Nationalist MP David Thake challenged Prime Minister Robert Abela to call for an independent investigation into Minister Michael Farrugia, who was revealed to have instructed the Planning Authority to permit high-rises at Mrieħel on the same day he had a meeting with business magnate and murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, set up by the late journalist’s family, had obtained details of the meetings Fenech – who is accused of ordering her assassination – had at the Auberge de Castille. These documents show that Fenech had met Farrugia – then the parliamentary secretary responsible for planning – in the morning of 5 March, 2014.
That same day, The Times of Malta reports, Farrugia sent a letter to the PA CEO, in which he stated that “Mrieħel is to be considered as an appropriate location for tall buildings with the intention to create a strategic employment node.”
The area had been excluded from the list of sites the PA had identified as suitable for high-rise buildings, but was ultimately included in the policy. This paved the way for the planned construction of four high-rise towers by the Tumas Group – of which Fenech was the CEO – and the Gasan Group.
Farrugia has denied any link between his meeting with Fenech and his recommendation, but this was met with cynicism by Thake, who questioned why else Fenech would have wanted to meet Farrugia and the timing of the letter.
Speaking in Parliament, Thake questioned what Abela was going to do about this revelation, noting that the Prime Minister had promised clean governance.
“Will you allow an independent investigation to take place? Are you happy to retain Michael Farrugia,” he asked, noting that as Energy Minister, Farrugia is presently responsible for the government’s dealings with the Electrogas Consortium, which includes the Tumas Group owned by Fenech’s family.