MaltaToday, 16 April 2008 | MLP accuses government of being ‘anti-national’


NEWS | Wednesday, 16 April 2008

MLP accuses government of being ‘anti-national’

Labour yesterday demanded an explanation from the government over why the Qawra land previously owned by Maltacom plc (now Go) had not been returned to the State in line with an understanding reached when Go was sold to Dubai’s Tecom.
The land was the property of the part-private telecommunications company Maltacom. An issue arose after its privatisation to Tecom of whether the land had been included or not in the price.
Labour said it had noted comments by Go chairman Sonny Portelli during the company’s annual general meeting last Friday, that there was “no issue” over the site with the government because the land was company property and would be used when the company felt appropriate.
Labour said the site, the size of two football pitches, was worth between €23 million and €35 million.
The party said the government was expected to present a resolution in the House by November 2006 transferring to Go the title over land occupied by a number of telephone exchanges, while the company was to transfer the Qawra site to the government.
“According to the agreement, the land should have been returned to the public, but nothing has happened. The Nationalist government has to carry its responsibility for not having presented the resolution yet, despite Minister Austin Gatt promising that an agreement existed to have the land returned to the government.”
The MLP said it “condemned the politics of deception, secrecy and total silence of the way Lawrence Gonzi’s government has acted on the issue of the land in Qawra.”
The party accused the government of being “anti-national” for not being decisive over taking back the land from the company.
“The government is not taking any action on safeguarding the national interest, and now we have a declaration from a private company which is making its plans clear to use the land at the opportune moment.”
The party called on the government to explain why it had denied itself the right to a written agreement that would have ensured that the Qawra land stayed public. “It’s not the first time the Nationalist government ignores the national interest during a privatization process. When it sold the Mid Med Bank, the government replied to questions concerning the price at which the bank was sold that Lm10 million ‘here or there’ made no difference.”
Labour said it would be strongly insisting that the land in Qawra be returned to the government.

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