The company owned by arms dealer James Fenech has received more than €1 million in government direct orders to provide firearms, gear and ammunition to the Armed Forces of Malta and the police since 2015, The Shift can reveal.
The bulk of direct orders was awarded to Fenech’s company for army supplies, while around €50,000 was for equipment for the police force. The supplies included a variety of firearms, gear, and ammunition.
Aside from this, Fieldsports Ltd has received tens of thousands of euro in government tenders since 2015 to supply ammunition and firearms to the police force.
Information tabled in parliament this month revealed that Fieldsports Ltd received a total of €829,331 in direct orders by the army since 2017. However, an exercise by The Shift revealed that around €150,000 worth of direct orders were not included in the official reply provided by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri.
Besides the €1 million in direct orders, the government tenders from which Fieldsports Ltd benefited included a total of €99,508 from the Malta Police Force since 2015, along with another €90,000 tender from the Nationalist administration in January 2013. This was the only tender awarded to Fieldsports under a Nationalist government.
It is still unclear whether this is the full range of direct orders and tenders awarded to this company due to persistent information gaps. Government ministries regularly fail to publish complete lists of public procurement purchases within the given time frame, despite the law stipulating otherwise.
Fenech stepped into the public eye when, together with another four men, he was charged with violating Libyan sanctions after exporting two military-grade Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to Libya through another of his companies, Sovereign Charterers. He has denied the accusations.
Set in the main square of Mellieha, Fenech’s shop Fieldsports Ltd may seem like a small village shop catering to the needs of its hunting community, but in actual fact, it forms part of an international business group which has become a quasi-monopoly as one of the EU’s most important arms dealers particularly since Libya’s uprising.
In fact, it is one of the few suppliers in the EU accredited to sell lethal weapons on EU soil for private users, according to reports presented to the European Parliament.
On Monday, The Shift revealed the names of the other four men who were charged for violating sanctions alongside Fenech – brothers Bertrand Agius, 47, (a delivery man) and Konrad Agius, 44, (a government blacksmith) and pensioners Charles Bugeja, 63, and Michael Cauchi, 45, who both reside in Mellieha.
The five men denied the accusations and were given bail by Magistrate Victor Asciak. Fenech is insisting that the police’s charges relate to fully authorised operations and that his group will have the opportunity to ‘clear its name’.
Fenech’s work has repeatedly made international headlines. His organisation made its mark in recent years supplying weapons to private security firms working for the EU, partnering also with Erik Prince, a former US Navy SEAL officer and the founder of Blackwater – a controversial US private military company that was given unclassified security contracts from the CIA during the Iraq war.
It is one of a long list of companies owned by Fenech in different sectors. Lately, Fenech set his eyes on lucrative Malta government road contracts, partnering with Gozitan construction mogul Joseph Portelli and Turkish associates. Fenech’s ‘consortium’ has already tendered successfully for over €60 million in road building contracts.