Malta’s Planning Ministry has seen and ignored questions sent over concerns that the chairperson of the Building and Construction Agency works as the architect of Joseph Portelli, the controversial mega-developer.
Lovin Malta sent questions to a spokesperson at the Planning Ministry, which falls under Aaron Farrugia, on Monday. The questions were seen and ignored by the spokesperson.
Maria Schembri Grima, who was appointed as the BCA chair in April 2021 by Farrugia, is the architect on many Joe Portelli projects, the most recent being a proposal that looks to demolish the Dolphine Complex in Balzan and replace it with a mixed-use apartment block with around 90 residences.
Portelli has already begun advertising the property even though it is a long way from getting its permit approved.
Schembri Grima has previously worked on many other developments linked to Portelli, including large scale projects at the former Forum Hotel and a huge apartment block overlooking Villa Bologna. However, she insisted to The Shift News that there is no conflict of interest since the role she occupies in the BCA is non-executive.
The BCA has been set up to fix Malta’s construction crisis which has severely weak enforcement and is plagued by countless deaths and injuries. Meanwhile, many remain concerned that the PA continues to act as a rubber stamp for the big shots in the highly lucrative construction industry.
Malta has been promised change time and time again when it comes to the construction crisis. Unfortunately, the Ministry’s silence will raise questions about whether it’s really prepared to address major concerns.
What do you think about the Ministry’s silence?