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WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT WEDNESDAY EDITION €1.00 Newspaper post PG 9 • Editorial WEDNESDAY • 7 SEPTEMBER 2016 • ISSUE 485 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY Transport minister: 'Why single out James Piscopo?' Transport Minister says there is no conflict for €85,000 Transport Malta chief to have his own private investments firm MATTHEW VELLA TRANSPORT Minister Joe Mizzi has declared he is not against the executive chairperson of Transport Malta, from having his own private investments firm. James Piscopo, who is paid €85,000 for his role as transport regulator, has insisted he has committed nothing untoward in setting up Undecim Five Invest- ments Ltd, a company which also has a 14% stake in another com- pany. While Piscopo oversees one of the largest authorities on the island, which is responsible for multi-million contracts to the private sector for land, maritime and aviation transport contracts, the former Labour Party chief ex- ecutive has dismissed enquiries into his business affairs as a "non- story". And minister Joe Mizzi has also offered his blessing: "James Piscopo has set up a pri- vate, locally incorporated com- pany in a completely transparent manner with all the information publicly available. I am informed, and assured that this company will not be doing any business re- lated to Transport Malta, hence I see no conflict of interest and no reason why Mr Piscopo should be precluded [from opening this business]," Mizzi told MaltaTo- day yesterday when asked. "There was never an issue with chairpersons and/or CEOs hav- ing a parallel, unconnected line of business or professional office setup as long as they can demon- strate they have no conflicting in- terests. I cannot understand why James Piscopo is being singled out," Mizzi said. Malta has no revolving doors rules which prevent public offi- cials in high posts from instantly drifting into private sector em- ployment after their contracts run out. PAGE 6 PA suspends decision on revoking fish farm permits TIM DIACONO PRIME Minister Joseph Mus- cat has hit out at the Planning Authority after it suspended a decision on whether to revoke the permits of fish farms by two weeks. In a tweet suggesting that the PA should have held its ground, Muscat said that the industry had years to address illegalities and relocate their farms further off- shore. "Very disappointed that the Planning Authority failed to de- cide following decisive action by government on fish farms," he said. In contrast, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil welcomed the PA's decision, saying that the onus is now on the fish farm industry to prove it can meet proper environ- mental standards. "Workers must surely be relieved [that the fish farm permits weren't revoked]," he said. At the end of a three-hour board meeting, the Planning Author- ity gave fish farm operators two weeks to reach an agreement with the authorities on how to address the vast illegalities in their farms and to come up with a plan to re- locate the farms further offshore. "If an agreement isn't reached, then the PA will reserve the right to revoke the permits," PA chair- man Vince Cassar warned. The PA board was meeting to decide whether to revoke the per- mits of four tuna farms – two off Marsaxlokk, one of St Paul's Bay, and one off Comino, in the wake of revelations that around half their fish cages were illegal. Two of the farms in question are operated by AJD, one by Fish and Fish, and another by Malta Fish Farming. The fish farm operators – rep- resented by their law yers Ian Re- falo, John Refalo, Franco Vassallo and Pio Valletta – warned that revoking the permits will see fish farm operators lose around €150 million in fish and risk destroy- ing the entire industry. They urged the PA to allow them to harvest their current crop of tuna by early November and relocate their operations in time for next summer's fishing season. PAGE 7 AJD Tuna owner Charles Azzopardi (second from right) was accompanied by his consultant and former PN minister Lawrence Gatt (first from left) and his lawyer Pio Valletta during yesterday's hearing James Piscop (left) with Transport Minister Joe Mizzi

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