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2 NEWS maltatoday | TUESDAY • 22 MARCH 2022 2 NEWS Nicole Meilak's election week Dementia patients taken to vote TV host Peppi Azzopardi was first to complain that his elderly mother, who suffers from dementia had been taken to a polling booth to vote during the week's early voting session without the family's con- sent. Many others reported similar cases, indicating a glaring problem in the way elderly patients tend to be escorted en masse out of their wards to vote. However, one SVDP staff member insisted that without a court application for their incapacitation any SVDP patient would have had their voting doc- ument issued, entitling them to the right to vote. PN wants prison vote recount THE Nationalist Party wants the voting process in prison for the general election to be cancelled and repeated again after ineligible prisoners were al- lowed to vote. PN secretary-general Michael Pic- cinino wrote a letter to the Electoral Commission saying that the voting process at the Corradino Correctional Facility was vitiated by serious short- comings, with the 180 prisoners who were eligible to vote included tens of inmates who were legall dis- qualified from voting. In light of this, the PN said that the voting process that took place on Saturday at the CCF should be annulled and repeated. Turn out for what? DATA obtained by MaltaToday shows that 12% of eligible voters in the 12th District had not received or collected their voting document by Sunday, when the distribution at locality level came to an end. This district includes the large locality of St Paul's Bay, where voter turnout is historically low. In this dis- trict, 3,398 voting documents from 28,243 remained uncollected. The 13th District, Gozo, had the sec- ond highest share of uncollected voting documents with 11%. There were 3,310 voting documents that remained uncollected from 30,902. Rain cheque ROBERT Abela defended sending out stimulus and tax relief cheques two weeks before election day. During an interview on Xtra, Abela said that the €100 and €200 cheques served as a safety net against inflation, fending off rising prices from sup- ply shortages and the spill-over effects of the war in Ukraine. The prime minister also insisted that government will have to keep energy prices stable in order to promote economic growth. Watch the full interview below. With or without you ROBERT Arrigo suffered a brief slip-up during the Nationalist Party's event on Monday evening. As he gestured to the large posters along the par- ty's tent, he accidentally misread the PN's election slogan "Miegħek" (a singular "With you") and said "Magħkom" (a plural version). He quickly recov- ered, stating "Kont magħkom, qiegħed magħkom, u ħa nerġa nkun magħkom" (I was with you all, I am with you all, and I will again be with you all). What's happening today? THE Labour Party starts off with a 10am rally in Valletta. Robert Abela will then head to Raħal Ġdid at 6:30pm for a conversation event, and will then move to Gianpula at 8pm for another rally. The Na- tionalist Party will be holding their own mass rally in Rabat, Gozo at 6pm. Send us your alerts on or WhatsApp 79006845 NICOLE MEILAK NATIONALIST leader Ber- nard Grech said Robert Abela's Żejtun villa is actually worth millions, despite the prime min- ister purchasing it for €600,000. During a political activity on Monday evening Grech claimed that Abela secured the bargain price tag before the vil- la was sanctioned by the Plan- ning Authority. He suggested that the price reflected the le- gal shortcomings of the villa, and not the regularised altera- tions. "Abela forced the owner to sell him the villa at a price that re- flected the shortcomings. When the property was bought, there were no illegalities. The value of the villa isn't €600,000 but much, much more," he said. The villa spans 2,200 square metres, with unauthorised works having been carried out before 1994. The works were eventually regularised by the PA's planning commission in 2017. The illegal extensions had dou- bled the size of the farmhouse to 352sq.m, when such ODZ (out- side development zone) build- ings could only be extended up to a maximum 200sq.m floor area. On Sunday Grech challenged Abela to publish the architect's valuation of the Żejtun villa. If the contract price for the villa was undervalued, Abela would have paid less tax on the pur- chase. "I challenged Abela to publish the report that was presented to the Commissioner for Revenue. He is yet to publish anything 24 hours later." Grech then acknowledged media reports from Monday af- ternoon indicating that Robert Abela made no mention of rent earned by lending his Żejtun vil- la address to two Russian pass- port applicats. Abela's firm was previously an accredited agent for the Individual Investor Pro- gramme, Malta's scheme for the sale of passports to the global elite. Robert Abela confirmed last week that he rented out his Że- jtun villa to a prospective pass- port buyer from Russia. He stat- ed that the rental agreement was signed before he became Prime Minister, but could not specify when the contract was terminat- ed. Abela is not legally required to declare such rental income if the contract was originally declared with the tax authorities and if he paid a 15% tax on all the income made. "This is why Robert Abela doesn't have any tax certifica- tion," Grech said. Abela's villa is worth millions, Bernard Grech insists

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