PA member jetted in to vote in favour of DB high-rise was absent on 29 decisions in 2017

The Planning Authority flew in a PA board member on holiday from Sicily by private jet to vote in favour of the the DB group's high-rise • Government spokesperson says administration disagrees with PA's action

Jacqueline Gili was flown in to vote last Thursday
Jacqueline Gili was flown in to vote last Thursday

The Planning Authority has not denied that a politically-appointed member of its highest decision-making board, Jacqueline Gili, was flown in from Sicily to Malta to vote last Thursday on the 38-storey City Centre project in St George’s Bay.

The decision by the PA board to approve the DB group’s high-rise hotel with 10 votes to four, angered residents of Pembroke, whose Labour-led council opposed the project.

Newsbook on Tuesday evening reported that Gili, a director of operations at the Contracts Department appointed to the PA board by the finance ministry, had been flown in to Malta during a family holiday in Sicily, by private jet.

[WATCH] PA board approves 38-storey db Group development

According to comments from the PA, it was the regulator who “made the necessary arrangements to ensure all its members are present for the PA board meeting” and that Gili was flown in during her holiday “instead of [the PA] paying off the holiday itself.”

MaltaToday has asked the PA to confirm whether it was the regulator who footed the bill for Gili to be flown in by private jet from Sicily, and to confirm the amount it paid for the flight.

Gili was reportedly flown in by a private jet operated by Queen Air, a Beechjet 400A registered OK-ZUB, which was said to have landed in Malta at 9:30am. Gili finally arrived at the Hamrun Lyceum for the PA meeting at 10:45am.

The meeting finished at 3:37pm. 

The photos show the UTC time of the Beechcraft jet leaving Malta at around 6pm and later approaching Catania at 6:22pm
The photos show the UTC time of the Beechcraft jet leaving Malta at around 6pm and later approaching Catania at 6:22pm
The photos show the UTC time of the Beechcraft jet leaving Malta at around 6pm and later approaching Catania at 6:22pm
The photos show the UTC time of the Beechcraft jet leaving Malta at around 6pm and later approaching Catania at 6:22pm

MaltaToday’s planning and environment correspondent James Debono said that PA members, especially government representatives, are regularly absent from PA board meetings.

“On this special occasion the PA wanted to ensure that everyone is present. And for the first time in ages, everyone was present. In 2017, the same Gili who was flown to Malta to vote, was absent on 29 decisions. Another government department representative was absent on 50 decisions. This raises the question: why was her attendance so important on this occasion?

“She did not even utter a single word during the meeting. She simply voted yes and apparently left to continue her holiday,” Debono said.

A spokesperson for the government was quoted by The Malta Independent as saying that the administration disagreed with the action taken by the PA. “With regards to the decision taken by the PA which allegedly brought one of its board directors from holiday to vote for a planning decision, the government clarifies that such decisions was taken without informing government. Government disagrees with [this] line of action.”

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola described the news as obscene. “While people are forced to live in garages and young couples can’t afford a down-payment on a house loan, a Joseph Muscat-appointee on the Planning Authority Board is flown in and out of Malta by private jet to and from her Italian holiday, in order to vote the way Muscat wanted on the most controversial and consequential planning decision of my generation.”

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