The Yana Mintoff land deal story gets even more interesting

Published: September 13, 2012 at 11:47pm

The 1989 map

It was not around 2004 that the ODZ boundary was stretched into that extraordinary shape to accommodate the Mintoff daughters’ land (that was when they applied for and got an outline development permit).

It was much earlier than that. The land was sold to Yana and Anne Mintoff in 1986 for Lm4,000 as arable land. In 1986 (Labour government in those days) there were no proper parameters for regulating building development.

The system deployed between 1983 and the 1987 general election, when Labour was removed from power, was that of BDAs (Building Development Area). These were at the sole discretion of Public Works Minister Lorry Sant.

It should be quite obvious that Yana and Anne Mintoff did not intend to use that land to become part-time farmers growing organic vegetables.

A few months after they bought the land, Labour lost the election and the incoming Nationalist government more or less immediately scrapped the BDA (non) system.

Instead of that system, incoming Public Works Minister Michael Falzon set up what was known as the ‘temporary provision scheme’. Under this scheme, a committee received and considered representations from land-owners who wished their land to be included within a development zone. Malta was about to emerge from years of stagnation and into a building boom, so there was plenty of clamouring there.

The committee took the decisions on whether land should be included or left excluded. Members of the committee were not supposed to know who owned the land put before them for consideration, so that this would not be a factor affecting their judgement, but mainly because their decisions were supposed to be based on technical, environmental and geographical considerations only.

But given that this piece of Mintoff land juts out so absurdly, it is clear that a special concession was made. And special concessions are not made for the sake of the inanimate land, but for the sake of the owners.

As one prominent person involved in the field (an unfortunate choice of expression) said to me earlier this evening: “When you rationalise land for schemes like this, it is standard practice to be as regular as possible, to contain the area as much as possible, with no sharp edges, strange shapes or indentations. You create a smooth boundary.”

By 1989, the ‘map’ of areas newly permitted for development was complete, and parliament voted on it (favourably).

Earlier tonight, I rang Michael Falzon, the minister who was then responsible, to ask what he knows or remembers about this case. He is away from Malta, but told me he would check through his papers on his return this weekend.

For a start, we need to know who the members of that committee were, and whether their deliberations were minuted.

Now to the next question, which is why the Mintoff sisters didn’t sell that land immediately it was incorporated into a building development zone in 1989.They will never tell us, but my view is that – as was common practice in thosee days with Labour ministers who wished to conceal their holdings, using members of their extended family, trusted fronts or il-Fusellu – they were the ‘on paper’ owners, holding the land for their father, Dom Mintoff.

Though they would have had every right to sell it while he was alive, as they held the legal title, they would not have dared do so without his authorisation and would have had to give him the money anyway, so there would have been no point.

Once their father began to suffer from dementia around 2004/2005 (that’s when his public behaviour began to be increasingly erratic and weird), they began exploring the options and applied for an outline development permit, and when he was totally senile, in 2009, they sold it.

Of course, it might just be that they never bothered, and that they’re so comfortably off or indifferent to worldly goods and money that they were content to sit on land worth millions for two decades because liquidity was not an issue.

60 Comments Comment

  1. Harry Purdie says:

    Jeez, you’re good, Daphne.

    BTW, check out Gail Collins’ column in the New York Times today. She fears that Mitt Romney’s clumsy foreign policy pronouncement yesterday includes ‘an attack on Malta’. Guess those old bomb shelters should be readied ASAP.

    • Ghoxrin Punt says:

      Great, that’s all we need now – stupid potential American politicians wanting to destroy us, like having potential Maltese ones isn’t enough

      • Harry Purdie says:

        He ain’t ‘potential’. He’s neck and neck with Obama. One scary dude. Like your point about the ‘potential Maltese ones’, though.

      • kev says:

        And you actually believe there’s a difference between Obama and Mittens?

        The differences you see have nothing to do with foreign and monetary policies. Those remain the same – only the rethoric changes. And the slow erosion of civil liberties has progressed substantially since its launch in the Clinton years.

