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YOUR FIRST READ AND FIRST CLICK OF THE DAY WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT Newspaper post maltatoday SUNDAY • 2 MARCH 2014 • ISSUE 747 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY €1.20 Download the MaltaToday App now WAYNE MARSHALL What went wrong with V18? PG 3 Premier owners get €4.2 million in amicable 'bailout' FREE COPY OF VIDA INSIDE MATTHEW VELLA A multi-million 'bailout' for the owners of a closed-down cafeteria in the heart of Val- letta was brokered in January 2014, when the government allowed the Lands Department to buy Café Premiere and its lacklustre 'Great Siege 1565' waxworks attraction. The government is saying that its "amica- ble acquisition" was a decision to remove any hazard that the catering establishments in the area could pose to the treasures housed in the Biblioteca, above Pjazza Regina. But taxpayers had to fork out the unprec- edented sum of €4.2 million to pay back the café's outstanding €2.5 million bank loan, their income tax and VAT arrears, energy bills, ground rents and other creditors of the owners of the Café Premier – in a highly controversial decision to buy back a 65-year emphyteusis from the owners. The government is claiming that even if it appropriated the cafeteria forcibly for the protection of the scheduled Biblioteca, it would have had to pay out some form com- pensation. But it has also admitted that the café had ceased operating, and that the owners were negotiating with third parties to sell the business, something that is illegal according to the original emphyteutical deed: indeed, the deed forbade the owners from ceasing operations, something that would have led to a breach of the emphyteutical grant and given the government the right to take back the café. CONTINUES PAGE 7 PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAY ATTARD Lands Department pays off arrears for Valletta's Café Premier on income tax, VAT, energy bills, and an outstanding bank loan, to acquire cafeteria and waxworks attraction The government effectively paid off a private company's debts to take back a 65-year emphyteutical grant, even though it was empowered to take the premises back when the ground rent was not being paid New appointed members of the judiciary will be women SOCIAL Policy Minister Marie Louise Co- leiro Preca has accepted a nomination by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, to be the ninth President of the Republic of Malta. She will be the second female president and the sixth nominee emerging from the Labour Party since Malta became a Republic in 1974. The prime minister was seriously consider- ing one other possible candidate apart from Coleiro Preca: Maria Camilleri, a former backbencher and a well known confidante of the former Labour leader Dom Mintoff. Muscat had decided on Coleiro Preca back in December of last year. Coleiro Preca was initially reluctant to resign from her post as Social Policy Min- ister. Many of her political canvassers have expressed dismay at the decision. MIRIAM DALLI TWO women will be appointed judge and magistrate respectively, MaltaToday can re- veal. The appointments are set to take place "imminently". Sources close to the government confirmed that Parliamentary Secretary for J u s - tice Owen Bonnici has nomi- nated Magistrate Edwina Grima to become judge and that of lawyer Joanne Vella Cuschieri to join the judiciary as a magistrate. Grima, 44, was ap- pointed magistrate in 2007. Sources said govern- ment looked at Grima as "a model member of the judiciary". Grima faced some tough criminal cases as magistrate, out- shining many of her colleagues for her objec- tive, calm but clinical decisions. Vella Cuschieri, 36 and a mother of two, is a partner in law firm MBVC Advocates and forms part of the General Workers Union le- gal team. Vella Cuschieri contested the 2013 general elections on a Labour ticket. It is understood that both Grima and Vella Cuschieri have ac- cepted the appointments. Sources said the appoint- ment of the two women was "in line" with the Prime Min- ister's aspiration to lead "the most feminist gov- ernment the country has ever seen". One a former Labour party candidate, the other a 'model member' for the judiciary Magistrate Edwina Grima and lawyer Joanna Vella Cuschieiri CONTINUES ON PAGE 4 Take a walk on the Brightside Spring's bold colours Undiscovered Thailand The unspoilt island of Koh Lipe CONTINUES ON PAGE 4 Coleiro Preca accepts nomination for President

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