Controversial Gaffarena land deals all rescinded by law courts

Maltese courts rescind Gaffarena land deals in case filed by Prime Minister 

Marco Gaffarena
Marco Gaffarena

The controversial Lands Department deal that gave entrepreneur Marco Gaffarena several parcels of government land in a part-exchange compensation deal for a government requisition, has been rescinded in part.

The Maltese courts rescinded the government land handed over to Gaffarena, after the Prime Minister filed a court case against Marco Gaffarena and his wife Josielle to recoup the lands transferred in the expropriation of a palazzo in Old Mint Street, Valletta.

The court revoked all transfers made in terms of two expropriation contracts and ordered the return all assets to government.

In 2015, government paid €1.65 million for part ownership of the Valletta property that Gaffarena had bought for a fraction of the price just weeks earlier.

The court was also asked to issue a warrant of seizure equivalent to the funds already paid to the Gaffarenas and a warrant to stop the Gaffarenas from transferring properties handed to them by the government. 

He made a profit of €685,000 in less than two months, apart from acquiring parcels of land in exchange equivalent to the size of more than 10 football pitches.

The prime minister's court application followed the resignation of parliamentary secretary Michael Falzon after an Auditor General's report said he did not safeguard the public interest in the expropriation deals.

Nationalist Party was right all along

In a statement, the Nationalist Party (PN) said the people had won and that it had been proven right by the courts.

“The Nationalist Party is showing that it is truly the voice of the people,” it said.

The PN added that the case was one of many in which “Joseph Muscat gave away the people’s property for free, including the land at Zonqor, Café Premier and three hospitals in Gozo”.

“The courts decision confirms that the PN was right when it said that the Labour government was abusing its power when it gave public land costing more than  €3.5 million to buy a property that already belonged to the government”.

It added that the deal had been struck at Castille “under the eyes of the Prime Minister” and that the Auditor General had found that there had been direct interference on the part of then parliamentary secretary Michael Falzon.

“The Nationalist Party now expects Joseph Muscat to join Adrian Delia in the case against Vitals, so that St Luke’s, Karin Grech and Gozo General hospitals to be returned to the people,” said the party.

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