NEWS | Sunday, 20 February 2008
Ministry accuses Cacopardo of defending abuse
The Environment Ministry yesterday accused AD candidate Carmel Cacopardo of defending the “inconclusive” report on the siting of the Sant Antnin waste management plant, authored by Cacopardo himself, against the Ombudsman’s advice.
The ministry accused the former MEPA investigative officer of being unethical for publishing the report which was in his possession due to his previous role in the MEPA auditor’s office.
“Cacopardo is not saying, once again, that the siting of the plant was according to law and that this was confirmed by the European Commission,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said MEPA auditor Joe Falzon had deplored his intention to publish the report because it had not yet been concluded, and was still under revision. Falzon has stated he had not concluded the report on advice of the Ombudsman, who was of the opinion that until the application for the siting of the plant is cleared by the MEPA appeals board, the report should not be considered final.
“If anything, this argument confirms that Cacopardo should not have published the report unless he wanted to gain personal political advantage. He himself confirmed that court procedures are still ongoing, and this was precisely why the Ombudsman stopped the auditor from publishing the report,” the ministry said.
The ministry also said that Alternattiva Demokratika had been in agreement with the 2001 national strategy on waste management which recommended Sant Antnin for the collection of all the waste in Malta and Gozo.
It said AD’s manifesto for the 2003 general election had also specified that the Sant Antnin waste recycling plant should be modernised, if it was to be ready to take up the Malta’s waste problem.
“AD has not yet justified its change of position on this issue. It is legitimate to suspect that this is nothing but political opportunism from AD and Cacopardo, who is an AD candidate. Cacopardo himself said that it was unlikely that ‘any substantially different decision could have been arrived at, relative to the Sant’ Antnin Project’,” the ministry said, quoting Cacopardo himself.
The ministry said that all studies were carried out in accordance to the project’s terms of reference which were drawn up for the Environment Impact Assessment during the consultation period on the project.