Court upholds PM’s request and annuls agreement between Lands Department and Gaffarena
The Court has upheld the request by PM Joseph Muscat and annulled the agreement which had been entered into between the Lands Department and Marco Gaffarena by means of which the Government had acquired part of the property which Gafferena had in Old Mint Street. He had paid more than €1.6 million and was given public land in exchange for his property.
The case had led to a lot of controversy and had ended up in Court in a case which the PM opened against Marco Gafferena and his wife Josielle in order to annul the agreement because of a discrepancy which resulted from the estimates after the contract was investigated by the Office of the Auditor General.
The Court, presided over by Judge Anne Felice, ordered that the contract be rescinded and that the assets should be returned to the Government.
The Government welcomed in a statement the Court’s decision with which, it said, the exchange of land for the purchase of the property in Mint Street will be given back to the people. It was pointed out in the statement that the case was instituted by the Prime Minister as a parliamentary member.
The statement added that at that time the Prime Minister was accused of acting in this way so that the case is lost and that this case was a shame. The Government said that the Court’s decision shows that the Prime Minister was right to act and his defence of the people’s property left a concrete result.
In another statement, the Labour Party noted with satisfaction that the Court had upheld the argument made by the Prime Minister. The PL said that the sentence has deflated all the criticism by the Nationalist Party which had spoken out against the court case, which it described it as a ‘game’ because the PM “had filed a court case against himself”.
The PL said that this court case could have been filed by any Member of Parliament, however it was the PM who after the Auditor General’s report, had taken the initiative for the agreement with Mr Gaffarena to be rescinded.
Meanwhile, the court’s decision was interpreted differently by politicians: