Times of Malta, 28th February 2008 – The Environment Ministry this evening referred to the report by the Mepa auditor who found that the granting of a permit for a Safi supermarket was “a gross irregularity”.

The ministry noted that the auditor had remarked that:“The Mepa is advised to propose an amendment to the Development Planning Act to allow for the modification or withdrawal of an approved permit if it is shown that a particular development application has been approved contrary to official policies.”

The ministry said it awaited Mepa action on this recommendation so that it could then consider the proposals made to it.

The ministry also pointed out that this administration had a record of moving legislation to ensure that the planning process was transparent.

The members of Mepa’s Development Control Commission resigned en bloc on Wednesday evening after the auditor’s damning report. The Safi surpermarket was granted a permit for development on agricultural land outside a development zone.

The members of the commission insisted that they had acted “with diligence, without any personal interests and with a clear conscience in the best of their abilities”.

In a statement issued in the Mepa website, the commission members said:

“In spite of having submitted the auditor with clarifications and valid justifications to the conclusions in his Preliminary Report, the DCC ‘A’ feel aggravated that the auditor proceeded to censor their unanimous decision. The DCC feels that this leaves them with no alternative but to resign after always having undertaken their responsibilities with diligence, without any personal interests and with a clear conscience in the best of their abilities.”

The project belongs to Polidano Brothers. All the members of the DCC voted in favour of the proposed development despite a recommendation for refusal by the Planning Directorate.

The government, meanwhile, today appointed a new Development Control Commission.