Opposition leader Bernard Grech has pledged to deregister a medieval foundation’s ownership of vast tracts of land in Nadur if an investigation into the issue reveals a “hint of corruption or wrongdoing”.
“Nadur residents are concerned and worried, but they’re also frustrated and angry because [Prime Minister] Robert Abela had run to their hometown last year to tell them he’ll take action,” Grech told a political activity in Rabat, Gozo today.
“A year has passed and it’s clear that he’s done nothing. Prime Minister, the time of politics for photos, PR, and Facebook advertising is over; now is the time for politics of action. If you’re not capable, then let us act ourselves.”
Lovin Malta has been following the issue closely in recent weeks through the investigative ‘Gozo Grab’ series in collaboration with The Shift News.
A number of Nadur homeowners have been left in limbo after the land on which their homes were built was suddenly registered as the property of the Benefiċċju ta’ Sant Antonio delli Navarra.
This foundation was set up in 1675 to raise funds for pious deeds from the lease of vast lands in Gozo belonging to Sicilian noblewoman Cosmana Navarra.
Now, centuries later, six Stagno Navarra siblings are claiming to be Cosmana’s descendants and have registered the land under the foundation’s name.
Homeowners are being asked to pay tens of thousands of euro in return for deregistering the portion of land on which their house sits from the Lands Registry. Meanwhile, the foundation has struck a deal with developers which led to the application for the construction of 71 flats on virgin land.
Grech said the PN intentionally kept silent about the issue so far, out of a sense of prudence that the government needed some time to sort it out.
“However, a year has now passed and we cannot leave these homeowners suffering further heartbreak,” he said. “We’re speaking to these people, applying pressure, and promising them that if the government doesn’t solve the problem then a PN government will look at the process.”
“If we find a hint of corruption or wrongdoing, we will scrap the registration and give homeowners the chance to register their homes and fields, places where their minds should be at rest.”
Cover photo: Bernard Grech with a Nadur household impacted by the land registration problem
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