The National Audit Office investigating the Corinthia affair in Hal Ferh


Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has asked the National Audit Office (NAO) to investigate the deal reached between the government and the Corinthia Group following The Shift’s revelations about the price of ceded prime public land.

In a statement, Cassola said the NAO criticized a similar deal with DB Group for the St George’s Bay land. Referring to The Shift report, Cassola said such transactions are “to the detriment of taxpayers”.

The Shift revealed this week that while the conversion of the land at Hal Ferh into residential units is valued at just € 10.3million, the contract reveals that the Corinthia Group will in fact pay just € 1.3million. Payment terms of 10 years have been agreed.

The payment terms agreed for the site, which offers unique views on Ghajn Tuffieha, are similar to the deal the Labor government made with DB Group, which the PN had disputed and which resulted in a damning report from the NAO.

“This is an outrageous deal made by a government ceding public land to support private profit,” Cassola said in her letter to the Auditor General.

According to the act negotiated by the Minister of the Economy Silvio Schembri and the Land Authority, not yet signed, the group of private hotels controlled by the Pisani family will only have to pay 10% (€ 1.3 million) of the 10 , 3 M € valuation by the Land Authority, already considered cheap by observers.

Opposition MP Adrian Delia said on social media that the deal was “unacceptable”, adding that public land was being ceded for free. Questions to opposition leader Bernard Grech as to whether he agrees with this position have not yet been answered.

The deal covers some 30,600 square meters of public land, which was to be used only for tourism purposes, which will now be converted by Corinthia into 25 luxury villas for sale to millionaires adjacent to its resort.

In addition, the government also concedes that the remainder of the agreed payment, 9 million euros, will only be paid over 10 years and in small installments, each time Corinthia manages to sell one of its new villas.

The government even granted Corinthia a risk-free investment, inserting a clause in the deed that if the planning authority does not issue a valid permit for the development, Corinthia will be reimbursed for payments made for that concession.

The site is already fully owned by Corinthia, having taken over the act of Island Hotels Group when it took over the company in 2015, the group said in a press release. The amount payable represents the additional amount requested by the government to convert the use of part of the area into residential units, each to be sold for more than 1.3 million euros which the company pays for the conversion. of the whole area.

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