Raw footage has emerged of the Hugo Group’s CEO explicitly stating that Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and Economy Minister Chris Cardona had wanted to expand St George’s Bay to help out his business.
The footage was filmed on top of the rooftop of the H Hotel by the crew of French TV programme Enquête Exclusive and was originally published with French dubbing and with the ministers’ names bleeped out. However, the raw footage has now been published onto Rutube by an anonymous account.
In it, Chetcuti can be seen pointing towards St George’s Bay and telling a woman in Maltese that “we want to take a piece of the bay from him”, a reference to the Eden Leisure Group, which was granted a beach concession several years ago.
“Definitely,” she responds, to which Chetcuti says he’s not joking and his colleague points out that the concessionaire “just keeps growing”.
“Yes, yes, and last week I was dining with Chris, the minister, and he told me…right on the spot, he got in touch with the Tourism Minister [Konrad Mizzi] and told him that we must help Hugos. [He said] they’ve always helped us and we need to help them and we need to give them a piece of the bay.”
“The other one [Mizzi] said the bay is a bit small but we’ll see what we can do to enlarge the bay.”
Chetcuti then looks out at the beach and states which part of it exactly could be given to the Hugo Group.
“We’ll try, now we see,” he said.
Mizzi has denied planning to use his political influence to expand St George’s Bay, arguing that his Ministry isn’t responsible for awarding land concessions in the first place. Cardona has said he has countless meetings with businesses, potential investors and all relevant stakeholders but that “due process is always followed in all cases”. Chetcuti has declined to comment about the footage.
Commissioner for Standards George Hyzler has launched an investigation following a request by former Alternattiva Demokratika leader Arnold Cassola. Should he find any evidence of trading in influence, he will be obliged by law to report it to the police.