Activist group “disgusted” by expropriations sham, demands PM’s action
Moviment Graffitti is calling for a full-scale investigation into the expropriation practices carried out by Infrastructure Malta since its creation. Reacting to a story in The Times about unpaid expropriations and other unclear procedures, which have resulted in farmers and landowners not receiving the due compensation, the activist group said that this amounts to “grand theft, sponsored by the state at the expense of its citizens.”
The group said it is “disgusted” at the facts emerging from the media and confirmed its intention to challenge Infrastructure Malta’s land-grabbing in every means possible. The group also called on the Prime Minister to investigate the matter.
“The buck stops with the Prime Minister, who is responsible for his Ministers and CEOs. We believe that after multiple stories about Infrastructure Malta and the doings of entities within and including the Transport Ministry, there should be a formal investigation to establish why these people have not been paid, despite Infrastructure Malta’s repeated pledges that everything is being done by the book.”
The group pointed out how the Dingli saga exposed IM’s practices. The notification in the Government Gazette concerning the commencement of roadworks only appeared on Monday 29th March, a full week after the beginning of Moviment Graffitti’s action. However, after activists questioned IM staff on the existence of clearances, notifications and other official paperwork from the Lands Authority, expropriations were rushed through Lands. The notifications in the Government Gazette only appeared on the 12th April, three weeks after the beginning of the action.
The group also highlighted how Dr Borg and Ing Azzopardi withdrew their first request for a meeting between the two sides, after unilaterally deciding that the expropriation issue on the meeting agenda “had nothing to do” with the Dingli saga. “Now we understand why they weren’t comfortable meeting us outside IM’s offices,” the group added.
“We asked an IM foreman called Clint for these papers, but none were forthcoming. This means that IM was trespassing on private property without having the permission to do so from all landowners. This incident was caught on one of our livestreams; Infrastructure Malta realised they were exposed, and rushed the expropriations through.”
“This story confirms our suspicions about Infrastructure Malta’s practices. While the law establishing Infrastructure Malta clearly states that expropriations are to follow the procedures of the Lands Authority, it appears that many expropriation requests did not reach the Lands Authority at all.
We’ll wait with bated breath for Infrastructure Malta to react. Their excuse that works need to be carried out urgently doesn’t hold water, because expropriations from around 3 years ago are still unpaid even after some works have long since they’ve been completed.
If Infrastructure Malta will blame it on an administrative issue, then it would be interesting to highlight how the same “administrative issues” saw Infrastructure Malta issue €16m in prefinancing to three select contractors, despite tender regulations forbidding them from doing so. It also seems that these administration issues have not hindered the issue of millions upon millions of euro in direct orders to contractors, while farmers and landowners have yet to receive a cent.”
The group also reiterated its appeal to farmers to seek legal assistance and to avoid attending meetings with Infrastructure Malta on their own. “We are aware that, after the last press conference in Dingli, IM staff phoned up several farmers on a Saturday afternoon, asking them to attend a meeting in their premises in Luqa. We do not recommend you attend these meetings without a lawyer, and definitely not to sign anything – particularly under pressure.
Moviment Graffitti also said it is monitoring the situation closely and will decide on further action in the coming days.
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Original article found on Malta Winds