Company awarded €2.6 million compensation for 1973 land grab

Land Arbitration Board orders Commissioner for Lands to pay company over €2.6 million for expropration of Wied Blandun land in 1973

The Land Arbitration Board has ordered the Commissioner for Lands to pay a local company over €2.6 million in compensation for having taken 7,845 m² of its land in the Wied Blandun area of Fgura in to make way for a public garden, 42 years ago.

The land in question was taken by the government in two stages between 1973 and 1974 and was developed into the Maggie Moran Garden and an arterial road. However, the land taken over was not officially expropriated by the government.

That was status quo up to 2010, when the President of the Republic published a declaration in October 2010, announcing the requirement of a 15,000m² parcel of land in Wied Blandun. The plaintiff’s plots fell within this area.

J.E.M. Investments Limited subsequently received a letter from the Lands Department in March 2011, in which the department offered €137,656 for one 6,189 m² plot, together with €36,833 for another plot in the same area, which measured 1,656 m².

The company contested this valuation, requesting €2,611,530 for both plots. Court appointed experts valued the land at €2,785,575 for one plot and  €416,400 for the other, taking into account the development potential of the land and the passage of time.

Quoting a previous Constitutional decision on a similar issue, magistrate Francesco Depasquale noted that in establishing the amount of compensation due, the Land Arbitration Board  could not exceed the highest amount requested by the vendor and accepted the company's valuation of the land.

The Board therefore upheld the €2,611,530 valuation, ordering this be paid to the company.