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Labour rejects PN claims about Australia Hall rent

Australia Hall is a bone of contention between Labour and the Nationalists. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Australia Hall is a bone of contention between Labour and the Nationalists. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Claims made by the Nationalist Party that in 1997 the Labour government had waived the sum of Lm582,343 (€1.36 million) it owed to the Land Department for Pembroke’s Australia Hall were denied by the PL yesterday.

On Wednesday, PN deputy leader for party affairs Beppe Fenech Adami said that the short-lived Labour administration led by Alfred Sant had waived all the rent due.

Dr Fenech Adami was addressing a news conference outside the dilapidated property in Pembroke, following the Government’s decision to drop legal proceedings against Labour, which had been instituted by the Land Department in 2010.

The court case had been filed as the Labour Party had failed to carry out proper maintenance of the Grade II scheduled building and was in breach of the contract.

He seems to be obsessed with this property, like his father

In a statement, the Labour Party yesterday said that contrary to Dr Fenech Adami’s claims, it had paid all the rent due and no sum of money had ever been waived.

It added that this was not the first time that the PN had lied about Dr Sant.

The PL said the PN deputy leader “seemed to be obsessed with this property” like his father, pointing out that in March 2006, a similar case which had been instituted by former Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami had been dropped. It added that the PN conveniently failed to mention that the PL dropped its claim to get back a property in Marsa that had been requisitioned in 1979.

The PL was given Australia Hall and two other properties in Pembroke as compensation.

The PL branded the €10 million price tag given by the PN to Australia Hall as “fantasy”, saying that it cost less than the property requisitioned in Marsa 34 years ago.

In a counter statement, the PN said that once again the PL is abusing the fact it is in government at the expense of the taxpayers. It added that in 1997 the Labour government had the temerity of moving a motion in Parliament to waive the rent arrears. The PN added that the Government’s decision to drop proceedings amounts to state financing and so the Prime Minister has no credibility when he speaks about his commitment to legislate on party financing.

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