Fortina Group hits back: 'Graffitti statement riddled with lies and misinformation'

Fortina Group says Moviment Graffitti is 'hellbent on conducting a malicious smear campaign'

The Fortina Group has reacted strongly to statements by Moviment Graffitti questioning the dealings of the Zammit Tabona family, accusing the NGO of making claims "riddled with lies and misinformation".

Fortina Group, which belongs to the Zammit Tabona family, denied claims made by Graffitti, including that the sea ferry tender was amended to suit the company's interests.

"Our company instituted legal proceedings before the Public Contracts Review Board in relation to this tender and, now that the board accepted our arguments, this tender has been amended. Only after this development is our company assessing the possibility of becoming a bidder in a process that is open to all operators," the company said.

Fortina further denied the construction of a 133-metre pier in Comino was being proposed to suit their needs, saying that no discussions were held with the government over this "alleged" pier.

Regarding the jetty in Balluta Bay, Fortina said that it will be a temporary fixture and "will not be in an area used by bathers." The company added that the jetty will not be reserved exclusively for Captain Morgan Cruises.

On the topic of land development, Fortina insisted that any land being redeveloped by Fortina, including the Sliema front lido, is owned freehold in its entirety by the group. "As has happened in the past in other well documented cases, a restriction had been placed by government on a small section of the site. The group is now paying a record €8.1 million to government to remove the restriction on this specific parcel of land," the company said.

Fortina addressed other claims, including those relating to the migrant vessels tender. "Graffitti states that Captain Morgan was 'chosen' by the government to supply vessels to house migrants and received €3,000 a day per vessel. What it omits to mention is that another company was paid an alleged €6,500 per day for the use of just one vessel of a similar size," the company said.

It also threatened legal action: “Fortina will no longer tolerate these wild claims that are solely aimed at tarnishing the group’s reputation and reserves its rights at law to take further action.”

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