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Oil procurement allegations - PM expects more developments

Dr Gonzi sees Labour's Mepa proposals as 'strange'

Oil procurement allegations - PM expects more developments

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said today that labour's proposal to separate the environment from the planning processes in Mepa as 'very strange'.

"For some strange reason labour wants to relegate the environment in the planning process. How can one do that? Are we going to have another Lorry Sant?" he asked in Kalkara.

Dr Gonzi said that the government believed that the environment had to be given a leading role in the consideration of development permit applications and separating these roles did not make any sense.

He said that through its proposals labour wanted to take the country back to when politicians used to decide on permits and many abuses were made.

Expressing his personal opinion against the granting of permits in outside development zones, Dr Gonzi said that this policy could not be put in a straight jacket as there are instances, like when agricultural developments were involved, where ODZ permits become necessary.

He said that the PN wants to continue to encourage and assist people to invest in old buildings particularly in village cores.

He said that the PN was proposing to reduce tax on rental income so that more people rented out their properties and declared this income.

Dr Gonzi said that the PN in its electoral programme had showed that it was still full of fresh ideas for a better quality of life.

With regard to corruption allegations, Dr Gonzi said that the Nationalist Party has proved over the years that it fought corruption. Before 1996 labour used to accuse everyone of corruption. Then when labour won the election the then prime minister Alfred Sant had admitted that no proof of corruption was found.

On the allegations of kickbacks on oil procurement, Dr Gonzi said that while he expected that more would come out on these allegations, he did not want to interfere in the ongoing investigations.

He reiterated that he was ready to recommend a presidential pardon if it helped anyone to come forward with relevant information. "We have nothing to fear on corruption as we have a track record on fighting it. Labour doesn't," Dr Gonzi said to a resounding applause.

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