PA chair­man had no say in de­ci­sion to fly in board mem­ber on pri­vate jet

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Al­bert Galea

The chair­man of the Plan­ning Author­ity board, Vince Cas­sar, had no say in the de­ci­sion to fly in board mem­ber Jac­que­line Gili by pri­vate jet for the vote on the db Group project last month.

PA ex­ec­u­tive chair­per­son Jo­hann But­tigieg said on TVM’s Xtra, ear­lier this week, that Cas­sar had been in­formed about the de­ci­sion and that he had raised no ob­jec­tion to it.

In re­ply to ques­tions sent by The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Cas­sar’s in­volve­ment in the de­ci­sion, a spokesper­son for the PA said that Cas­sar had been in­formed of the de­ci­sion, which was taken by But­tigieg, and that since the de­ci­sion had al­ready been taken, he had cho­sen not to com­ment on it.

The spokesper­son said that the de­ci­sion had been taken by But­tigieg to en­sure that the full com­ple­ment of the board was present for the vote.

Cas­sar later spoke out against the de­ci­sion to fly Gili in for the vote, a trip which cost the PA.

€8,750, say­ing that it was “un­prece­dented” that a board mem­ber was flown in pur­posely in such a man­ner.

The de­ci­sion to hire a pri­vate jet to fly Gili into the coun­try from a fam­ily hol­i­day in Si­cily at such an ex­pense pro­duced an outcry, with Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat criticising the de­ci­sion and Op­po­si­tion leader Adrian Delia call­ing for an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into the mat­ter.

The Om­buds­man has also opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the de­ci­sion to hire the jet fol­low­ing a re­quest by former Al­ter­nat­tiva Demokratika chair­man Arnold Cas­sola. Cas­sola had asked the Om­buds­man to ex­am­ine whether the de­ci­sion was a case of mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and whether it was dis­crim­i­na­tory to­wards ap­pli­ca­tions and ob­jec­tors in other cases when no such mea­sures were taken.

The vote for which Gili was flown in, the highly con­tro­ver­sial megade­vel­op­ment that will be car­ried out by the db Group on the old ITS site in Pem­broke, passed with 10 votes in favour and four against.

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