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The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry has issued a strongly-worded statement insisting on the observance of good governance principles in relation to the tender for the transfer of land covering the former site of the Institute for Tourism Studies in Pembroke.

Concerns over the disposal of public land were flagged by the National Audit Office in April 2020, with the regularity or otherwise of the transfer being brought into question.

The Malta Chamber says it “felt compelled to call for transparent, honest, details and comprehensive explanations” on the doubts raised by the NAO, pointing out that these have yet to arrive, despite the report coming out over a year ago.

It pointed out that “serious concerns were raised by the Auditor General on the lack of good governance, the lack of transparency and the lack of equity in the way the process was handled.”

It emphasises that “public land should be for the benefit of the common good”, and reiterated its call that any such projects must take Malta in a much-needed direction, towards increased value that is respectful of the island’s carrying capacity.

It added that projects should not be built in a piecemeal fashion based on outdated local plans.

“As Malta’s foremost representative body of ethical businesses,” it said, “The Malta Chamber is compelled to promote the highest standards for the country, in the interests of both the business community and Maltese society.”

“The continued doubts and questions related to the project must be addressed in a fair and credible manner, and any such major projects must be respectful of Malta’s tourism and sustainability objectives, as quality is not to be confused with luxury.”

Over the last year, The Malta Chamber has published a series of 35 recommendations applicable to procurement to ensure that public interest is upheld in a transparent fashion.

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