The Malta Independent 4 December 2021, Saturday

No stone unturned

Rachel Borg Saturday, 20 November 2021, 07:26 Last update: about 14 days ago

I wonder who devised the latest scheme to offset tax arrears and whether it can be properly explained in a way that it makes sense and stands scrutiny?  Legal Notice 419 published on 5 November entitled “Exemption from Tax on Property Transfers (Set-Off of Tax Arrears) Rules”.

The legal notice says that anyone whose tax arrears were due by January 2021 will be allowed to pay any tax due on the transfer of property purchased before March 2021 against their arrears, meaning that they will be exempt from tax on property transfers to the extent that they are in arrears.

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Brilliant.  So utterly wrong and manipulative that it simply sounds like a garbled tape from a tape recorder, edited with a bit from here and a bit from there.  It is on the wave length of Alex Dalli and his cartel.  That same kind of warped, Machiavellian reasoning, that tries to stand on good cause but screams of a gross abuse and misuse of power, for the benefit of a select class of citizens.

I’m still trying to understand it and how it could even be approved by authorities but maybe that is the point.  They make it as irregular as they like and allow the confusion and misunderstanding to work to their advantage because people hesitate to show ignorance on a topic.

The other day I returned to my home after a short absence, only to find that painters engaged by my neighbor had trespassed on my verandah to paint the outside wall facing my side (the common wall), moved my furniture and plants, splashed paint onto the chairs and left one hell of a mess behind.  All without my permission or having been made aware.

Apparently this type of intrusion and trespassing is common for neighbours of a construction site.  You come home and find some foreign workers doing whatever they want on your property, without any owner, supervisor or architect on site.  Particularly without having been asked permission for them to access your property.

When the foreign painter was sent to my house the following day, with compensatory money and reimbursement of cleaning costs, he opens a full wallet of €50.00 notes.   Which makes you question, how are these businesses and individuals regulated?  Are they registered and do they pay taxes?  How is that there was all that cash when it has become so bureaucratic to even make a cash deposit?  Are VAT receipts ever issued?

It really is time for the industry to be properly regulated, with identity tags on employees and employers, licences and licence numbers displayed, as in a restaurant, business and shop.  How can people be protected from theft, damage, trespassing?  It is possible to make a police report but personal details are needed.  Are they allowed to withhold such information from third parties?

Maltese firms are seeking to recoup €7 million from the Turkish construction firm TACA.  Suppliers were not paid for building materials used in major projects.  Unofficial investigations conducted by the creditors indicated that, in Istanbul alone, there are some 125 court cases filed against the construction company, all of which are related to monies owed.  When local suppliers or services providers are going to be involved, shouldn’t there be a due diligence carried out on the contractor?  The only factor that seems to matter is price and arrangements after the contract is awarded.  Legitimate businesses lose out to unregulated contractors.

How too can the MTA give out a licence for a commercial activity like a Residence, right within primary residences?  In reality, the property becomes a place of entertainment, with the roof and the yard being used for socializing and drinking.  The exaggerated number of floors and bare bedrooms create an echo and inadequate sliding doors to the balconies, means that you can hear people doing the slightest activity and even a late night chat can seem like a bar in Paceville.

The fact of the matter is that Malta is a den of contrabandists, fraudsters and lawless profiteers who are given carte blanche and actually aided by such laws as the above cancellation of tax arrears and tax due to continue emboldening them in thinking they are above the law.

In tandem with the enabling of such behaviour is the state of justice, where going to court means ridiculous waste of time, effort and money.  When are the public going to have access to fair and timely justice?  In addition, the government knows, as they do with the pre-1995 rent law that they are unconstitutional and they still persist in a manner as they have done with this tax exemption, from taking responsibility and doing the right thing, to deceive and rob the public of their rights, property and the benefit of their paid taxes.

If Robert Abela thinks that he is going to get Malta off the grey-list, ever, by allowing continuous gross de-regulation of the system, then he is as off the mark as Konrad Mizzi was with all the tax exemptions given to Electrogas and the €1 sale of the three hospitals. 

They are either in some alternative reality or they take us for fools.  This contempt for justice though is a result of the Joseph Muscat Taghna llkoll brigade.  Cosmetics can work for some.  That blue tie.  That exercise at the gym or lounging on the yacht.  It can give you confidence and completely alter your image.  But at some point, when taken to such extremes, the fake persona can forget the real person’s identity and take over to a point of dissociative cognitive disorder.

From there on it is hard to distinguish between good and bad, between hurting people and helping them.  The plot is completely lost.

And that is where we are now on this island where children as early as 10 years are turning to drugs and the older ones want to leave.

The absence of laws and sensible regulation, the lack of enforcement and no protection of innocent people and their rights, has taken us off a cliff into a huge abyss.  It is not only that there is no discipline but there is the contrary of it.  Naturally we do not want a police state but a festival of jesters is definitely not the solution.

Having the Planning Authority rubber stamp every application that is sure to leave a trail of money or votes behind, means that our country is hijacked and heading for complete ruin. And as always, the hunting lobby brings up the rear with the same creative accounting. 

Who suffers as a consequence of all the cheap stunts?  In time health takes a toll on those who consciously put common values aside but before that it is the honest tax payer, journalists, law abiding citizens and prosperity which loses and leads to a failed state.

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