Why are we 23 years late in Waste-to-Energy Projects? Because the previous administration was only interested in projects that could profit from kickback money.

By Charles Farrugia.

Newsbook gave the news that the Government received offers between 600 million to 783 million euros for a Waste-to-Energy plant. In Maltese the title was “Offerti bejn €600 miljun u €782 miljun għall-impjant Waste-to-Energy“. I want to state that thanks to the Nationalist Government, we are 23 years late, as this was a project that I and a consortium of international firms wanted to do. Back then, the foreign investment was going to be 1.6 Billion Dollars. This whole project started after a change in administration in 1998, but the greed expressed by a high-powered person, who worked at the Office of the Prime Minister, forced me to abandon the whole project. Incidentally, I already had the opportunity to speak about this project when the owner of this blog, Simon Mercieca, invited me for an interview on T.V. some time ago.

As already stated, this project started when the P.N. won the 1998 General Election. If I remember well, a P.N. delegate came to me and asked me if I was interested in finalizing a project that he had discussed with someone a few days ago. At first, this project had an estimated investment of about 28 million dollars. Since this project was far different from the line of business that I was in those days, I told him that I did not have any experience or knowledge about this subject and it would be hard for me to make it work. But after some explanation of what he had in mind, I began to understand what he was after. He was only seeking financial investment. In other words, he just wanted to take advantage of my contacts abroad. I was more than ready to help.

After four weeks, I discussed this subject with two of my partners in England, and we agreed to see how we could work by having a feasibility study. In six months, this project was already more than 8oo Million Dollars, and my partners told me they needed to talk to other partners as the investment exceeded their budget. They got approval from the other partners, and a 2 billion dollar budget was given their blessings. In Malta, I continued meeting with several people in politics and members sitting on Government boards about this project, and it was going fine.

I had many concrete contacts of interest from Italians, British, and Americans from South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

The project was to be:

1) 4 pieces of Land reclamation,
2) a Waste-to energy plant at Magħtab,
3) a Seven Star Hotel on one of the reclaimed lands,
4) a specialized hospital,
5) an underground tunnel from the airport to the seven-star hotel,

There was going to be employment of more than 8000 people. We agreed that I give them 10 million Maltese Pounds, cash, and 10% of the total investment in the partnership and have two people on the board to represent their interests. A two billion Swiss cheque was already in my hand, and I handed a copy to the Government. At a board meeting, I was informed that the cheque was good. There was a very known lawyer and other individuals who attended these meetings. They can stand as witnesses that what I am saying is the truth.

This project did not initialize because when arriving at the final stages, I was told they wanted to double their requests. The minute I heard that, I immediately cancelled the agreement. As revenge, my business was attacked. I was dragged to court on false accusations by the police and had to close my operations. This is how the P.N. treated honest people in business when they were in Government!

The main project was eliminating the mountain of rubbish at Magħtab and the one at il-Kortin in Gozo. At least, one reads that this Government is finally making decisions that make sense. Reading such news fills me with satisfaction that a similar project, even if smaller in size, is being thought of by the Government again after such an idea had remained dormant for over 23 years. This project was abandoned because of greed from the Nationalist Government, as there were individuals who were more interested in making money out of corruption than in working for the true benefit of the country.

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