When Robert Abela chose his first cabinet in 2020 he had originally removed some government entities from the Ministry for Economy. Silvio Schembri who received the news that he would once again be given the same Ministry portfolio in a meeting with the Prime Minister at Castille, replied to Robert angrily, “U jien x’ser nieħu?”
Silvio Schembri’s retort was undoubtedly triggered by anger. Having supported Robert Abela in his leadership bid, Silvio felt entitled to his own personal toys, so Robert Abela gave him LANDS to appease him. Silvio Schembri was very happy with this decision and made the best out of it, mainly by setting up a corrupt shop for public land in exchange for bribes. Silvio Schembri’s scheme is very simple. He allocates public land to his contractors and to his sponsors while other allocations of public land to other parties are given on the condition that they are developed by his sponsors such as GAP or Joseph Portelli. In exchange for his allocations, Silvio Schembri receives property fronted by his friends and allies. In fact, one of the reasons why Silvio Schembri invited Kurt Buhagiar to his private party in his Ministry’s office in 2021, is that Schembri also received a donation from Kurt Buhagiar in 2017.
Silvio Schembri is currently, the most trusted ally of Robert Abela and this is why Robert plans to push him as his successor. This would also be ideal for Robert Abela because it would guarantee him the cover-up of all the corrupt deals and relationships with building contractors. The continuation of corrupt deals with regard to public land would come easy with a Silvio Schembri succession because both of them have their own personnel and allies controlling LANDS. While Robert Abela has his own man leading LANDS, Silvio Schembri has the likes of Yanica Abela and the Labour Party can count on others such as Annabelle Brincat Stellini (finance manager at LANDS). These officials are conjuring, aiding, and abetting Silvio Schembri’s corrupt land deals.
Much more of Silvio Schembri’s corruption is yet to unfold as he and his friends have become blinded by their arrogance and over-confidence. Silvio thought that he could hide his illicit-gotten wealth easily, fronted by old connections and past friends, but the only problem for him is that Malta is a very small place and sooner or later we all get to discover each other’s secrets, and Silvio has many.