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Ara kopja tal-kuntratt bejn Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando u Dominic Micallef dwar il-kiri tal-art fil-Mistra.

 

Government officials and planning board members who approved the controversial Mistra development have told police investigating the case that Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando had urged them to “keep an eye” on and facilitate the application process. In a police statement seen by The Sunday Times, Dr Pullicino Orlando is said to have started calling about the application a few months before it was approved, on behalf of someone called Dominic. This individual has now been identified as the man to whom Dr Pullicino Orlando was leasing the land in question and who in turn rented the land to Ian Sultana, who filed the application for the development. The dentist, who had won favour among the PN's top echelons for his standing within the environmental lobby, became embroiled in an explosive controversy during the election campaign after Labour revealed that a discotheque was likely to be developed on ecologically sensitive land that belonged to him. When asked by the police, the person who made the statement said he was unaware at the time that the land actually belonged to Dr Pullicino Orlando and thought he was simply representing a constituent. This version of events contradicts the claim made by Dr Pullicino Orlando that he had not been involved in any way and that he was not aware of the details of the case. The statements not only suggest that he knew the case well but that he had pursued the matter directly with the Mepa board - the same board that resigned recently after being lambasted by the audit officer for issuing the supermarket permit in Safi - which approved the outline permit against the expressed recommendation of the case officer. When contacted yesterday Dr Pullicino Orlando insisted that he had done nothing wrong. He did not confirm or deny the information in the statements, saying that “he had made any comments he had to make on this case”. “I assure you that I did nothing wrong, rest assured,” he continued. When pressed to confirm or deny what had been said in the statements about him, Dr Pullicino Orlando said he did not want the situation to spill into the press because it would be unfair on him. “I'll say it again, you'll see, when we have the outcome... that I never did anything wrong. Had I done something wrong I wouldn't have chased Alfred Sant and challenged him to face me with his accusations. I'm not mad.” Perceived as one of the most promising candidates, Dr Pullicino Orlando was excluded from the new Cabinet appointed by Lawrence Gonzi, who said last Tuesday that he did not want to have a minister under investigation. Dr Pullicino Orlando said he understood the Prime Minister's position. One of the people who made a statement to the police and who spoke on condition of anonymity said the phone calls and messages from the MP started at the end of the summer and carried on “incessantly” over a number of months, until about October, just before the board approved the development. The outline permit paved the way for the full development application - which has now been retracted - for an open air discotheque over some 2,000m2 of land, which is a candidate Natura 2000 site on account of its ecological sensitivity. In Mepa's Development Planning Application report on the case, the authority's executive committee is said to have directed the board processing the case to consider that the area is “outside development zone and (that) the project is not justified in such an area”. Similarly, the case officer recommended refusal on the basis of the area's ecological value and the fact that there was “no justification for the development as required by the Structure Plan”. The turning point in the way the application was approved, and this is something which is being probed by the police investigation, appears to have been the favourable recommendations given by the Malta Tourism Authority and the idea that the project fitted into a strategic plan which the authority was developing for the entire area.

The Sunday Times 16.3.2008

 

 

MaltaToday is reliably informed that the Nationalist Party had realised just two days before the close of the election campaign that Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando had lied when he had stated that he had known nothing about the proposed development of a discotheque in Mistra. PN officials told this newspaper they were petrified at the prospect of the Labour party spilling the beans about the entire episode in good time to build a media campaign before the end of the campaign. As soon they realised what had happened, they kept the self-styled ‘environmentalist’ politician out of the loop. Thankfully for the PN campaign, Alfred Sant revealed the private contract, signed by Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and the lessee of his land in Mistra, which contained the reference to the development of the disco, only Thursday night during a debate between the two leaders. Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi emerged from the debate unscathed, as Sant’s fleeting reference to the contract, which he momentarily waved to the camera, had not been emphasised enough by the Opposition leader. On the day of the broadcast on TVM, the mass meetings for both Labour and the PN at Luxol and Floriana were taking place. But the timing was such that the deeply embarrassing revelation, which effectively outed Pullicino Orlando as having lied about his ignorance of the disco development in Mistra, could not be reported the next day by the press due to the silent day of reflection. Most PN leaning voters could not have known about this revelation, which might explain why Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando was elected from two districts, a massive sympathy vote from PN grassroots voters.

