Joseph Muscat and Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando: birds of an amoral, opportunistic feather

Published: March 18, 2013 at 8:58am

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The best way to save your skin is to ally yourself with those who mean you ill, and if they have the same lack of moral fibre, so much the better.

The Sunday Times, 9 March 2008

Contract shows Pullicino Orlando knew Mistra details – MLP
by Ivan Camilleri

A contract published by the Labour Party last Thursday apparently showing that Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando was aware of the details of the Mistra development has been described by the Nationalist MP as nothing more than the lease agreement for the land.

The controversy which dominated the final days of the electoral campaign over a proposal to turn a piece of land in Mistra – owned, and leased, by Dr Pullicino Orlando – into a nightclub took a new twist on Thursday as the Labour Party published the document.

Dr Pullicino Orlando always maintained that he was not aware of the details of the development. However, the notarial contract signed last January 17 bears his name and signature.

According to the document released by the Labour Party, on January 17 Dr Pullicino Orlando, as owner of De Rohan Antiques Limited, and Dominic Micallef on behalf of DJRL Ltd, agreed that ‘the premises shall be used solely as an open air entertainment including nightclub, discotheque, bar, restaurant and pool facilities, and parking, which can provide amplified music to its clients up to four o’clock in the morning.’

The agreement, signed before a notary, Rene Frendo Randon, also specifies that the tenant is bound to carry out ‘the equivalent of Lm150,000 (€349,406) improvements to the premises of a permanent nature by not later than the first day of June 2009. The lessee shall submit copies of VAT receipts to the lessor as final and conclusive proof that the works carries out amount to Lm150,000.’

Asked whether the contract had exposed that he knew exactly what was going on, Dr Pullicino Orlando said yesterday: “I never said I didn’t know. I didn’t know all the details.”

The case is currently being investigated by police and the auditor of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.

The MLP said that this contract was further proof that Dr Pullicino Orlando had lied when he said that he did not know anything about this development.

In an article appearing on The Times on March 1, the day Dr Sant made his allegations, Dr Pullicino Orlando admitted that he was the owner of the land. However, he said that he did not know that the applicants wanted to develop his land and that he had never met them. Questioned by journalists after Dr Sant’s allegations, the Nationalist candidate maintained that he did not know the details of the project.

Shortly after buying the agricultural land in Mistra, Dr Pullicino Orlando’s request to build a reservoir was twice rejected by Mepa in 1999 on grounds that the area was outside the development zone and it was in a Natura 2000 candidate area – therefore considered to be of ecological importance.

However, last November Mepa’s Development Control Commission approved an outline development permit for an open air disco that covers the entire site. This led Labour to the accusation that Dr Pullicino Orlando used his contacts to influence this process.

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