Naxxar mayor’s conflict of interest: secretary to high-rise architect’s property company

Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami says there is no conflict of interest: ‘They are two different jobs’

Naxxar mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami
Naxxar mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami

Naxxar mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami has denied a conflict of interest when she did not declare to the local council she was a company secretary in a firm partly owned by Edwin Mintoff, the architect of controversial 10-storey tower she voted in favour of.

Nationalist mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami voted for the project, a two-tower complex at the former trade fair grounds, despite the council having previously said it was opposed to the proposed height just a month ago.

Muscat Fenech Adami happens to be a company secretary in a company where the apartment complex project architect Edwin Mintoff is a shareholder.

The company Chalet Bulgari was formed in 2007, and architect Edwin Mintoff, has a 14% shareholding.

Additionally, the mayor is CEO of Veduta Estates, a company that owns 14% of Chalet Bulgari, the company which includes Mintoff as shareholder.

Muscat Fenech Adami today justified her vote in favour of the project by saying that it did not go against current planning policies. “Although I am personally against high-rise development in Naxxar, I cannot be egoistical,” she said.

Muscat Fenech Adami also agreed with the developers that the only alternative to the project was a conventional development with no open spaces.

The Naxxar council did not even take a formal vote on how its representative on the Planning Authority board should vote on the 10-storey building.

The project is proposed by San Pawl tat-Targa Investments, which own the site. Virtù Properties (Portelli, Virtu Holdings) and Ziz Limited (Joseph Debono) own the company. Edwin Mintoff & Associates are project architects.

Questioned on the matter, the Naxxar mayor said she saw no conflict of interest. “I work with the company. It is not mine. Everyone has a job. They are two different jobs, and I see no conflict of interest.”

Muscat Fenech Adami was also asked whether she raised the conflict of interest during council meetings, saying she didn’t. “I don’t think so, it never crossed my mind,” she said.

Given her lack of declaration on the conflict of interest, Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami was asked whether she would be submitting her resignation. “No, not at all. It wasn’t me alone who took the decision, we did it collectively as a council,” she said.