MaltaToday 12.3.2008

 

 

Although he was elected from two districts, his own party leaders feel that Jeffrey Pullicino-Orlando should resign. “His position is ethically untenable and he should resign,” said party leaders who spoke to this paper last week. Dr Pullicino-Orlando came to notoriety in the last week of the election campaign when Labour leader Alfred Sant claimed that he had just been given the go-ahead – by a DCC board that then resigned over an unrelated issue – to turn land owned by him in Mistra valley into an open-air discotheque. Dr Pullicino-Orlando spent the better part of two days running after Dr Sant to confront him and even gate-crashed a Broadcasting Authority press conference, thanks to being accepted by the PN as a “journalist”. He first said he knew nothing about the application but then successive revelations by Labour showed that he did know what was going on and that he himself had signed some legal papers. Dr Gonzi has ordered an investigation into how the permit was issued and last week he ruled out making Dr Pullicino-Orlando a minister, pending the outcome of the investigation. But what irks the party leaders was the fact that Dr Pullicino-Orlando gave incorrect information to his own prime minister and party leader, when not having the right information could be – and, as it turned out, was – very damaging in the hot days of the pre-election debates. Still unconfirmed rumours say that when Dr Gonzi came out of the last day debate with Dr Sant, he sent for Dr Pullicino-Orlando and told him that if the PN lost the election, the blame was his. At which, also reportedly, Dr Pullicino Orlando became ill.

The Malta Independent on Sunday 16.3.2008

 

 

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando m’ghandux triq ohra hlief li jirrizenja minn Membru Parlamentari.  Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando zvija ‘l-pubbliku meta kien konxju tal-fatti u nvolut sew fl-affari.

Carmel Cacopardo (Alternattiva Demokratika) Stqarrija 18.3.2008

 

 

Left-wing organisation Zminijietna said yesterday that Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando should resign from Parliament following the publication of the auditor's report on the Mistra issue. The organisation was making reference to the controversial proposal to develop a nightclub at Mistra, built on land owned by the Nationalist MP. In a statement, Zminijietna also said decision-making processes at the Malta Environment and Planning Authority required profound change so that certain proposed developments should be immediately refused.

The Sunday Times 23.3.2008

 

 

Ever since the Labour Party revealed - in the strategically mistaken form of a striptease show - the application to build a huge disco on scenic land owned by the Nationalist MP, Dr Pullicino Orlando's hitherto enviable repu-tation as a green and upstanding politician has been eroded by the day. The electorate now has good reason to think that he was - at best - playing with words when he said that he neither knew the applicant, nor the details of the project. And it has good reason to wonder how much further the case will go, since a police investigation is underway. Dr Pullicino Orlando has not helped himself. Gone is his desire to co-operate with - never mind form part of - the media, as he did when he sought to get his retaliation in first. In its place is a reluctance to comment, in the face of mounting accusations, until that investigation is concluded. The inconsistency in this is that the issue of whether he knew about the development does not form part of the investigation; that is dealing with the question of whether he played a part in influencing the decision by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority. So he has every reason to answer the media's legitimate questions about the former at this stage. If he is unable to address these satisfactorily, then he needs to reflect hard on whether he has, as Parliament's code of ethics states, conducted “himself in a manner which reflects the status and dignity of the House...” And if he has not, then no criminal element is required to make resignation the only honourable option.

Editorjal, The Sunday Times 23.3.2008

 

 

The Times 25.3.2008

The following is Mr (George) Micallef's full statement followed by the full statement issued by Dr Pullicino Orlando later yesterday:

 

I feel compelled to issue this statement in view of the extensive media coverage concerning my involvement in the Mistra case application. This coverage is at times misleading, at others incorrect and occasionally unfavourably biased in my regard. It is felt that the stress of the reportage should be elsewhere. The sole intention of this statement is to give a true and chronological order of events. It is not my intention to enter into futile polemics - or to implicate others who, like me, were caught up in the matter - but only that the truth is publicly known so that justice is done. This media statement is in line with my declarations to the police authorities.

 

I have been active in the tourism industry since 1976 and acting as a consultant on tourism matters since 1990.

 

In early 2006, I had received a phone call from the Honourable Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando (JPO) who had been introduced to me some time before. He informed me that a close friend of his was applying to develop an entertainment facility in Mistra and that he required a report regarding its compliance to current tourism policies. JPO did not divulge to me that he was the owner of the property. I met the applicant and his architect who forwarded me information on the proposed project covering around two tumoli. In May 2006, I (through my company Insite Consultants Ltd) presented a report to the applicant referring to the then various applicable tourism policies and other relevant recreational policies, to demonstrate that the proposed project was compliant with current tourism policies. The report did not in anyway make reference to the environmental impact. That was not required of such a submission.

