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MT 26 january 2014

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€1.20 maltatoday YOUR FIRST READ AND FIRST CLICK OF THE DAY WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT MARLENE FARRUGIA INTERVIEW PGS 12-13 SUNDAY • 26 JANUARY 2014 • ISSUE 742 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY REVEALED Police probe launched into massive deletion of enforcement data on planning abuses on server of Malta Environment and Planning Authority Over 1,200 MEPA enforcement orders deleted from server THE Commissioner of Police Peter Paul Zammit is leading a massive security probe at the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, after over 1,200 records on enforcement orders were deleted from a computer server. The deletions were said to have taken place before the 8 March, 2013 general elections, suggesting – although there is no smoking gun – a political overtone to the security breach. MEPA officials only noticed the deletions after a discrepancy in annual revenues related to the payment of fines cropped up at the end of the year. It is estimated that MEPA may have lost hundreds of thousands in euros in the collection of fines related to enforcements. Of more concern in the long term is that potential property buyers may have been misled when purchasing property, if they purchased homes that were previously under an enforcement order. Normally such properties would face severe devaluation on their sale value, or not sell at all. In a letter to the Commissioner of Police dated 10 January, 2014, MEPA chief executive Johann Buttigieg said that the deletion of the enforcement orders took place before March Download the MaltaToday App now 2013. "The public in general may been misled when checking our system for any enforcement action, and properties may have been bought with the knowledge that the site may have been subjected to enforcement action. This is seen as a very serious offence, to which only a few limited persons may have deleted such records." Though the police have not reached any conclusions, a line of investigation they are pursuing is that the deletions of all enforcement records were spurred by an interested party, who could have bribed an employee to delete specific enforcements from the MEPA server. The deletion of the enforcements would have allowed them to facilitate a potential sale of various properties. In the process, the perpetrators who deleted the files deleted other unrelated enforcement orders, to make it difficult to trace the culprit. In his letter to the police, MEPA chief Johann Buttigieg asked the police to investigate the case "with utmost urgency and confidentiality", saying the serious offence could have only been committed by a small group of employees. Pride killed IIP consensus, Labour MP JURGEN BALZAN GOVERNMENT should have sought consensus on its citizenship sale from the very start, Labour MP Marlene Farrugia yesterday said on Radju Malta. Farrugia – interviewed on page 1213 – yesterday accused both government and the Opposition should have put their pride aside and reached a bipartisan agreement on the controversial Individual Investor Programme. On Monday evening, before MPs discussed the European Parliament's resolution which called on Malta to amend its citizenship-by-investment scheme, Farrugia told journalists that "government should reconsider its position." Speaking on Radju Malta, Farrugia clarified a number of comments she posted on her own Facebook page in the aftermath of the tense parliamentary debate, which gave much fodder to the Nationalist Party and its media organs. Writing on Facebook, Farrugia – whose partner Godfrey Farrugia is health minister – said" "We all agree that the investment scheme of this kind could have been conceived without ridiculing the country." Asked to clarify her comments, the MP said: "What I meant to say is that if the scheme can be amended to remove the perception that it is a scheme which sells passports, let's do it in order to avoid this negative criticism." "Had we sought consensus from the scheme's very conception, we would have avoided all the problems that were created." CONTINUES PAGE 4 Tourism minister set for collision with MTA chairman Joseph Formosa Gauci Labour, enjoying both the trust of the industry as well as that of Karmenu Karmenu Vella Vella, who before his appointment as a minister was a chairman for the Orange travel group. But a story appearing in l-Orizzont forced Vella to take Formosa Gauci's side: according to the GWU daily, Formosa Gauci Gavin Gulia pocketed a total of €23,000 in allowances since 2008, on top of his €66,000 salary, for not availing himself of a chauf- feur-driven car provided by the State. The newspaper claimed Formosa Gauci was not driving his personal car but still using a government vehicle. But Vella defended Formosa Gauci publicly, saying the CEO was using a car belonging to the MTA's car pool which is even shared with the minister himself, and said that Formosa Gauci had not abused of state allowances. "You can have people paid €100,000 who are worth every cent, or someone paid €20,000 who is not worth the money," Vella told the press last week. CONTINUES ON PAGE 15 Newspaper post THERE is tension amongst government's tourism chiefs, after a leak to the General Workers' Union daily newspaper sparked a series of recriminations and revealed an internal conflict between the tourism ministry and the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA). Tourism minister Karmenu Vella is set for a head-on collision with former MP, now chairman of the MTA, Gavin Gulia, over a series of concerted attacks in the press on MTA chief executive Josef Formosa Gauci, MaltaToday understands. Formosa Gauci was appointed by the former administration and retained by

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