        Obama has decreed a variety of tyrannical executive orders without so much as a whimper from the mainstream bullshitters, and if Mittens gets to be prez only the rethoric would change.

        The illusion you see has nothing to do with reality. You read too much mainstream dribble, Purdie. If you really want to know what’s going on you’d always need to check the primary evidence.

      • Harry Purdie says:

        Rhetoric, Kevvy? You can’t even spell it correctly. And all you spew is inane, warped, misguided bullshit. (or should I call it ‘rethoric’).

        Go do the dishes, dipstick.

      • kev says:

        Nothing better than a spelling error to preoccupy the cobwebs upstairs, Purdie.

  2. Richard Borg says:


    [Daphne – Grow up.]

  3. Richard Borg says:

    Have a good night, Daphne.

  4. canon says:

    That is what I call investigative journalism.

  5. Leli says:

    Well done. Daphne – keep up the good work you are a true journalist.

  6. Malti jistaqsi says:

    It would be interesting to know why Caqnu’s new petrol station was not given permission to open.

  7. mandango70 says:

    Ready for the pop? Here goes:

    Errm did it blow hard enough in your face?

    [Daphne – Keep up, stupid. My post up above supersedes that.]

    • Jozef says:

      Isn’t Carmel Cacopardo too old to stock shelves at Lidl?

    • mandango70 says:

      Wow I’m touched by your compliment.

      No doubt better be stupid than many other things we all think you are.

      [Daphne – We all? Who’s we? What you think is irrelevant. It’s what I am that matters. The day I’m after your vote, you’ll know about it. It’s never better to be stupid – ever. It is the greatest disadvantage a person can have.]

      • mandango70 says:

        Sincerely I find it hard to comprehend and come to terms with the resentment you have embedded within you. Its so illogical.

        [Daphne – Logic has nothing to do with it. Don’t bandy that word about without knowing what it means. I don’t resent you. I just think you’re a queer fish, torn between insulting me and demanding my attention. You claim to despise me and yet you seek my approval.]

        Trust me, your calling me stupid, has no bearing on my self respect. It only goes to show me what an unlikeable and sad person you are.

        [Daphne – No, it shows that I tend to recognise a stupid person when a stupid person makes repeated attempts at engaging with me under cover of anonymity. You are the sad person, my dear, trying to have some kind of internet relationship with a person you insult and denigrate, who is not anonymous while you are. I don’t know whether you are likeable or not and I don’t give a damn, but I would suggest that you have very little self-respect if you keep returning only to be rejected once more.]

        And that is the main difference between the two of us, not an intellectual (doh!) at one end, and a dumbhead on the other. Its simply, a person in need of help at one end, and another who leads a tranquil family life, with hope for a better future for his offspring. Thats all.

        [Daphne – I agree with you entirely. That is the difference. Now do you see what I mean about your being stupid?]

      • Harry Purdie says:

        You finally got something right. You are a dumbhead.

  8. gaddaffi says:

    Conspiracy theories galore … Daphne grow up or else start writing Da Vinci Code style novels. 21st December 2012 is near so you might earn some money.

  9. Antoine Vella says:

    In their efforts to limit damage, Labour sympathisers and FAA groupies were quick to point fingers at the land rationalisation exercise of 2006 and somehow involve the PN government and minister Pullicino.

    As it turns out, the scandal (because it WAS a scandal) occurred between the last months of the MLP regime and the start of a new government, when town-planning was still suffering from the confusion and disorganisation left by Lorry Sant and his accomplices.

    I don’t believe that the Mintoff sisters or their father waited for a new PN government to be installed before seeking to include their site into the building scheme. I am sure they must have initiated procedures as soon as they bought the land, in 1986.

  10. Spiru says:

    I change my previous opinion from my earlier so what…the only real investigative journalist…….prosit.

  11. 'Dee says:

    That is what I call first-class investigative journalism.
    Let us all hope that ex minister Falzon will get back with more details.