 

In the report I declared that I was at the time a consultant with the then Minister for Tourism - not with the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA). I had acted in such a capacity with other previous ministers since 1996. The report also stated that the developer was submitting it to MTA for its endorsement. Subsequently, I invoiced the applicant for the report and my professional relationship with the applicant ended there. Thereafter I did not in any way act as a consultant to the applicant.

 

Recently, it came to my knowledge that MTA had already approved the project for the applicant before he had even sought my services through JPO. This MTA approval had been issued in November 2005, through an issue of a tourism policy compliance certificate (TPCC). In fact, this information was not included in my statement to the police, as I was not even aware of it at the time. The MTA issues a TPCC for Mepa purposes in accordance with a procedure which has been established between the two agencies since 2000. A TPCC is considered by Mepa as a limited approval by the MTA insofar as the proposed development is compliant with the tourism policies and conditions of the operating licence which is eventually issued by the MTA.

 

In June 2007 - over a year after I prepared the report for the applicant - I was appointed as a special consultant to the Malta Tourism Authority.

 

It has been reported (The Times, March 20, 2008) that MTA & Spin Valley Shared Same Consultant. This is incorrect. I was a consultant to the Spin Valley project and then this consultation ended. It was only subsequent that I was appointed consultant to the MTA. This factual state does not constitute 'sharing' which must be a simultaneous and contemporaneous event.

 

Sometime in the summer of 2007, I received calls from JPO and a high Mepa/ministry official in respect of an application which the MTA had pending with Mepa concerning the rehabilitation of Mistra Bay. The conversation revolved around the MTA's preparedness to establish an alliance with property owners in Mistra to support the management of the bay as the MTA had done in other areas (such as that in Buġibba, and St George's Bay.). I replied that we had already held discussions with another establishment in Mistra to this effect, in the event that the beach rehabilitation takes place. The MTA was prepared to cooperate with whoever had an interest in the area.

 

I then received another call from JPO who asked me to attend a meeting at Mepa to discuss this issue further. I was reluctant to attend, so I advised the MP that I was unable to attend. JPO requested that we meet on another day but I replied that I could not make it because of another meeting I had scheduled at Mepa on another subject. On that day, as soon as I finished my meeting at Mepa, I was collared there by JPO and the high ranking Mepa/ministry official. I was requested to attend in an office nearby to discuss the matter. It was a brief meeting in the presence of JPO and two other individuals who I assumed to be Mepa officials, as the persons were not known by me or introduced to me. The brief conversation revolved around how the MTA could support the Mistra application and about the MTA's pending application concerning the Mistra Bay rehabilitation. The informal meeting lasted some 10 minutes. During the recent police investigation I learnt that these two officials were, in fact, the then chairman and a member of the DCC board.

 

Pressure started mounting through repeated communications especially from JPO. Within a few days from the 'chance' meeting on the Mepa premises, I received a call from the Mepa/ministry official requesting that the MTA write a detailed report to substantiate its support to the application. He also requested that the MTA should convert the outline application it had for the Mistra Bay rehabilitation to a full application so that Mepa could proceed with the processing of this application. I expressed my surprise to this as the MTA's attempts to move this application had remained unanswered for around a year. Furthermore, we normally await the outcome of the outline development application before we proceed with a full permit application. Nevertheless, the official suggested that we comply in order that the MTA application for the Mistra Bay starts moving.

 

During the call he also stated that this report was urgently needed as there was an internal Mepa meeting set within a matter of days. I am not aware if he was referring to a DCC board meeting. I insisted that he should make this request in writing to the MTA. Subsequently, I received various communications from JPO asking me to expedite the process of converting the MTA Mistra Bay application from outline to full.

 

A full development application was then eventually submitted by the MTA some time in January 2008.

 

On Friday, September 28, 2007, the Product Development Directorate of the MTA received a letter from Mepa requesting that it provides additional information and recommendations regarding the application for the entertainment facility as submitted by the developer DJRL Limited and also to give an update on the Mistra Bay rehabilitation application by the MTA. In response to a call I received from JPO on the matter, I advised him that I and the director of the Product Planning Directorate, who were the only two persons that could prepare the report, were scheduled to go abroad on the following Sunday, that is, in the next two days, and that there was not enough time to prepare it. However, on the insistence of JPO and the previous call by the ministry/Mepa official referred to above, I complied and prepared the report as there was no way that the MTA director could do so in time before we left the country. Consequently, I advised the MTA Product Planning director that, in the circumstances I would prepare the report as I had previous knowledge on the project.

