Pawlu Lia’s plans for a Valletta palazzo-office block conversion have been approved by the Planning Board despite the Planning Authority case officer recommending its refusal.
Lia, the lawyer of both former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and other Labour Party figures, is looking to transform an 18th Century Palazzo in the heart of Valletta into a four-storey office block.
The PA case officer warned that adding two storeys on the block runs contrary to policy and will stand imposingly above any other building on Old Bakery Street.
The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage repeatedly objected to the proposal. However, Seven board members, including PA chairman Vince Cassar and ERA chairman Victor Axiak, said they would vote in favour.
A final decision will now be taken in another sitting. The approval could create a precedent for the entire skyline of Malta’s capital city.
Beyond being the reported person who redacted the infamous Egrant Inquiry, Lia is a member of the Commission for the Administration of Justice and has long enjoyed far-reaching power.
Nominated by Muscat, the role allows Lia to enjoy a status similar to a judge, giving the Prime Minister’s and Labour Party’s lawyer an elevated and influential position in the courts.
His daughter-in-law Nadine Lia is the magistrate who reluctantly stepped down from an inquiry into a phantom government job given to the middleman in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
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