Gozitan heavyweights gifted €9 million public contract despite illegalities

Lands Authority still considering action after 18 months

 

A group of Gozitan businessmen, led by construction magnate Joseph Portelli, have been given a €9 million contract by the government to build a new road linking Rabat and Marsalforn, The Shift can reveal.

One of the companies participating in this lucrative tender, PRAX Concrete Ltd, is the operator of an illegal concrete batching plant in Kercem set up in an illegal quarry owned by the government.

In addition, the same businessmen illegally took over another quarry opposite the batching plant to dump construction waste without any permits.

Investigations carried out by The Shift show that a few weeks ago the Gozo Ministry awarded a €9 million tender for the construction of the road to GP Gozo Consortium, which includes Gatt Tarmac Ltd and Prax Concrete Ltd.

It is unclear whether the two companies in the joint venture hold an equal stake, but the tender is expected to rake in significant profits.

Asked by The Shift to explain the award of the tender to Portelli’s consortium rather than blacklisting it for illegalities, Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri shifted the blame onto other government authorities.

“It is not the remit of the Minister to intervene in public procurement procedures related to the outsourcing of supplies, services or works,” Camilleri told The Shift.

While stating that “other alleged shortcomings are the competence of other authorities”, referring mainly to the Planning Authority and the Lands Authority, Camilleri insisted that his Ministry “will ensure that the raw material used in this project is provided by authorised sources”.

Portelli and his associates illegally mounted the concrete batching plant in early 2019, through PRAX Ltd and other companies. Despite reports of the illegalities exposed by The Times of Malta, as well as various stop and enforcement notices issued by the Planning Authority, the batching plant went on to become fully operational and continues to be used.

Despite the flagrant abuse, no police reports have been filed to seal off the illegal plant.

In July 2019, the Lands Authority, run by former Labour CEO James Piscopo, declared it was investigating the illegalities. Yet no case has been filed in court despite the Authority having a raft of lawyers on its payroll, including former Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana who was assigned cases in Gozo.

Prax Concrete Ltd received a number of direct orders while Caruana was Gozo Minister.

Asked what is stopping the Authority from reclaiming public property, a spokesperson for the Lands Authority told The Shift that a legal letter was sent that was completely ignored.

Meanwhile, the illegal batching plant occupying public land keeps operating day and night to supply concrete to various projects on the sister island including those commissioned by the Gozo Ministry.

                           
                               
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Iain Morrison
Iain Morrison
20 days ago

Utter contempt for the rule of law!

Peter Vella
Peter Vella
20 days ago

The rule of law is now defined as: ‘the law of rule and shambles’

carlo
carlo
20 days ago

Asked what is stopping the Authority from reclaiming public property, a spokesperson for the Lands Authority told The Shift that a legal letter was sent that was completely ignored.

And then I was fined for a very very very minor thing.

PAJJIZ KORROTT IMMEXXI MILL-KORROTTI – ANARKIJA SHIHA – META SE JQUM IL-POPLU MIN DIN IR-RAQDA ?

Henry s Pace
Henry s Pace
20 days ago
Reply to  carlo

QATT , ghax dan il-poplu gie edukat fil-korruzzjoni.

Peter rogers
Peter rogers
20 days ago
Reply to  Henry s Pace

Very well said ,and I don’t foresee any changes in the near future,because if it’s not the donkey its the cart and they change places from time to time .

Henry s Pace
Henry s Pace
20 days ago

Its simple : It is just a continuity of the muscat legacy.

Lawrence
Lawrence
18 days ago
Reply to  Henry s Pace

Very WELL SAID .THAT’S WHAT HE AND THE GANG HAD IN MIND .IL POPLU PUPAZZ .NAGHMEL LI RID BIH.INTIEH IC CEJCA U NAGHMEL LI RRIDBIH.

Mick
Mick
20 days ago

Gozo has it’s own thriving habib club, sponsored by the Malta mafioso.

John Demanuele
John Demanuele
20 days ago

9 million down the drain as the existing road only needs resurfacing. There is absolutely no need of a new or widened road. This will only take up more cultivated fields and destroy trees.

Albert Mamo
Albert Mamo
19 days ago

The CORRUPTION has not gone, but merely water down and as usual passing of the buck!!!👎👎👎

EAMicallef
EAMicallef
19 days ago

How the virus spreads

Joe GALEA
Joe GALEA
18 days ago

Mafia at its best

Lawrence
Lawrence
18 days ago

Shit and double labour shit.imma dik mhux TAGHNA. Ghax Malta Taghna.GOZO NO.

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