  12. ciccio says:

    Oh, at last, Labour’s business policy is out, and it’s about “Letting Business Work.”
    I hope business will work, because Labour Won’t Work.

    • Harry Purdie says:

      Muscat, the twit, can’t even spell ‘business’. Never been there, never done that.

      He and his ilk will never understand the profit motive, except to redistribute the ‘ill gotten gains’ to the ‘lazy gimmees’.

      • ciccio says:

        Muscat thinks it is like “OK, you work, and we tax you.”

        Which, I suppose, is the same as “Don’t work.”

      • ciccio says:

        Oh, and by the way, have you noticed the body language of the other speakers around him while he went about his “letting business work”? Their next move should have been to sink under the table.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        “Letting business work”. As opposed to what, not letting it work? Such poor use of language.

      • ciccio says:

        As opposed to letting it make profits, I suppose…

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Oh, letting business work, and therefore letting it make profits, is the one policy shared by all parties. Then there are some who take away a chunk of the profit in taxes. But Muscat is a millionaire, and millionaires appreciate the benefits of free markets.

  13. S.Zammit says:

    Amazing story. Please dig up the dirt on the Maltese nationals who own properties in Soho under certain fronted individuals.

    • AE says:

      Well I’d like to know more about the National Bank “missing files”.

      Apparently there are 12 of these bank loans that never got repaid. All gifts from Mintoff at the expense of the shareholders. Who were the favoured ones?

      [Daphne – At the expense of WHICH shareholders? The shareholders lost the entire bank.]

      One name was mentioned on both the Dissett programme and in one of Raphael Vassallo’s articles on Malta Today.

      The media savvy Company who doesn’t usually miss an opportunity to be in the news (except during the conflict in Libya) , did not issue any statement in regard to the allegations and remained silent.

      So it must be true. It is well known that the family in question were family friends of Mintoff. Today it is one of the largest companies in Malta. Its not difficult to be a visionary when you are given such a head-start with other people’s monies. Again where was the media? or are these untouchables?

      Who are the other 11 missing files? Raphael’s allegation is correct – ours is a Republic built on fraud.

      Who else benefitted from this grand theft? is it true that Mintoff family members were given shares in BOV?

      It is in the national interest to know particularly since compensation is being sought from the taxpayer. All who benefitted, the taxpayer, the recipients of the missing loans and shares should share the burden of the compensation. It should not be borne by the taxpayer alone.

      • AE says:

        Yes I mean the National Bank shareholders. Yes of course, the shareholders of National Bank lost the entire bank thanks to Mintoff’s actions.

        The point is that there are people who built their businesses on the back of the shareholders of National Bank as they had loans granted to them which they never repaid and the main justification that is put forward by Mintoff apologists is that the bank was bankrupt.

        This is a total fallacy as nine months after the theft, and with all loans other than these 12 missing ones recouped, BOV went on to make the same profit which was projected by the Board of National Bank.

        It is right and just that compensation is paid to the former shareholders but for justice to be done, that compensation should be paid by ALL those who benefitted not the taxpayer alone.

        Further if there are any National Bank shareholders who struck a deal with Mintoff in exchange for their shares, thus weakening the position of their fellow shareholders, theirs was a business transaction and they should not benefit this time round too.

        I know it is not so simplistic, but the point is we have a right to know all the details and who those 12 files are an essential part of this terrible story. They were the new wealth order that Mintoff created and one of the ways he controlled the economy due to their eternal gratitude to him. No wonder they think he was great.

    • el bandido guapo says:

      When was the last time you were in Soho? 1967?

  14. Aunt Hetty says:

    Before the last general election, Labour’s Michael Falzon was seen out having lunch with Charles Polidano.

  15. Macduff says:

    Same as what happened with Magistrate Herrera’s debacle… another scandal everyone is speaking about, but a deafening silence in the mainstream media.

    Touche’, Daphne!

