The Yana Mintoff/Charles Polidano land deal scandal: there should be a public inquiry
Published: September 12, 2012 at 3:22pm
Some telling details have emerged since I published the contract of a EUR3.6 million land deal between Dom Mintoff’s daughters, Labour star candidate Yana Mintoff Bland and Anne McKenna, and one of Charles Polidano’s companies.
At some point in the last few years, the Development Zone boundary was diverted awkwardly and beyond its natural delineation to include the agricultural land which Yana and Anne Mintoff owned, and which they then sold – after this scandalous exercise in their favour – to a development company owned by Charles Polidano (Ic-Caqnu).
As agricultural land, their property was of relatively little value. Once it had been improperly included in a building development zone, its price sky-rocketed. Left-click on the map shown here to see the full, scandalous nature of the building development zone boundary to include the Mintoff agricultural land: their land is shaded in yellow. The building development zone boundary is the red dotted line.
That’s the first scandalous revelation.
The second one is that the Mintoff sisters appear to have worked in collusion with Charles Polidano’s business, on this piece of land, even before they actually sold it to him.
In 2008, a year before the contract of sale was signed, Kurt Cini – a director of GINWI Co Ltd, the Polidano Group company which bought the land – applied for a full development permit (PA/0434/08) to construct flats, penthouses and garages on the land, which was at that point still owned by Yana Mintoff and her sister. This application is still pending.
More disgustingly still, in 1996 Anthony Cassar de Sain, whose family had sold the land to the Mintoff sisters for an agricultural-land price of Lm4,000, applied for a development permit (PA/04509/96) for a piece of land that was originally part of the same estate and adjacent to the Mintoff land. The permit was refused outright on the correct grounds that the site was ODZ (outside the development zone).
By 2004, however, the development zone boundary had been stretched out of its natural delineation to include the Mintoff fields, which were then – oh wonder of wonders – no longer ODZ.
In sum, the Cassar de Sains could not get a building permit for their agricultural land because it was ODZ. So they sold the land cheaply, at agricultural land prices, to Mintoff’s daughters.
When Mintoff’s daughters were safely in possession of it, the ODZ boundary was warped into a very curious shape to exclude only the Mintoff sisters’ land and a little bit that couldn’t be avoided without making the purpose of the warp even more bloody obvious than it is already.
And suddenly, the land was worth millions.
Unfortunately, this brings to mind the way their father was given a million euros as compensation for having a power station built close to his SECONDARY home. This was not compensation for the expropriation of that secondary home, you understand, but compensation for pain and suffering and loss of value. And that Delimara dump wasn’t even worth a fourth of that million euros to begin with.
The compensation award to Dom Mintoff was in the hands of the courts of law. But the ODZ/development zone boundaries are not. There should be an immediate inquiry into how and why the ODZ boundary was warped quite specifically to accommodate Dom Mintoff’s daughters and make their agricultural land worth millions, when the previous owners, denied this privilege, were obliged to sell it for virtually nothing.
This is absolutely scandalous on several levels. If the Malta Environment & Planning Authority is prepared to accommodate Dom Mintoff’s daughters with Labour in opposition, heaven knows what things are going to be like when they are in power and have far greater clout.
The extent of the Polidano Group’s collusion with Yana and Anne Mintoff should be assessed, particularly now that it has become very obvious that Labour politicians are throwing their parties, including wedding receptions, at the Monte Kristo Polidano estate with monotonous regularity.
The posturing Yana Mintoff has been unmasked as her father’s daughter in much more than mere physiognomy.
And for those who still stupidly insist that this is just a straight business deal and so what, here’s what is now the most crucial point of all: leverage.
The Polidano Group’s application to build flats, garages and penthouses, on what was agricultural land until Mintoff’s daughters bought it, is still pending. So is a significant part of the monies owed to the Mintoff sisters.
Within a few months, Labour will be in government and Yana Mintoff will be a government politician. The cut-off point for payment is November this year. If this is reneged upon, the inherent risks are apparent: Polidano putting pressure on government politician Yana Mintoff to put pressure on the MEPA to get his permit approved, failing which he will not have the money to pay her.
The rest of the scandal, of course, is that the press is so weak.