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NAO criticises lack of documentation in Fekruna expropriation

PN, PL clash over interpretation of report

The NAO report was tabled in parliament.The NAO report was tabled in parliament.

The lack of documentation on the Fekruna Bay expropriation case was identified as a “serious shortcoming” in an investigation by the Auditor General's Office (NAO).

An NAO report, tabled in parliament this evening, said the lack of documentation retained on file by the Land Department effectively impeded the office from establishing key developments.

On March 5, 2013, just days before a general election, the Land Department signed a contract transferring two properties (one in Swieqi, the other in San Ġwann) worth €4.3 million jointly as payment for land expropriated at Fekruna Bay, Xemxija.

The Fekruna land was valued at €5 million, and the difference, €700,000, in favour of Fekruna Ltd, was offset against amounts due to the government by the company in lieu of capital gains tax and duty on documents.

In its report, the NAO raised concerns that no records of negotiations with the company were retained, no minutes of meetings kept and no documentation of correspondence made available.

This detracted from the principles of good governance, accountability and transparency, the NAO said.

PN, PL clash over accountability

In a reaction, Nationalist Party spokesman Jason Azzopardi said the NAO report confirmed that there was a public interest in the expropriation of the building. 

The report had praised the fact that a committee was specifically set up to carry out the negotiations which guaranteed more transparency and provided additional safeguards, he said.

On the other hand, the Labour Party said the case was riddled with lack of documentation and correspondence involving the negotiations between the two sides. 

The PL said the Auditor had faced a situation where he could not ascertain the facts and described the process as a breach of accountability and transparency. 

 

 

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