[WATCH] PN’s Siggiewi party club debt 'question of disagreements in valuation of works'

Nationalist Party blames government for inmates' deaths: 'This is not normal or acceptable - it is serious and grievous, and the government ought to shoulder responsibility for it'

Beppe Fenech Adami (Photo:Ray Attard)
Beppe Fenech Adami (Photo:Ray Attard)
PN’s Siggiewi party club debt ‘question of disagreements in valuation’

The Nationalist Party’s failure to pay over €187,000 to Banif Bank, for works carried out by the bank on the PN’s party club in Siggiewi, is a question of “differences in the valuations and costings of some of the works carried out,” PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami told MaltaToday.

“The issue all lies in a somewhat complex agreement made between the sectional committee and the bank itself,” Fenech Adami said, adding that some disagreements had risen in terms of payments and how they were being made.

“I have no doubt that the issue is being addressed by the PN and the bank itself,” he said.

Four years ago, in May 2012, the bank and the PN entered into a highly unorthodox contractual arrangement involving the Siggiewi club.

The agreement provided that the bank would purchase the club’s ground floor from the PN, demolish the whole building and then rebuild it, on condition that the first floor would be returned to the PN – against payment.

On 2 September 2015 the Nationalist Party was presented with a judicial letter calling on it to pay the outstanding amount of €187,454.90 or else face court procedures. The letter referred to various instances in the past three years when the party was requested to settle the debt.

The outstanding matter has however seen some form of clemency from the bank, because legal proceedings instituted by the Portuguese-owned bank are temporarily frozen.

Asked about the legal proceedings, Fenech Adami said that disagreements in the valuation of the works could only be resolved properly through legal means.

“It all boils down to the arrangements made and to a discrepancy in the way the valuations of some of the works carried out,” he added.

MaltaToday is informed that since September, the bank and the PN came to some form of agreement and that legal procedures have been temporarily frozen. 

PN says deaths in custody are a sign of ‘incompetence and mismanagement’

Speaking in a press conference, Fenech Adami said that the government's mismanagement and incompetence were being paid for by the general public.

He said that the death of an inmate this morning was the fifth death of someone under police custody in three and a half months.

“This is not normal or acceptable - it is serious and grievous, and the government ought to shoulder responsibility for it,” he said.

Fenech Adami said that the public couldn’t understand how these events were happening and that they deserved a reply to their questions.

“We are certain that this is happening due to incompetence and bad choices made by the government,” he said, stressing that the police and Corradino Correctional facility had been embroiled in numerous scandals.

Fenech Adami listed the cases of deaths under custody that had plagued the police force in recent months, starting with a ‘monumental’ drug find, where the suspect ultimately took his own life in the police lock-up.

“The magesterial inquiry is still not complete and people still do not know what happened exactly,” he said, adding that the case had died out despite the person involved in it having lost his life.

Referring to the second case, Fenech Adami said that the people were still waiting for the results of the magesterial inquiry with the reasons for the death still remaining unclear at this time.

Fenech Adami pointed out that the third death involving a British national in the Mount Carmel hospital forensic unit was followed by an internal inquiry, which was not published following ‘advice’ from the Attorney General.

“The most recent case was the flu outbreak, which left a number of people hospitalized and one fatality,” he said, adding that home affairs minister Carmelo Abela had initially gone so far as to deny that an inmate was in the ITU.

Calling the situation ‘unprecedented’, Fenech Adami stressed that the minister continued to shirk responsibility in avoiding to publish the magesterial inquiry.

“This is a sign of incompetence and mismanagement. It is a sign that he is not fit for purpose and it is also deeply insensitive to the relatives of so many inmates,” he said.

Asked how the PN would tackle the deterioration, Fenech Adami said that the party would increase investment in the facility and that the current government had its priorities wrong.

Immigration spokesperson Francis Zammit Dimech said that understanding what is meant by custody was essential in the discussion of these cases.

“When someone is under custody, their life and wellbeing is under the responsibility of the leadership of the facility,” he said, stressing that inmates have rights just like everyone else.

“The correctional facility, is the political responsibility of the home affairs ministry, and as such one of its main responsibilities is the welfare of its inmates.”