The Libyan government has agreed to start the process towards the liquidation of the defunct Voice of the Mediterranean (VOM) radio station. Senior diplomats told MaltaToday that in a meeting held in Tripoli last week and attended by Maltese Foreign Minister Michael Frendo, the Libyan government expressed its willingness to accept the Maltese government’s invitation to liquidate and sell the remaining assets belonging to the radio station, set up in the late 1970s as a joint project between the two countries.
It is understood that the assets to be liquidated at VOM have an estimated value of at least Lm300,000, (US$921,000)and include furniture and motor vehicles. The monies recovered through the eventual liquidation of VOM are considered crucial for the settlement of long-standing salary arrears to former employees and unpaid bills for services or equipment. Approximately 20 employees lost their job when the enterprise went bankrupt under the chairmanship of former PN junior minister Richard Muscat, who has since been appointed Malta’s ambassador to Ireland.
Former Foreign Minister Joe Borg had declared before moving to Brussels in 2004 that “the Libyan authorities had made it clear they are not interested in continuing the project. The Maltese government, on its part, made it clear that it had no objection to continue operating VOM, should the Libyan government reconsider its position by the end of 2003, and pay at least a substantial part of the arrears due, and resumes its annual contributions for the activity of VOM immediately it becomes due. Efforts are continuing to be made to recoup the arrears owed by the Libyan Government.”
The reasons behind the closure of VOM sparked a political controversy, with the Opposition requesting and obtaining a full hearing of the case before the Public Accounts Committee. The Voice of the Mediterranean radio station transmitted in seven languages, and was heralded as making a major contribution to the dissemination of Malta’s positive image abroad.
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