The Malta Independent 13 August 2022, Saturday

Updated (3): Director General of Government Property Division resigns, parties blame each other

Monday, 17 August 2015, 14:57 Last update: about 8 years ago

Raymond Camilleri has resigned from his post as director-general of the Government Property Division, sources said.

Mr Camilleri’s resignation comes in the middle of an investigation into the controversial expropriation of a property in Old Mint Street from Marco Gaffarena for €1.65 million.

A report on Maltatoday states that Mr Camilleri handed his resignation to head of permanent secretary Mario Cutajar. 

A government spokesperson said he resigned ‘due to personal reasons’.

Mr Camilleri, who is also a Mepa board member, was appointed in 2013, following the resignation of Joe Bugeja.

Dr Bugeja had written in his resignation letter that he could “no longer work serenely” due to an acute lack of resources and communication, according to his resignation letter. The PN had claimed that the former Lands Commissioner had been forced to resign by the government.

 

It had said that Dr Bugeja had been repeatedly left out of major decisions involving his department and was left with no option but to quit. The party had referred to the 'scandals' involving a government's decision to force the department to give up a court case against the Labour Party involving Australia Hall and another decision where the department was ordered to pay €4.2 million in compensation to the owners of Cafe Premier when the government took back that property, which had been rented on emphyteusis. 

Café Premier, Gaffarena deals were Muscat’s and Falzon’s doing - PN

Reacting to the resignation of Mr Camilleri, the PN said in a statement that this is the second resignation involving a high official at the Lands Department ever since Prime Minister Joseph Muscat took over the responsibility of the department.

“The first sacrificial lamb was the Commissioner of Lands Joe Bugeja who resigned over the Café Premier scandal. In that scandal, Dr Muscat was involved from the very beginning, the PN said. It was he who met Café Premier’s owners, negotiated the deal and gave the green light for the scandalous bail-out to take place.

“Now it seems it was Mr Camilleri’s turn and he was made to shoulder responsibility for the Gaffarena scandal when it is Parliamentary Secretary Michael Falzon who is involved after he met Gaffarena to discuss the property expropriations, sent an official of his secretariat to accompany Gaffarena and who signed the two stinking deals.

“The Café Premier and Gaffarena scandals are Dr Muscat’s and Dr Falzon’s doing.

“They would be mistaken if they were to think for a minute that they can pin the blame on others.

The PN said that the interference from Castill is the problem. "The buck stops with the Prime Minister,” the PN said.

 

PL blames PN

In a statement the PL shifted the blame on the Nationalist Party, insisting that the problems within the Lands Department were a result of how PN administrations had left the situation deteriorate over the years. These also proved the Prime Minister right when he said he wanted to give the sector a higher priority by including it in his portfolio.

“This contrasts highly with the way former Prime Ministers let problems become worse, despite report after report, and let people like Jason Azzopardi lead the sector.,” the party said.

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