 

I must point out that when I had given the report in May 2006 to the developer I had instructed him (as also stated in the said report) that a copy of my report be given to the MTA. As Mepa was evidently processing this application, then necessarily Mepa must have prior received the TPCC certificate from the MTA. I then assumed that my May 2006 report lodged with the MTA was available when the said certificate had been issued and that this certificate was issued after the submission of the said report. So, in the September 2007, it was a matter of writing a report to explain how this project was compliant with tourism policies.

 

Consequently, I prepared a four-and-a-half-page report in the name of the MTA. In doing so I drew upon the report I had prepared in 2006 for the applicant as the tourism policies referred to then were one and the same. I also adjourned the report to any interim revised policies. I wrote the report with the knowledge that my previous report submitted by the applicant formed part of the MTA's documents.

 

This explains why the MTA report included technical parts lifted from the previous report prepared by me for the applicant. This report was prepared on Saturday, September 29, 2007 and then e-mailed to the secretary and the MTA director of Product Development in order that it be sent in the name of the director as in my role as a consultant it was the practice that I do not sign official documents.

 

I stress that the report drafted for the MTA did not contain a single sentence or argument which was not inconsistent with current tourism policies; effectively, it only substantiated the approval which had already been given by the MTA before any involvement on my part. The auditor's report contains comments which reflect the auditor's personal viewpoint.

 

The MTA report has been described as 'very long': This is a relative and subjective term. The MTA report was a response to Mepa's request. Under the circumstances the above said length of pages is not deemed to be long: It is the required response. The auditor's report states that the MTA report is 'biased'. Again, this is an assertion which, however, has not been in any manner substantiated - nor indeed can it be. The MTA policies, as applied to the proposed project, have all been correctly and properly referred to. Any use of the word 'bias' must be followed by irrefutable demonstration of conflicts between the MTA policy and the application.

 

One can also add for information purposes that, from previous experience, Mepa gives only relative importance to reports issued by the MTA. Perhaps the best example is that concerning all the designation of tourism zones within the local plans which went diametrically opposite that recommended by the MTA.

 

It is important to state that my report for the MTA purposely did not make any reference to the environmental impact as it is not within the MTA's remit or competence to do so. This is as per established procedures between Mepa and the MTA.

 

The MTA has always limited its comments from the tourism point of view - and solely so - and does not take into account any other relevant considerations or studies - such as potential environmental impact; and/or irrespective as to whether the proposed development is within scheme or within outside development zones. In fact, in previous cases Mepa determined its decisions irrespectively as to whether the MTA gave its seal of approval or not. To mention a recent example, Mepa determined against the Ta' Ċenċ application (which also was within an outside development zone) though it had an MTA approval. Even when the NTOM and the MTA made a case in favour of the Rabat golf course application arguing that it was in the national interest to have a golf course, Mepa processed the application on environmental grounds and refused it.

 

It is also felt that the MTA's report referred to above of September 28, 2007, which was issued in response to Mepa's request, should have had no real bearing on the decision taken by the DCC board; it merely substantiated the MTA's approval issued in November 2005 from the tourism point of view. In fact, the Mepa's auditor report is very explicit in this regard and while the auditor makes various references as to why the DCC should have refused it, he goes as far as to state that 'the DCC had ample information to judge the irrelevance of the MTA report... as the proposed development was unacceptable in principle, irrespective of any positive implications it may have had'. In this regard the auditor also states: '... the DCC board was solely responsible for this gross irregularity in the approval of this application'.

 

The consultation process between Mepa and the MTA on such matters is conducted directly between the relevant Planning Directorate of Mepa and the Product Development Directorate of the MTA and, consequently, it is not the practice that such an MTA report is referred to the chairman, or any board member. It is felt that Mepa's request for additional information was unusual. It is clear that the MTA's role with Mepa has been fully honoured. Any responsibility I have is towards the MTA. On the basis of the above, I discussed this matter with the MTA's chairman on Monday, March 17, 2008, which was the earliest possible date since he was away from the island and since the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism had not yet been appointed. I then offered (not 'tendered') my resignation to the MTA chairman and now await a reply from the MTA, hopefully after an internal inquiry is held, in which all the facts are established and my comments duly heard. In view of this statement and also as here above stated, the undersigned will not be available for any further comments to press/media. I reserve all my rights against the author/s and the media for any illegal damage to my reputation.

 

 

In the past week Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has continued to wade into the political equivalent of the Big Muddy. If he was waist deep last March, he is up to his neck now that people have had time to reflect. The more he talks, the more he risks drowning. … Dr Pullicino Orlando has insisted throughout the past week - he unwisely took part in two television programmes - that he will not resign as an MP. But in the light of Dr Gonzi's statement, there is little point in him remaining.

