Mintoff monument designer had sued Nationalist government for more than three-quarters of a million euros

Published: August 28, 2015 at 2:47pm
Valerio Schembri

Valerio Schembri

Valerio Schembri, the architect from whom a five-metre high ‘Dom Mintoff memorial flame’, which will cost at least half a million euros to cast in bronze, has been commissioned directly by the prime minister, had sued the Nationalist government for not using his plans to convert the Zammit Clapp building (the former Blue Sisters hospital) into an oncology hospital.

In October 2012, corrupt judge Ray Pace – to whom Schembri was close – ruled that the government had to pay Schembri €809,500. Just two months later, in December, Judge Pace was forced to resign after being indicted on fraud and corruption charges in unrelated cases. Four months later, in May 2013, he committed suicide.

In November 2012, the government appealed – the appeal was filed by the Government Chief Medical Officer – against Judge Pace’s decision.

The government health authorities said that they had never asked Valerio Schembri to draw up the plans that were the basis for his suit, and there is no documentation to back up his claim that he had been requested to do so. He had been merely asked to give advice on the conversion of the former Blue Sisters building into an oncology hospital, but then the health authorities decided it would make more sense to build a dedicated oncology hospital close to the state general hospital instead.

There is no date yet for the appeal to be heard.