Tuesday 29 September 2020

ITS-DB: A cheeky face after the disgrace

In a miserable attempt at recovering from the authentic slap in the face that is the National Audit Office (NAO) report about the Pembroke monstrosity, DB Group is mounting a PR counteroffensive. Expect them to say that the NAO report absolves them from any accusation or allegation, that the Auditor General found no irregularity in the price of the land in Pembroke, and that the group has committed no illegality. Basically, they’re washing their hands like an authentic concrete Pilate.

They ignore, however, a very important fact: that the NAO inquiry has been hindered by a “lack of information” and details about the negotiations between Government and DB itself. Had there been nothing untoward in the whole process, there would have been no need for this systematic obfuscation of facts from public scrutiny. As regards the very same process, the Auditor General’s condemnation is clear and categorical.

From the same report it is also very clear that the deal will cost a huge amount of money to the State, wherein the sale of the land in Pembroke (which DB will pay in instalments) does not cover the €75m spent for ITS’ transfer to Smart City. In meantime, government has also spent another €2m for ITS’ temporary relocation to Luqa. We can only conclude that either government doesn’t have people skilled in simple mathematics negotiating on its behalf, or else they have been working to ta favour someone else’s interests. At the agreed prices, it is clear that neither Government’s nor the citizens’ interests have been safeguarded.

DB may play the victim card as it pleases and accuse residents, NGOs and journalists of “malice” whenever these issues are pointed out. What stands out as malicious is this whole saga from top to bottom. There is enough proof for this contract to be revoked, and for the investigation of numerous personnel involved in this scandal.

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