[WATCH] Robert Abela plays down encounter with Joseph Portelli, says event was held publicly

Prime Minister says he regularly meets with people from all walks of life, including those from commercial entities • Abela categorically denies receiving donations from developer Joseph Portelli

Prime Minister Robert Abela on Tuesday (Photo: James Bianchi)
Prime Minister Robert Abela on Tuesday (Photo: James Bianchi)

Prime Minister Robert Abela played down his encounter with developer Joseph Portelli, days prior to the grant of a development permit in Sannat, saying he meets regularly with people from all walks of life. 

“Every day I meet people from commercial entities, as I meet people from all walks of life. The encounter with Portelli, occurred publically, when I met commercial entities in Gozo. I categorically deny receiving any donations from him and that the permit in question was ever mentioned,” Abela said.

The dinner organised by Portelli was attended by several Gozitan developers and had Abela as a guest of honour. It was held in a Gozitan restaurant.

Last week, the Planning Authority voted to approve an application by Portelli to build a block of 125 apartments just 300 metres from the cliff edge in Sannat, Gozo

With regards to the regularisation of his Zejtun property, Abela refused to say whether he purchased it prior it being regularised. Instead he  shifted his guns onto Opposition leader Bernard Grech, saying his property was built illegally and sanctioned later.

MaltaToday revealed that Labour leader Robert Abela acquired his Żejtun villa, a 2,200 square metre estate named ‘Ċinja’, just three months after it was regularised by the Planning Authority and freed from restrictions for its sale.

On Tuesday, Abela inaugurated the opening of the second out of five open spaces at the Ta Qali National Park. He emphasised the park would be offering a higher quality of life and said the government wanted to offer safe and open spaces for everyone.  

Abela said the park could be be used both during the day and also in the evening for cultural activities. “What was a concrete factory and a dumping site will now be transformed into a space, hosting a mecca of activities,” Abela said. 

Transport Minister Ian Borg said the area of the National Park was doubling in space, increasing the recreational area from 30 football grounds to 60. 

“What was a zone full of buildings, illegal structures and government offices - will be now transformed into a space, where artists can exhibit their talents,” Borg said.