Saturday 31 October 2020

Fortina Group claims Graffitti is smearing its name with wild, unsubstantiated claims

The Fortina Group refers to media coverage of a press release issued yesterday by NGO Graffitti.

The statement is riddled with lies and misinformation that can lead to no other conclusion other than that this particular NGO, Graffitti, for reasons one can only question, is hellbent on conducting a malicious smear campaign with the sole objective of tarnishing our company’s reputation. It is unacceptable for any organisation that purports to be honest or credible to air public allegations without first verifying the facts. 

To address their points individually and set out the facts:

  1. The jetty question in St Julian’s concerning the company’s hop-on, hop off service has already been addressed: this will be of a temporary nature and, crucially will not be in an area used by bathers as is claimed by the NGO Graffitti. Furthermore, it will not be reserved for the exclusive use of Captain Morgan as stated by the NGO Graffitti
  2. Graffitti states that a gigantic pier is being constructed for our ferries in Comino. Captain Morgan knows absolutely nothing about the 133-metre pier apart from whatever has been reported in the media. The company has held no discussions with government over this (alleged) pier and, should there be such a pier, to say it would be reserved for the exclusive use of Captain Morgan is ludicrous. 
  3. Graffitti states that the inter-island ferry tender has been amended to suit our company. This is again another blatant lie. Firstly, Graffitti would do well to read the press releases issued by the Malta Transport Authority and the Gozo Ministry clearly stating the opposite of what Graffiti is claiming. Secondly, our company  instituted legal proceedings before the Public Contracts Review Board in relation to this tender and, now that the board accepted our arguments, this tender has been amended. Only after this development is our company is assessing the possibility of becoming a bidder in a process that is open to all operators. 
  4. Graffitti states that Fortina has been granted land by the government for development which should have been reserved for touristic purposes. What Graffitti has conveniently omitted is that all the land pertaining to the Fortina re development, including the lido, was always owned freehold in its entirety by the group. As has happened in the past in other well documented cases, a restriction had been placed by government on a small section of site. The group is now paying a record €8.1 million to government to remove the restriction on this specific parcel of land.
  5. Graffitti states that Captain Morgan was “chosen” by the government to supply vessels to house migrants and received €3,000 a day per vessel. What it omits to mention is that another company was paid an alleged €6,500 per day for the use of just one vessel of a similar size. 
  6. What the Zammit Tabona Family has actually done is ceased using its older vessels and invested millions of euros in brand new eco-friendly vessels that are being used on the same routes Captain Morgan has been operating for over 40 years. 

Fortina will no longer tolerate these wild claims that are solely aimed at tarnishing the group’s reputation and reserves its rights at law to take further action.

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