In spite of strong denials by Keith Schembri to a Times of Malta investigation into his interests in plastic bottle recycling, this website has seen further evidence of these interests.
A few days ago I reported how on the eve of the 2017 election the government turned over 5,000 square metres of public land to companies owned by Keith Schembri in the Kasco Group. The two plots were granted for a 65 year lease starting 1st March 2017.
One of the two plots was assigned to Kasco Limited for 65 years for a yearly rent of €33,470. It measures 2,475 square metres and the contract requires Kasco to use it specifically for “processing and customisation of paper, paper products and inks”, Kasco’s core business.
However the contract, seen by this website, allows Kasco Limited to pass the site on to Kasco Recycling Limited to operate from this site for the purposes of “recycling of plastic, Tetrapak waste” and other materials.
In a response to Jacob Borg of Times of Malta last February, Keith Schembri “played down links with a new business venture that stands to gain from a new government push towards plastic bottle recycling”.
The Times of Malta investigation had found that Norwegian company Tomra that manufactures plastic bottle recycling machines repeatedly referred people interested in acquiring this equipment to Malcolm Scerri, Keith Schembri’s partner in their recycling business and front man on companies owned by Keith Schembri.
The specific contracted condition that allows Kasco to change the use for which the industrial land in Bulebel was originally granted is unorthodox as public industrial land is granted against projects and business plans that are already concrete and likely to have an early benefit to the wider economy.
It appears Keith Schembri used his government power as prime minister’s chief of staff to arrange for himself a policy drive (the recycling of plastic bottles) benefitting from his advance knowledge of the project to arrange for the provision of the required machinery ahead of his competition and to have set up the space from which to operate at a reduced rate, with long term security of space and in breach of rules that only allow for allocation of land on immediately realisable projects.
In other words Keith Schembri used his political power for his personal profit and the profit of his business partner and associate Malcolm Scerri.