  16. AE says:

    Prosit prosit prosit. This is true journalism. One woman alone with a great network is putting to shame the entire independent press.

    Where are The Times. the Independent, Malta Today, PBS etc etc? –

    ‘WAKE UP AND DO YOUR JOB. All you do is print out press releases. This should have been front page headlines by now. You have a duty to society to get these stories out.’

    • Brian says:

      @ Daphne

      Min jaf kemm qeda ‘ssaffar widnejk…’huh dik, dik kollha nejk, x’tahseb li hi, pruzuntuza, ‘znob’….. u xeba titli ohra.

      This, as AE commented should wake up our local so called investigative journalists from their seemingly eternal slumber.

  17. vaux says:

    I am assuming from the limited feed-back and I have to insist on this particular issue, that stone throwers from the youngest to the eldest, discreetly kept a low profile.

  18. Matt says:

    This article has been published for a few days now and thousands have read it, yet no other journalists bothered to write about it let alone take steps to investigate. Where are the true journalists? Are they all spineless?

    One of the functions of Journalists is to keep politicians on their toes regardless of political affiliation.

    We the people will be better served.

  19. elephant says:

    I am afraid today’s so called journalists are in the category of “eight to five” jobs; these are reporters and not journalists. A journalist is by nature a loner and seeks sources of news.

    In Malta, I am afraid, the few journalists are free-lance and proudly seek their own ways of digging storiesd out. Malta lacks journalists – very grave – very grave. When someone like Daphne crops up, all the whirlwinds come out against her. – pity.

    • Interested Bystander says:

      I suspect there is some sort of agreement that each ‘side’ won’t dig up ‘shit’ on the other. Why? Because they are all ‘at it’. ‘Corruption’ is so much part and parcel of everyday life that people don’t even see it as corruption.

      Revelations like these are met with public silence.

      I have learnt this much – in Malta, silence means you have said a big truth that it would take a massive lie to be said against it.

  20. kev says:

    Running Nosepad running dry?
    Site visitors bidding you bye?
    Give Nosepad a mission.
    Launch a prize competition.

    – Here, I’ve prepared the question for you:

    How much more debt will Malta be forced to incur in order to pour into the ESM pit when Spain, followed by Italy, are forced into a ‘bailout’ (i.e., borrowing lots of billions from the bottomless pit to service mounting debts)?

    Your replies are to be in plenty of millions and cents of buqxi€x… and anything from 0 to 9 in between.

    Prize: An ounce of real money, gold.
    (that’s around 1,250 in c€ntral bank€rs’ buqxi€x)

    Participation fee: Lm65, or 1/8 of an ounce of gold
    (Biex tassigura qliegh imdaqqas, Deffney)

    And remember, there’s a silver lining to all of this. For when Mario ‘Goldman-Sachs’ Draghi starts buying unlimited bonds on our unknowing behalf, there will be plenty of buqxi€x for Spain and Italy to borrow, and we could be spared having to fork out more borrowed buqxi€x ourselves.

    (And of course you’d come to keep both your ounce and the competition fees, so don’t forget to add that proviso to the fine print, Deffney.)

    Ahleb, Guz!

    Buqxi€x ghas-serfi joholqu bir-rimi, biex fil-pront l-imghax jithallas f’buqxi€x imsarrfa mill-gharaq ta’ gbinhom.

    X’naqa ross bil-Ponzi sauce dak, hux, cittadini taz-Zena Ewru, ferhanin ghax cwiec.

    [Daphne – Site visitors bidding me goodbye? Hardly. I registered the highest number of views in a single day, since set-up, just two weeks ago: 170,000+ on 27 August.]

  21. The chemist says:

    Kev, you need medication mate. Risperdal 2mg daily with largactyl 100mg in the evening to help reduce obsessive thoughts should do for now.

  22. The other Dom says:

    Kev, do yourself a favour. Go borrow ’50 Shades’ from Sharon, and find out where you went wrong, mate. A lack of ‘it’ has probably affected both your pea brains.

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