The magic of making the illegal legal

Well, that wasn’t much of a surprise, was it?

Gozo’s scourge of silence and space wants legal sanction for the giant hole it has dug in the ground.

Joseph Portelli knew it wasn’t legal when he put his siege machines to work on a nice, juicy piece of land in the Outer Development Zone (ODZ) in Qala. But he wants the planning authority to approve him anyway – with a few pools added – so he can keep doing whatever he wants to do, and hell with everyone.

It was not an innocent mistake. The developer publicly admitted that he knew he was breaking the law, but in the process, he only started digging – illegally – without a permit because he expected him to eventually get a permit.

He did not specify whether he meant that he firmly believed that the permit he had applied for would be validated because it was valid, or whether he thought it would simply be “regularized” later because no one has ever been held responsible for anything here.

When it comes to betting, the odds are on Joseph Portelli’s side.

What a bore building permits must be for the smug little man who said: “Malta needs 100 more years of construction”.

In justifying his Mercury Tower project in Paceville, Portelli insisted that rather than blocking the view of other residents, throwing them into the eternal shadow of the canyons created by his buildings, he instead gave those same deprived people light a view… of his tower.

In other words, his frantic efforts to turn Malta and Gozo into highly lucrative apartments for sale are a social good.

In that same interview, Portelli insisted that the towers are the only possible answer for overcrowded Malta, as the only alternative would be to build “on ODZ land, and that wouldn’t be fair.” We cannot afford to lose what little green land we have left.

To the question “Have you ever built on ODZ land?” He replied, “No, never.”

How ironic that the latest illegality he wants the Palestinian Authority to make legal is linked to the monstrosity of 164 apartments that will cover an area the size of three football fields… on ODZ land.

Portelli has already played quickly with the truth by using false claims of exclusive ownership – and filing four separate development applications for the plots that make up the massive site – in order to evade the required environmental impact assessment and a extensive public consultation.

Indeed, the police did not find any “wrongdoing of a criminal case” despite such practices violating both the Penal Code and the law on development planning, leading legal experts to qualify it as ” institutionalized corruption ”.

Given this unspoken encouragement, Portelli once again uses the same devious methods on the outskirts of Sannat to detonate buildings in an area of ​​international importance to birds. He is so convinced that it will work that the apartments are being marketed online even before he has a permit to build them.

Does anyone doubt that the property tycoon will also be successful in Qala?

Portelli’s illegal concrete plant is already supplying government projects, although it is, well… illegal, as the description suggests.

He himself said – again in that bizarre Times of Malta interview – that he regularly meets with politicians “to speed up the process”. In normal countries this would trigger an investigation, but in Malta such statements are met with a shrug.

As if giving away top-notch public land at rock-bottom prices – and paving the way for uncontrollable paving by waving a magic wand to make the illegal legal – wasn’t bad enough, the government is also handing over money. money to these guys so they can ‘make hay’ with more environmentally friendly engines of mass destruction.

Malta Enterprise refuses to say who benefited from the program, which allowed them to award 4 million euros in grants to 40 developers and construction companies, pissing off the other 50 who applied and were turned down. Nor was any reason given for the selection and rejection of certain candidates.

The usual total lack of transparency raises the usual blizzard of questions.

Is any of the beneficiaries of this scheme currently under sanction? Are there any unpaid tax arrears? How many are currently working on illegal construction sites?

I wouldn’t expect any response if I were you. Politicians and developers have their hands so deep in each other’s pockets that they have completely forgotten who is wearing the pants.

At one point, construction tycoons have to clash with tourism industry tycoons – a group with its own connections to the government – because of the drop in visitor numbers once it becomes apparent that the pandemic alone does not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Turns out, no one wants to spend their hard-earned savings taking their annual vacation to a construction site.

Is it any wonder that so many young people have completely abandoned this obscure country? Some 60% want to leave, according to the recent EY Generate a youth survey. And that’s probably the best thing they can do for themselves and their future. Malta has already been sold.

I guess those who remain could still work in a government-built drug operation.

“Wait a minute,” you might say, “It was foreign direct investment in Europe’s most envied economy! “

Turns out the cannabis company hasn’t quite ‘invested’ in Malta after all.

I have two questions for Malta Enterprise. First of all, from whom was this brilliant idea? : “We will give you 3.1 million euros, then you return them to us and we will say that you have invested 4 million euros. Second, has the government funded a marijuana grow op for a private company using illegal state aid?

This massive injection of public money into a private company should create “12 to 20 new jobs for the industry”.

Calling it ‘foreign direct investment’ gives the impression that companies are flocking to Malta because it is such an attractive jurisdiction to run a business. It is an illusion, like everything this government touches. The only thing that is likely to be true is that someone’s palm has been greased along the way.

Don’t hold your breath for a quick exit from the FATF gray list. It’s business as usual in the country of Kickbackistan, where deals are done on the shady side of the street, and the financial outlook for the ordinary taxpayer has just been lowered from “Say” to “Hopeless”.

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