, Mabel’s true wishes have been disrespected and totally thwarted.

Robert Hornyold Strickland



Investigations under the Money Laundering Act

Reference is made to your editorial of the 21 January, 2018, where it is stated that the “AG told the committee that he had no executive authority to investigate allegations about money laundering; the Chief Justice said that the Money Laundering Act empowered the local authorities to initiate investigations ‘even without reasonable suspicion’…”.

Please note that, to the extent that this statement concerns applications by the Attorney General for investigation orders under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, I never said that such applications can be applied for without reasonable suspicion.

Silvio Camilleri

Chief Justice


Fr John Mary Cauchi’s dedication to Brazil’s land reform

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the golden anniversary of the priesthood of Fr John Mary Cauchi, originally of Gharb in Gozo, in Sao Miguel de Taipu in Paraiba Brazil.

I always admired his dedication to help bring about land reform in his region through the Pastoral Land Commission, commonly known as CPT, of the Catholic Church. During the Mass I had the opportunity to present to him a version of a book, which I had just published entitled “The Pastoral Land Commission – with the Participation of Fr John Mary Cauchi”.

The reader, apart from five chapters in the second part, dealing with the participation of Fr Cauchi, which include the agrarian conflict as reported in the newspapers, has an opportunity to know a gist of the teaching and involvement of the Catholic Church, in Brazil’s struggle in favour of the land reform. This part includes methods and strategies in Brazil and in the world; the birth of the Pastoral Land Commission; the murder of activists; the different variations of farmsteads – about 20 definitions; the support to the indigenous people; an interview with the late Mgr Tomas Balduino the founder of the CPT; the Mgr Oscar Award by Dayton University of USA; Women honoured by the Parana Legislative Assembly; the Centre for Biblical Studies and the Pilgrimage of the Martyrs for Land Reform.

One can find the English version of the book in the website of the Gozo Diocese. His Excellency Mgr Mario Grech presented an excellent and extensive foreword to my book. As a magisterial support to Fr John Mary Cauchi’s involvement, I concluded my epilogue by referring to the thoughts of Pope Francis in his speech at the World Meeting of Popular Movements in Bolivia, where he defended land reform and made harsh criticism of agribusiness. On citing the Social Teaching of the Church, Pope Francis recalled that “the land reform apart from being a political necessity is a moral obligation.”

He is preoccupied with the exclusion of so many farmers, not because of wars and natural disasters, but rather as a result of being expelled.

Fr John Caruana

Sarandi-Parana, Brazil