Editorjal, the Sunday Times 22.6.2008

 

 

This past week the country has been shocked to the core to see with its own eyes the fragility on which its government stands: the fragility of one single MP who is hugely in denial – Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando. One does not have to be a psychologist or psychiatrist to realise that, going by his appearances on Bondi+ and Vici-Versa, Dr Pullicino Orlando is still hugely in denial, so far disconnected from the reality as he himself describes it as to constitute a danger to himself, let alone to the government he upholds. This is immediately evident even from the article he sent in last week and which appeared on this paper last Sunday, as well as from his two television appearances. There is simply no dialogue possible with him: all he kept uttering was diatribe after diatribe against Alfred Sant; he insisted on speaking in turn and out of turn and he tried many times to shut out all those who saw things differently from him – all clear psychological markers. What he seems to strongly believe is that, just because he was not included in the list of people to be investigated further, following the advice of the Attorney General, this is a sure signal that he has been totally exonerated of all guilt, not just criminal but also political. Last week he spent thousands of words, both in writing and on television, yet for all those words his cause became less and less clear and his contradictions became more and more complicated. He went on and on about how he was “misunderstood” or how his words had been twisted when he said he did not know who the applicant for the Mistra development was but, once that is clarified, the issue is still barely scratched. For the point is not whether or not he knew who the applicant was, but rather the following questions: Does he or does he not stand to gain from the development of the land in question, to the tune of e1.9 million over 15 years and e2.25 million after that? Can he really argue that he spoke to the Mepa liaison officer on behalf of “his” development just as he spoke to him about his constituents’ applications? Then there is the little matter of the contract which he now admits he revealed to Dr Gonzi on the Thursday before the election. To refresh his memory: Dr Gonzi first learned of this document when faced by it in the last TV debate before the election. Dr Pullicino Orlando confirmed its existence at a meeting to which he was called by Dr Gonzi immediately after the debate. One can still see how shocked Dr Gonzi was from the tapes of the last mass meeting, when he must have concluded he and his party had lost. Can Dr Pullicino Orlando now say he had informed his party leader about all his involvement right from the beginning of the saga or did he keep crucial details from him and thus allowed his party leader to be hammered by his opponent in such a crucial debate? By admitting, though willy-nilly, that the land belongs to him and that an application to develop it has been lodged, the former Green Politician loses his green credentials. He is no worse than so many other developers and/or speculators who buy up land in ODZ and then somehow manage to find ways to pressure Mepa to allow them this one-off development. He has been saved so far (though there is a libel case on this issue) by Alfred Sant’s axe rather than rapier method of claiming this was a clear case of corruption and money must have changed hands. This may prove impossible to prove and anyway it does not grasp the essentials of the case. The other Alfred Sant mistake was in his running away from confrontation with Dr Pullicino Orlando when any confrontation, given the right parameters, would have proved Dr Pullicino Orlando guilty. That propelled Dr Pullicino Orlando to a notoriety on the eve of the election, turned him into a hero and as the focus of all those whose aversion to Alfred Sant proved to be the leitmotif of the election. No wonder that Joe Saliba, the very man who had accompanied Dr Pullicino Orlando to the Alfred Sant press conference that was aborted and who most probably provided him with a party press accreditation, now says that, were it himself, he would resign. No wonder Dr Gonzi, appearing more and more uneasy whenever the subject is brought up, rejects any thought of appointing JPO to Cabinet now or in the mid-term reshuffle. It is salutary for government to understand the implications: there goes, anytime JPO passes by, the government’s fragile, too fragile, majority: a man clearly in denial, a man of whom no one really has any way of knowing when and in what direction he may eventually snap.

Editorjal, The Malta Independent on Sunday 22.6.2008

 

 

I wish to put on public record the very words I spoke under oath in court: that I will regret until my dying day my decision to vote for Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, a man I have come to think of as a blackguard, and to give him so much succour and support, to the detriment at times of my peace of mind, in the first year after the general election of 2008.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, by di-ve.com - [email protected]

Politics -- 19 June 2012 -- 06:50CEST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karikatura li dehret f'The Sunday Times tal-Hadd 23 ta' Marzu 2008 li turi li Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando m'ghandux ghazla hlief li jirrizenja.

 

 

 

 

Stharrig ta' The Times (24 ta' Marzu 2008) tal-opinjoni pubblika dwar x'ghandu jaghmel Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karikatura li dehret f'The Sunday Times tad-29 ta' Gunju 2008

 

 

 

 

Karikatura li dehret f'The Sunday Times tad-29 ta' Gunju 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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