Zarb Adami defends Maltacoms
Lm170,000 Portomaso acquisition
By Matthew Vella
Former Maltacom chairman Maurice Zarb Adami has justified the purchase
of a Lm170,000 Portomaso apartment by the telecom company during his
tenure as chairman as "a good business proposition".
Maltacoms purchase of a luxury apartment at Portomaso in 2002
was a mystery which neither the Minister for Investment and IT, Austin
Gatt, newly responsible for the company following a cabinet reshuffle
in 2003, could answer. Gatt had listed the purchase of the apartment
in Parliament at the end of the budget debate, when he asked what sense
it had made for Maltacom to buy the Portomaso property. The acquisition
was never declared to shareholders through a company announcement.
Maltacom is listed on the Malta and the London Stock Exchanges.
Zarb Adami, today the chairman of Gozo Channel Co Ltd, told the Malta
Financial and Business Times that they had seen the purchase of the
pricey apartment at the prestigious Portomaso with the intent of re-selling
the property at a profit. Maltacom is now trying to sell the flat.
Asked why Maltacom had broached in property speculation with the acquisition
of this single apartment, Zarb Adami said that companies today were
diversifying their business. Admitting that this was not Maltacoms
core business, he said:
"Which commercial company today works only in its core business
and not in other activities, if there are opportunities to be taken?"
Zarb Adami also said the apartment provided the possibility to have
foreign guests use the place when visiting the islands. It is also known
that the flat has also been used as a conference room.